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September 16, 2006

"Near Twins"

Pearl_river_maddy_and_gwenOur girls were born 36 days -- and 300 miles -- apart in southern China in the summer of 2004. They look like sisters and even though Maddy is much smaller, people often ask us if they're twins -- especially if they're dressed alike.  Our response has consistently been "No, but they're the same age" which brings a second round of questions about half of the time.  For now, the girls are too young to understand what we're talking about.  When they're older, we'll ask them how they want us to respond to these questions. 

About adopting "same age" kids:  Many people have emailed us privately asking about our choice to adopt Maddy knowing that she was the same age as Gwen.  Truthfully, at first, we were worried.  Not because we needed to worry but because we were conditioned to worry by well-meaning people who were also conditioned to worry that adopting same age kids somehow meant both kids were being cheated or injured by the arrangement.

We spent an entire weekend contemplating how, exactly, how they might be short changed and couldn't come up with a single (compelling) reason.   We compared the girls to biological twins or sisters born one year apart and didn't find anything significantly different or adverse about their age gap being 11 months closer.  If anything, it seemed as if there might even be a few advantages.  For example, they'll attend the same school and participate in the same sports leagues.  The nay-sayers (none of whom had same-age kids) said they'd be "competitive" but couldn't tell us what that meant or why it was bad.   We joined a Yahoo Group for parents of "near twins" and never found a single person who wished they'd not formed a family with kids less than 9 months apart in age.  Not one single family.

So we called our agency back and told them that we'd happily accept Maddy.

We were lucky that our Social Worker agreed to the arrangement since several SW's would not approve a home-study for the adoption of a "near twin" and many agencies also would not allow the adoption of a child who is the same age as an existing child in the family.

So here we are 10 days after returning home with Maddy and it's been less bumpy that we could have dreamed.  Both girls are typical 2 year olds and, as such, they enjoy being the sole recipient of all of our attention (and all of the toys) but they're surprisingly accepting of each other too.  They are so similar and so different at the same time.  Gwen is sweet and gentle but big and athletic.  Maddy is super happy but short tempered.  Gwen is our little acrobat but Maddy has better language skills and is already speaking English words more clearly than Gwen.  Gwen loves to snuggle and Maddy loves to play.  They both love Elmo and slides and our Kitty and strawberry yogurt.  And, of course, they both love us!   Our near-twins have truly brought this family a double dose of Double Happiness!


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