Kaitlin Harris is a mom of four, two of whom are toddler boys adopted as infants four months apart. Harris, who chronicles her family life on her popular Instagram account, shared the story behind those back-to-back adoptions in a 2020 Facebook post. After going through the adoption process for the older of the two boys, she and her husband were contacted by the biological mother of their oldest child, a daughter they had also welcomed through adoption. The woman was pregnant again, and wanted to know if they would consider adopting the new baby too, and raising the two biological half-siblings together?
“Did we initially plan to adopt two babies within four months?” Harris wrote. “Not particularly, no. Could we imagine things any different now? Of course not!”
Harris isn’t alone in welcoming babies not once, but twice, in a short time span. In the case of celebrity moms Hilaria Baldwin and Chrissy Teigen, overlapping pregnancies and surrogacy journeys made it possible. About five months after giving birth to son Eduardo in 2020, Baldwin and husband Alec Baldwin welcomed daughter María Lucia via a surrogate. And this June, Teigen and her husband, John Legend, announced the birth of son Wren, who was delivered via a surrogate a few months after the model and cookbook author gave birth to daughter Esti in January.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted four children,” Teigen, who was in her second trimester when her surrogate also became pregnant, posted on social media. “As a little girl, two Glow Worms [dolls] and two Cabbage Patch dolls were perpetually in my arms. ... Our hearts, and our home, are officially full," the mom of four added.
While many families have twins, triplets and more, welcoming back-to-back babies can present its own challenges. Here, parents share their stories of what it's like.
‘The whole thing feels like a blur’
When Kayla and Kam Snow moved from California to Tennessee to adopt a baby girl, Evalyn, without an agency, they didn’t know that just over eight weeks later they’d be pregnant.
“Moving across the country while going through the newborn phase, then dealing with a very hard pregnancy — I had hyperemesis [gravidarum] the whole nine months — and then another newborn phase was very challenging. The whole thing feels like a blur,” Kayla, who gave birth to her son after adopting her daughter, tells Yahoo Life.
The kids went through each stage back to back, and sometimes at the same time. While one was nursing, the other was being introduced to baby food. The hardest part was maintaining a sleep schedule.
“Our daughter didn’t sleep much during the day ... and our son didn’t sleep much through the night,” Kayla says. “Here I was with a newborn, and I was solely responsible for him, and I felt like I was missing out on Evalyn’s development while I went through postpartum.”
Brother and sister are now inseparable, she says. But the Snows have not been spared from strange comments about their family. Some people, for instance, congratulated them on becoming parents only once they delivered their biological baby, even though they already had their adopted baby.
“We honestly were pretty surprised by it and didn’t quite know how to navigate it,” Kayla says. “Sometimes people will make comments about how Evalyn looks like us ‘even though she's not ours.’ People will also ask questions about our fertility journey and if we’ve had miscarriages, or what we’ve tried to get pregnant.”
Comments about Evalyn's adoption can particularly sting. “If people refer to Evalyn's biological parents as her ‘parents,’ we gently redirect and emphasize that we are her parents and they are her biological parents,” Kayla says. “People don’t ask permission to mislabel me or my children, so I don’t need permission to correct them.”
In the end, it’s all worth it, she says. “They’ll never know a life without each other and that kind of bond is very rare.”
‘People are naturally curious’
Over the course of five months, Kelli Bloomquist and her husband, Paul, went from three kids to six. Both of the Bloomquists had parents who worked in civil service, and often heard stories of kids needing loving homes. After having three kids — Grace, then 7, Emilia, then 5, and Landon, then 1 — the Iowa-based couple decide to expand their family by adopting. When presented with case files featuring two different boys up for adoption, however, they couldn't choose just one — so they decided to adopt both. Then they got word that a young girl with urgent medical needs was also in need of a home.
Noah, then 4, Blake, then 2, and MeiLi, then 1, joined the Bloomquist brood in a matter of months. But there was another surprise in store.
“We have ‘Irish triplets’ — three kids with birthdays within eight months of one another,” Kelli says. “For added measure, we had a pandemic baby surprise to make seven kids total.”
These days, her kids have a “built-in friend group,” she says. “There’s always the chance that if you say ‘Hey guys, who wants to discuss the new Taylor Swift music video?’ that someone will say ‘OMG yes!’ and off they go.”
Kelli is good at handling prying questions with humor. “People are naturally curious but many times also don't realize that they’re asking inappropriate questions in front of the child,” she says. “Paul and I call these ‘grocery store questions’ because in our experience, they tend to be asked at the grocery store."
Once, at a library, a woman asked if the children were all siblings and if they had the same dad. Kelli kept walking, but called back, “Yes!” because Paul is their dad. “The woman stood there completely puzzled trying to figure out how a white guy fathered Caucasian and Asian babies and was still outside to ask more questions when we left the post office," she says.
Kelli says that while large families used to be the norm, now they feel like an outlier. But the Bloomquists know they are well equipped to raise a large and loving family.
“It’s something that we’re proud of. We’re raising good kids to be good, caring people who are hard workers, care about and protect others, and are going to be strong and loving adults,” she says. “Every life choice and just overall place in life comes with its own challenges and for us, it’s become a matter of problem-solving and becoming resourceful.”