6 Unexpected Bonuses to Adopting/Fostering a Tween or Teen

Dawn Davenport



I’ve noticed that much of the talk about adopting a tween or teen focuses on the negative—all the baggage they bring, all the behavioral issues they may have, and on and on. But what about the flip side? What about the advantages to adopting an older child? Here are 6 advantages to get you started.

6 Advantages to Adopting a Tween or Teen

  1. More understanding about their prior life. Kids over the age of 8-10 can usually tell you about their life. They can participate more fully in counseling. This information is vital to guide your parenting.
  2. More quickly able to do things your family enjoys. Do you like to play video games, watch movies other than Disney or Pixar, ski, or while away a Saturday afternoon at a neighborhood coffee shop? No guarantee that your tween or teen will enjoy the same activities, but chances are good that if you look hard enough you can find something to do together that you both genuinely enjoy.
  3. More self-sufficient. They can get themselves ready in the morning and get ready for bed by themselves. Of course, every child needs to be tucked in at night and maybe even share a good read aloud book before bed. The good news is that you will likely thoroughly enjoy these books as much as your child.
  4. Interesting conversations. By this age the child can enter into real conversations about topics you actually find interesting. They likely are following the presidential race, have thoughts about police violence, care about who will win at the Oscars, etc.
  5. No daycare expenses. No one will ever say that tweens and teens are cheap, but at least childcare is one expense you will not have to worry about.
  6. Ability to work with the child to help solve problems. Older kids can become an active partner in solving everyday parenting “issues” that come up. For example, how to get the kitchen cleaned up in time for everyone to have some time off before getting ready for bed, or how to get everyone out of the house in the morning. Kids are more likely to buy into the solution is they help create it.

What other advantages can you think of for adopting a tween or teen?

Image credit: Steven Depolo

17/02/2016 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 12 Comments

12 Responses to 6 Unexpected Bonuses to Adopting/Fostering a Tween or Teen

  1. Italy says:

    We adopted four older kids (9,9,10,11). Would not trade them for the world. No baby stuff, and they are old enough to remember family vacations and do everything from water slides to roller coasters.

  2. lila says:

    We are currently fostering a 12 year old girl. While we’ve had rough patches, it really has been a wonderful experience. We had planned to adopt younger, but she just has fit so perfectly I am glad we decided to open our hearts and our age range.

  3. Ella says:

    My husband and I are considering adopting a teenager or older child. Since the majority of kids in our state available for adoption are older kids and we really want to be parents. However since we would be first time parents we’re both clueless and scared going in. Since teens are very independent, I don’t think they would look to me for help or guidance. I don’t think they would want someone tucking them in or holding them as you would a baby. In a few years they’ll be out of the house on their own. I don’t think they’ll bond to us or see my husband and I as mom and dad or call us mom and dad. They remember their birth families really well and might hate us. Since we missed out on so much of their life, I was sad that I would miss out on firsts and special moments. This post actually made me feel better that there are many firsts and special moments with older kids. Just not the same firsts like a baby. My husband and I are still thinking about adopting an older child. We’re just not sure yet.

    • lila says:

      We are fostering to adopt a 12 year old. We made it clear in our house that one is never too old for anything. She enjoys being tucked in and us reading to her. We took her to the American Girl store and she loved getting to pick out a doll and eat at the cafe. And we’re not the only ones fostering/adopting teens who have had the same experience. It seems that teens who are in foster care are more open to doing things that might be considered for younger kids, because they never got these things as younger kids. A fellow foster-adopt mom reads to her 17 year old son at night because no one read to him a as child. And he’s in all AP classes and at the top of his class. Just no mentioning it to his buddies that she tucks him in and kisses him good night! 😉

    • Shelia says:


      I know the feeling of “not sure yet” on fostering/adopting. My husband and I are empty nesters as our only biological child is out of the home and at college. We are in the considering adoption mindset at the moment of an 11-12 yr old make as we are not yet in the retirement mode and not yet ready not to have a child in our home. My biological son still enjoys things with us that we did as he was growing up and still enjoys having me sometimes wash his hair as he likes the “head massage” Like Lila said, some if not most of these children have not had a parent or parents that took the time to do things like read to them or give them hugs, or high fives, etc.. so I have faith that if you and your husband continue down the adoption consideration road that some child would call it lucky that you both become his/her parents. My thoughts are with you.

  4. Full Spectrum Mama says:

    I have dreamt for a long time of adopting older children, especially now that the kids i do have are a bit older.
    This brings me one step closer!

  5. L says:

    We adopted our child at age 4 and she is now 11. It’s no where near the same but I do feel she is finally a bit more able to verbalize her adoption feelings, which helps with everything. She is a handful and a delight, just like any child.

  6. Allison says:

    I think for me personally teens and tweens choose and want me just as much as I want them. You can’t adopt a teen without their permission or input. You can love and want them with you, but if they don’t feel the same you can’t force it. You can’t force them to call you mom and dad or force them to see you as their parent. You can’t force them to stay. Their heart has to be open to allow me in just as much as my heart is open to allow then in. My kids adopted me as much as I adopted them.
    Also there’s no guarantee, but typically with older kids/teens you know what their medical/physical/psychological history is. So you have a bigger picture of what kind of delays, medical issues or services they might need if they have any of these issues.
    Nice blog post!

  7. Jocelyne says:

    With my boys (placed at age 12.5, 13, and 10), we still get to experience “firsts” with them, but their joy is magnified with their understanding. We have had the first puddle jumping, first camping trip, first food types, first trip to waterfall, first trip to a major national park, first swim in salt water, and many more. They can describe how the experience makes them feel plus these are lifetime memories better captured than if they were under age 5.

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