Panel of Parents Adopting Older Kids: Surviving that 1st Year

Adopting and fostering older kids is hard for both the child and the parent, especially the first year. A panel of moms who have adopted older kids share their tips for surviving the first year home. Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Melissa Basham, mom to 4 boys adopted from foster care; Abigail Betancourt, mom to 2 kids adopted from foster care; Jan Egozi, mom to one child adopted internationally; and Shelley McMullen, mom to 1 child adopted internationally.

Hit the Highlights
  • What were the first few months like with your child?
  • Did your child have a honeymoon period? How long?
  • What resources were particularly helpful for you?
  • What have you said or done to empower your child/children that they have the power over their story and who and when they choose to share?
  • How do you integrate your child so they feel “caught up” on the family story, inside jokes?
  • How to help your children navigate their feelings of loyalty, love, anger, and confusion towards their birth family/biological family?
  • In hindsight, what would your panelists have done differently to prepare themselves for parenting an older child? What would they have done differently during the first few weeks, months, and year with their child/children adopted at older ages?
  • What are the top 3 things parents adopting an older child should have on their radar screens regarding educational issues and concerns?
  • How do you firmly establish your role as parent? How to deal with the common issue that older adopted kids often do not readily see their adoptive parents in a parental role and as “being in charge.”
  • What are some typical food issues with children adopted at an older age? How have these experienced parents dealt with them.
  • How to deal with food hoarding and gorging with adopted children who experienced food scarcity before adoption.

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Image Credit: puggie