5 Essential Tips for Parenting Older Child Adoption

Dawn Davenport


Tips of older child adoption

Adopting an older child from foster care or through international adoption is not for the faint of heart. It can be the most rewarding and fun thing you’ve ever done, but it usually requires a special type of parenting. I loved a recently published book on this subject: Adopting Older Children: A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four. I finished the book with a realistic picture of the challenges and joys of older child adoption, but with a hopeful feeling that it can be done ,and done well.

I interviewed two of the authors on this week’s Creating a Family Radio show – A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four. We talked about the joy and challenges of older child adoption from foster care or internationally. Following these five “simple” tips will help make parenting older adopted children more fun and less challenging.

Parenting Tips for Older Child Adoption

  1. Assume that you and your newly adopted child will benefit from therapy and line it up before the child arrives. Research has shown that early intervention with professional services is the most effective.
  2. Join an in-person or online parent support group before the child arrives home so that your support system is in place. One of the best is the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group. It’s a closed Facebook group so that only those in the group can see the posts.
  3. Positive parenting techniques based on rewarding positive behaviors rather than punishing negative behaviors is almost always more effective with children who have been abused on neglected or adopted from an orphanage.
  4. Be flexible. You will have to experiment to see what works best for this new child. It you try something that doesn’t work, be willing to shift and be open to new ideas.
  5. Maintain your sense of humor. Sometimes all you can do is laugh, and it turns out often it’s the best thing you can do!

I strongly recommend listening to this week’s  Creating a Family show on a Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four and that you buy the book is was based on-Adopting Older Children: A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four by Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero, Gloria Russo Wassell and Dr. Victor Groza. The book is full of practical advice and specific resources.


Have you adopted a child who was over the age of four? What tips would you add?

Image credit: Carissa Rogers

17/12/2015 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog, Fostering, Fostering Blog, Other Adoption Resources | 6 Comments

6 Responses to 5 Essential Tips for Parenting Older Child Adoption

  1. Avatar Karen says:

    Never give up, love unconditionally, laugh a lot, never take it personal, be fexible and open minded at all times, know it is never about you, seek support and education, accept biological family, no matter what it looks like, celebrate the differences.
    Just a few tips from the mother of a morally adopted 20 year old , now almost 25.
    What a worthwhile journey it has been

  2. Avatar Jocelyne says:

    After welcoming four teens/preteens, I have learned that creating memories and teaching life skills is important. Life skills are vital for older teens as they transition into adulthood- cooking, cleaning, laundry, banking, driving, communication, interviews, etc. Older kids may not have had the life experiences that kids in a stable home may have had so take them to the zoo, puddle jump, watch fireworks, play board games, catch bugs, look at the stars. I have had some amazing firsts with my teens that are now lasting memories.

  3. Pingback: Parenting Tips for Older Child Adoption | Spence-Chapin Blog

  4. Avatar Kairi Gainsborough says:

    This is really great advice for parents who are considering adopting an older children. I’ve heard it can be difficult for the the kids to adapt to the big changes, so scheduling therapy sessions in advance sounds like it could help with that. Joining a support group so that your family can reach out to others who are going through the same thing is another good idea. I think that establishing these things before bringing a new child to your home is a smart.

  5. Pingback: 5 Essential Tips for Parenting Older Child Adoption – Adopting Older Children

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