Adopting Older Children
In foster care adoption, caseworkers tell us that they usually do not have trouble finding adoptive families for children under the age of six, so they consider “older” to be school-aged. In international adoption, “older” often refers to children over the age of two.
Parents choose to adopt older children for different reasons. From a survey of our community of parents who adopted older kids, we heard the following motivations for adopting older kids.
- Older parents that believe they are too old to adopt an infant
- A desire to provide a home for a child “that really needs it”
- Experienced parents that enjoy the school-age years
- Families with an active lifestyle and the desire for a child that can “hit the ground running”
- Working parents wanting a child that is in school
- Parents with children already in the home that did not want a large age gap between their children
Adopting older kids is a great way to create a family, but all children past infancy available for adoption, regardless if they are in an orphanage abroad or in US foster care, have experienced life before adoption, and this life has often included abuse and neglect.
A history of trauma affects children and changes the way they need to be parented. With good preparation and support before and after adoption families and their children can and do thrive.
Creating a Family has many resources to prepare and support older child adoption. A few we think you will find particularly helpful are:
- Prenatal Exposure, Part 1: Parenting Babies through Elementary Ages (article)
- Prenatal Exposure, Part 2: Parenting Tweens and Teens (article)
- Rules of Thumb When Disrupting Birth Order (article)
- Transracial Adoption: A Mom & Son Talk About What They’ve Learned ( 1 hr. podcast w/ experts)
- How Does Adoption Affect the Siblings Already in the Family? (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
- Parenting Tweens and Teens (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
- Suggested Books on Older Child Adoption for Adoptive Parents
Many more Creating a Family interviews with experts, blogs, and fact sheets on adopting older children can be found at the icons below.
Sources: Creating a Family radio shows below
Image credit: Sergio