Post # 1
My husband and I have recently discussed the possibility of adopting a child in the future and we both feel strongly that if we were to do so, we would adopt an older child. I feel strongly that I definitely do not ever want to concieve or carry a child in my body and for a long time I thought that meant that I was to be child-free. We’re still not 100% sure we want to adopt, but we talked about it and are definitely open to the possibility.
The idea of adopting an older child appeals to me a great deal. I was an abused child and spent time in the foster care system. I feel like I understand that kind of life and if having children is for me, nothing would make me happier than to take a child (or siblings) out of that environment and give them a loving, stable home. We have no strong desire for a baby or toddler and I know that the majority of children waiting for homes are ages 6+. We are also aware that there are challenges to adopting an older child and I would love to hear some discussion from you guys about that.
Anyway, this talk with my husband sort of opened up a whole new world for me and I feel like I need and want some outside opinions on adoption in general and adopting older children specifically. Some questions: would you consider never having bio kids and adopting instead? Would you consider adopting an older child? What challenges do you think we would have to face were we to go through with the process of matching up with an older child (or children) and adopting them? Any advice?
Post # 3
I don’t have any advice because I’m not trying to have children yet, but I always wanted to adopt. I guess I would try to get pregnant before adopting simply because it’s easier and quicker if you’re fertile. if I wasn’t fertile, I wouldn’t do any complex treatments. I would definitely adopt. I can’t lie, I would love to have a baby. I love babies and toddlers. However, I’d also be open to adopt an older child. It’s not my first choice because I don’t know if I could handle the challenge, I don’t think I’m strong enough. But it is definitely not off the table.
Post # 4
My mother works with a wonderful man who adopted a pair of siblings with his partner, two biracial, older boys. I think they were 5 and 7? or 6 and 8? They did Not have a fortunate upbringing and needed a good deal of help catching up in the beginning, therapy, tutors in every subject, lots of hands on care and attention, etc. It was difficult in the beginning but one dad is a psychiatrist and the other has a career with really flexible hours and those boys blossomed into two incredible, thoughtful, loving young men. They absolutely saved those boys, they would likely have become another statistic since very few couples are interested in adopting older children, especially non-white boys. They were matched very, very quickly and picked their boys in part because they had so many things working against them.
Adopting older children comes with additional challanges, but seems incredibly rewarding. DH and I have talked about it because we are having pretty bad fertility problems, but we love babies and want to experience all stages of childhood and parenthood. We are going to pursue IVF for at least our first baby and may consider adopting later down the road.
Post # 5
@saraja87: Thank you so much for sharing that story! It warms my heart to think about it.
Post # 6
one of the girls i grew up with, her mother was a foster parent. the girl’s mom adopted four of her foster children, after raising two from infancy, and the other two from like, age four or five. i think adopting older children does have its challenges. but i also think it’s rewarding in so many ways.
my FI was adopted, but he was adopted as an infant, 12 hours after he was born. adoption is something near and dear to his heart, and something we’d both love to do someday.
Post # 7
@peasantsong: The book “Til the End of June” by Cris Beam might really resonante with you. It’s so very well-written, a truly amazing journalistic effort, by a foster mother who went on to adopt an older child: http://www.amazon.com/To-End-June-Intimate-American-ebook/dp/B009JWCRJC
An interview with the author: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/08/29/foster-care
Post # 8
@kenziemt: Thank you for that recommendation! I just added it to my kindle. I can’t wait to read it.
Post # 9
Adopting older children can be wonderful!
Do go into it with your eyes wide open. Make sure to research Reactive Attachment Disorder and learn about open relationships in adoption. For many older children it’s very important for them to maintain a relationship with their firstparents/ first family – and this can be challenging given that often the first relatives lost their chance to parent due to some unfortunate things.
Post # 10
@peasantsong: I don’t have much advice, but we are looking into adopting an older child / teen from the foster system in the future as well. We were thinking probably 11-15 years old, and possibly adopt a set of siblings. I feel like they have less of a chance of being adopted (everyone wants younger kids) and we could provide that loving home they need. And hopefully they would love to be a big brother/sister. We do not have any children yet, but we would like to have one biologically, and then adopt the older sibling.
Post # 11
I know this is going to get me flamed and I am not telling you not to adopt an older child. I work with female incarcerated drug addicts who adopt out their children- sometimes not due to their decision. I am not saying all these kids are permantly damaged, but a lot of their children have been; born addicted to drugs, experiences abuse and neglect and witnessed some traumatizing things before the age of 6. It’s a question of nature v.s nurture for sure, but some times I hear these stories and can’t imagine it being turned around even w/ a great supportive environment. I also have quite a number of clients who were adopted into healthy families from abusive/addicted ones and the genes won out over their wonderful parents.
With that being said, Hubs and I talked adoption before we TTC and were still open to it.
Post # 12
I nannied two kids who were adopted from foster. The boy was taken from his bio parents at one year old, and the girl was almost 3. I nannied them when they were 4 and 6.
Even though they were still taken at a rather young age compared to some kids, they were still with their bio parents long enough to suffer some real damage.
The boy didn’t have many issues. He had some anger he didn’t know how to deal with, and he could be aggressive, but this is true to a degree of many young boys.
The girl, however, you could definitely tell was neglected at a young age. She was raising herself as a toddler, so she was incredibly controlling. She was downright mean to her brother at times, micromanaging him. She had a difficult time with friends too because she was so bossy. She could also be rather manipulative. She would also do things like put foreign objects in her mouth – which is something she was much too old for. It eventually clicked with me that you’re a toddler when you learn not to put strange objects in your mouth, and she never got that from her bio parents. Then when things in her adoptive family got rough, she began to soil herself. She soiled her pants every day for months.
Because of my experience with these kids, I will hesitate to adopt any child other than a newborn. Even if taken from the home young, there is just sooooo much development that happens in the first three years of a child’s life, and a lot of damage can be done by abusive and neglectful bio parents.
With that said, these kids still need homes, and if it’s something you truly believe you can tackle, then go for it. With hard work and a loving home, I really think these kids can overcome any obstacles they face and thrive.
Post # 13
- Wedding: June 2013 - Upstate NY
@peasantsong: We adopted a 2 1/2 year old from Peru in 1990. It was the best decision we have made. She is a wonderful, healthy, adjusted person and always has been. She was raised there with her family and one other foster-type situation who were loving but just very poor so that might have been why she was such a “success”; she always had someone watching out for her.
Hope this helps in your decision. I think you are a hero to adopt an older child!
Post # 14
I don’t have any personal advice. I have read small bits of a real powerful and honest blog that may be of interest to you, though. She has tons of other stuff on there, too, but has adopte 2 or 3 kids, including a failed adoption. It’s very interesting reading and may help you think through some “what if’s.”
Hope it helps!
Post # 15
We are friends with a couple that just adopted a sibling group of four, 13,11,10 and 7 In addition to their biological son who just turned 3. While it hasnt been perfect, it also hasnt been some kind of horror movie either. The first thing that was a bit simpler for them was the kids had been in foster care long enough all their biological parents right’s had been totally terminated, we knew another couple who had issues because they had to wait and wait after the grandparents decided three days before they coule no longer dispute the adoption to go to court And try to get their grandkids. The second couple adopted a sibling group too but they were younger, like 6,4 and 1. Those kids had some obvious delays like reading/speaking, it was apparent no one had ever taking the time to ever read outloud or really encourage talking and language to them. I would suggest looking for local adoption support groups, and talking to some other parents who have gone through the same situation as you. Both the couples we know who have done it are all “offically offical” and the kids are forever their’s. They have great family support which helps a lot.
So for us personally, we intend to try and have bio kids, but have always wanted to adopt at least one, possibly more depending on our life. Right now our plan assuming we can have bio kids, we plan to adopt a child closer to our kids age while they are toddlers/young school aged kids, not really looking at baby or newborn. We have considered also when we are older adopting/fostering teenagers because we happen to think we have a pretty rocking family to bring someone with potentially serious past issues and just be able to love them.
It made me mad, the four siblings our friends adopted were living at a group home and someone came and adoptd the 3 and 5 year old brothers of a sibling group but left the 10 year old sister because she was “too old and probably damaged”. That has certainly influenced our ideas about waiting and adopting several kids together so they arent heartlessly ripped from their siblings.
I think it can be a wonderful thing to adopt, especially out of foster care where many many great kids who are “special needs” simply because they arent a cooing infant or have siblings they want to be placed with,or are mixed/minority; it can be hard but from everyone I have seen, totally worth it.
Post # 16
I love this thread. It has always been a dream of mind to adopt older children, preferably siblings. How heartbreaking is it to be postentially separated from one’s brother/sister! We’re waiting until I finish school and have a steady job. Depending on your state, it can take anywhere from months to years to be able to adopt from what (admittedly little) I’ve already seen.