Adopting older children can be very rewarding but it’s not for the faint of heart. These children will bring you every bad experience they’ve had and dump it right into your unsuspecting lap. I adopted not one, not two but three older children and I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are five things to remember when adopting an older child.
In 2002, I began to chronicle my adoption journey by creating Forever Parents, a supportive online community for adoptive and waiting parents.
Over the next year, we grew our support forums to include an adoption shop and a collaborative blog. Forever Parents stayed active for over ten years, helping thousands of people during that time. Currently, I'm in the process of updating and moving all the blog posts here where they will be housed under the Forever Parents category.
A local magazine, Family Times, interviewed me last September about older child adoption. One of the many issues I spoke about was when people tell my children that they “have a new life now”.
It’s still the same life, just a new chapter in it.
What happened in their earlier years are part of who they are today, not just in some other life.
We don’t try to make it pretty.
We don’t minimize or maximize it.
We don’t dwell on it and we don’t shove it in a box and hide it.
It is what it is.
When my three children were in foster care (’99-’03), there were two other foster children living in the home with them. One of them was a boy a year older than my youngest. We remain friendly with their former foster parents and still see them a couple of times a year. About six months after we finalized their adoption, Pat (their former foster mother) called me to say that the other boy was starting placement with a couple that lived near us.
On our adoption forums, a member asked this question:
For all of you who have adopted internationally, what have your experiences been? What should we be looking out for and asking agencies?
Are you on Twitter? If you’re a parent through adoption, take a look at my Adoption list on Twitter. You can subscribe to the list without having to follow any of the accounts. After you subscribe, you’ll see it in your lists section. Clicking on it will show you all the recent tweets from those accounts.
Adopt US Kids sponsored a wonderful series of adoption videos. Through humor, they show that you don’t have to be perfect to adopt a child that needs a family.