There are currently over 400,000 children in foster care, with a median age of 8. Most people think about tiny precious infants when they adopt, but consider giving a thought to those older kids waiting for their forever families. Here are some reasons you might think an older kid or teenager won’t work – and the reason you are wrong.

“They are too old to want to be adopted.”

False! Nobody is too old to want to belong somewhere, to someone. Most teens in the foster care system crave family and really want to be adopted – even if they are close to aging out.

“If a teen is up for adoption it’s because they are ungovernable.”

Actually, most teenagers get into the system the same way all kids do – their parents are unable to take care of them and they have been removed from the home.

“I don’t know how to parent an older kid.”

There are some great perks to being the mom of a teen: they can feed and bathe themselves and don’t need diapers, for one! Parenting teens can be a challenge at times, but the most important skills to have are ones most adoptive parents already possess: patience, love, and flexibility.

“Kids that old don’t need a parent, they’re practically an adult!”

Did you know that kids who age out of care without being adopted are statistically more likely to become prey to trafficking, use drugs, and drop out of school? Everyone needs a mom or dad, but older teens are the most vulnerable in the system. You can do this.

“I can’t afford a teenager!”

You can! Most states have programs for older adoptees and former foster kids that help with health are and even driver’s ed classes and college tuition. In addition, current tax laws and credits make adopting from foster care super affordable. Plus, those kids need you more than they need designer jeans.

“What if they don’t like me?”

I’m sorry to break it to you, but no teenager likes their parents all the time. You and your adopted teen will have the benefit of a transitional time to get to know one another and make sure you are right for each other. Once you are a family, the real fun can begin!