My husband and I (ages 53 and 51) are exploring adopting an older child - a girl 10 - 12 - from Taiwan. I have researched other countries and it seems like based on our personal criteria we would be eligible to adopt from this country. I use a mild-antidepressant which I believe takes me out of the running for many countries. It sounds very affordable. It also sounds like the orphanages are well run. Questions: Are there many children this age available? Does Taiwan look favorably at adoption of this age given the vast difference in culture? Are the children taught English in school? Anyone know of any agencies that would work with us?
Any insight is appreciated.
Children of school age (6 and over) are generally considered very hard to place. Children ten and over, and especially boys, have an especially difficult time finding families. As a result, agencies and orphanages are usually delighted to find a family willing to accept an older child. As long as the family meets the country and orphanage qualifications, and the child is not over the age that the foreign country considers adoptable, every effort will be made to approve the adoption.
I am not as familiar with Taiwan as I am with China. With China, children may be adopted up to their 14th birthday. The children are put on "special needs" waiting lists, even when they are healthy, because they are so hard to place, and the adoption process is fast-tracked. With China, upper age limits for parents are relaxed; as an example, while most families have to be under 50, most children on the special needs lists can be adopted by families who are under 55. Antidepressant use, however, is unlikely to be waived.
Talk to agencies working with Taiwan, and ask about whether they have ever brought home any older children. Also ask about your age and history of antidepressant use. I think that you will be pleasantly surprised.
As far as English, do not count on orphans receiving as good an education as children in families. However, the good news is that children who are adopted internationally tend to pick up English at an astounding rate of speed. They will probably understand much of what you say in a matter of weeks, though speech will come more slowly. Exposure to other kids their age, exposure to a school setting, and exposure to the English language media will all help, and you may need to consider getting a tutor.
Do remember, of course that an older child almost always come to an adoptive family with "baggage". It is rare that a child lives for ten years with a loving family, suddenly loses that family in an accident, and then moves directly into another loving family. The child may, in fact, have come to adoption because of negative events in the birth family, and may have had negative experiences in one or more orphanages or foster homes. These experiences can color his/ her behavior and ability to attach. So if you are planning to adopt an older child, do be sure to do a lot of reading on the subject, meet other families who have adopted older children, and line up potential therapists in case help is needed.