Hi Everyone,
My husband and I are considering older child adoption. We'd be able to take one child or a sibling group of two, up to age 7, of any race. (We have a biological son, and I've heard many times over that it's not good to upset the "birth order" so we're looking for a child/children younger than our son).
Having said that, I want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly of older child adoption. From what I've heard from people, the reaction tends to be one extreme or the other. It's either: "adopting an older child is the most rewarding and wonderful thing you'll ever do and all you need is love." Or it's along the lines of: "adopting an older child is the worst decision you'll ever make because they all have severe problems and they'll never recover and your life will be ruined."
I'm assuming that it's somewhere between the two. So I'd like to hear from some parents who actually adopted older children. And I want to hear it all. The positives and the negatives. The questions we should ask our case worker. What you would have done differently. What you wish you'd known. All that fun stuff.
Thanks in advance! :love:
CRAZY_WOMAN
I would be cautious, I was 6 years old, when I was put in fostercare,The first was shelter and the second I stayed with from 7 years untill after 18. They wanted to adopt me, but other plans happen. Anyways the grand parents didn't work out, so they kept me. They loved me, but I never cared for them. Did I attach to them? No. I feel more like I was kidnapped and forced to stay there. Did family and friends know that I hated living there ? No. Was I a horrible kid? No. But other kids, that I lived with had behavioral problem and attachment issues. Even the over clingy kids are a problem. I do think they don't give enough info, when they put an older child up for adoption. Also many foster kids don't tell foster parents, social workers or even therapist everything.
Thank you for sharing this. As someone who has experienced that, do you have any tips or signs to look for to tell if our child/ren are feeling that way? Living with a family for over 11 years and not caring for them reminded me of the post on here about the lady who thought things were great and when her adopted daughter turned 18 she left the daughter never spoke to or saw her again. That story shocked me and made me wonder if there is a way to recognize that. Any insite would be appreciated! Thanks again for sharing your experience!
CRAZY_WOMAN
I would be cautious, I was 6 years old, when I was put in fostercare,The first was shelter and the second I stayed with from 7 years untill after 18. They wanted to adopt me, but other plans happen. Anyways the grand parents didn't work out, so they kept me. They loved me, but I never cared for them. Did I attach to them? No. I feel more like I was kidnapped and forced to stay there. Did family and friends know that I hated living there ? No. Was I a horrible kid? No. But other kids, that I lived with had behavioral problem and attachment issues. Even the over clingy kids are a problem. I do think they don't give enough info, when they put an older child up for adoption. Also many foster kids don't tell foster parents, social workers or even therapist everything.
Thank you for sharing this. As someone who has experienced that, do you have any tips or signs to look for to tell if our child/ren are feeling that way? Living with a family for over 11 years and not caring for them reminded me of the post on here about the lady who thought things were great and when her adopted daughter turned 18 she left and the daughter never spoke to or saw her again. That story shocked me and made me wonder if there is a way to recognize that. Any insight would be appreciated! Thanks again for sharing your experience!
Thank you all for the great informative posts. In the beginning, I was going to do straight adoption of older children, but after reading these forums and seeing how state adoption works (you see them for a weekend or two and make a life-long choice) I have decided to go the foster-to-adopt route. I am also doing emergency foster care. I was originally strongly against fostering, but after learning more through classes and especially this forum, I feel more comfortable with it now.
I am almost an "expert" in older child adoption. As a professional working in psychiatry, and an experience foster parent AND adoptive parent of mainly older children..it is tough, and you need to be cautious.
I was matched with an 8 yr old girl, adopted her at 9 years old. She will now be 12 soon, and is thriving. When I say thriving though there are difficulties. She was dx with RAD prior to me adopting her, and her caseworker was AMAZING and told me all of her information. This did include safety plans, line of sight supervision, etc. But now none of that is needed, and overall doing well. I would consider her an attached child, who has since no RAD dx.
After that, caseworker called me to adopt a 2 yr old dx with RAD and his 11 month old brother who experienced NO trauma. The 2 yr old is following in the 11 yrs old RAD like behaviors- already stealing, etc. He is now 3. But, there is much hope for him and the behaviors to me ARE manageable. Therefore it ALL depends on what you can put up with. I have had other kids here who were a LOT more severe and some up for adoption, and as you can see on my signature many of them ended up in RTCs. Trying to hurt other kids, animals, breaking windshield of my car, running away, knives as weapons, etc.
Glad you found the right route to go down for you. I have three kids, and two were older child adoptions. Certainly life is challenging, and I wasn't told everything about them, although I was told a lot for adoption number two. On the other hand, I would do it all over again despite the worst times I've been through. I hope you find your children soon
Sheena - Do you have a family story on Adoptuskids? I came across it the other day, and now reading your sig and post it sounds like you. If it is, I thought it was a fantastic piece, and you sound amazing :)
CRAZY_WOMAN
Always talk to the foster parents, to see how they act.
Even foster parents may not be reliable. We've adopted older kids twice. One foster family downplayed the problems and hid stuff from the social workers. We think they were trying to ensure that the difficult kids remained adoptable. We've learned about a whole lot of things that were swept under the rug. The other foster family seems to have over-played the problems, which now means we get more money for easier kids. Maybe that was their intent. Both families were obviously in a big hurry to get the kids moved.
In the end I think you have to adopt older kids because you are willing to give up everything to try to help them. You'll never be sure what you are going to get until you get it. You are setting yourself up for a fall if you want to adopt to build a family.
EdyDedd
My son was placed with me at age 14, and adopted at 15. He is now 18. WE ARE A SUCCESS STORY.
To put it into context: My son had a rough past, though NOT as rough as many. His family couldn't take care of him. He was in a series of not-so-great foster homes. What he went through is unimaginable to me, but honestly it's mild compared to the trauma that many older adoptive children have gone through.
I totally relate to what momraine says:
We have gone through some stuff, and I don't share it even with my closest family and friends because I don't think it's fair to have them judge my son (I'm SO lucky to have my husband to share it with!). I have had minutes where I've thought, "This is NOT going to work, SEND HIM BACK." Minutes. Not hours, not days, just minuets.
But I will tell you: My son is kind. He is bonded. He loves his parent, his grandparents, his aunts/uncles, his cousins, and his pets. He is strong and kind and not-perfect, but trying. I don't know what will happen as he gets older. I know that there's a chance he'll decide we're not his parents, and seek out his birth family.
All I know is:
- My son has so many more opportunities because of me and my husband. We have given him years of happiness and security.
- My husband and I are better people because of him. He has given us the ability to love in a new kind of way.
- My marriage is stronger than ever. To see my husband be an amazing father to our son, in good times and in bad, is a feeling that I can't even describe.
I think I am a minority in that we don't have some of the challenges that a lot of parents who adopt older children face. But I wanted to weigh in, for what it's worth.
U and your husband are great people,
I have 4 adopted children-- all were at least 6 when adopted. There are pluses and minuses to this as with any adoption. The older they are chances are they have been in several foster homes- shuffled from place to place and feeling rejected every time they are removed from a home. This can create a whole list of self esteem/ behavioral/ identity type issues which can take time and therapy to conquer. I would be more concerned about why they are in foster care not about what age they are. Some kids are there because of behaviors the adults in their life can't deal with, some are there because of sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect. I would give long thought about what kind of behavior/ issues you can work with and what would be a deal breaker. Keep in mind that some issues may arise and show themselves later when the child hits puberty or after they have been with you long enough to feel comfortable enough to 'let it all hang out'.
I would say once you have given it serious thought and done your homework and learned about the specific children you are considereing, if you still want to adopt older children absolutely go for it. There have been rough times for us in the past for sure but I have never regretted my decision to adopt older children.
While I concur that years of abuse can scar a child, I'd like to add a "positive" to the "adopting an older child..
they can communicate.
We were first time parents when DD moved in (when she was 5). Unlike a newborn, she could/would express when she was hurting and could share when she missed mummy or "J" (her brother).
she she had a headache, i could get responses to figure out if its sinuses or stress. :sick:
We were able to tackle several traumas faster than we could have if, for example, she was a FAS baby. We also had 5 years of data on how severe her FAS would be.
bjolly
Another positive older child adoption story here. Our daughter was placed at age 9 going on 10. We have now been parenting her 7 years. We had some behavioral issues over the first 6 months but nothing we were not able to work through. She did not have trouble attaching to us but I would say she was *appropriately* cautious about attaching given her history. But no question she is firmly bonded to us. She's a great kid and we have a great relationship.
Her biological brother is now living with us also, at 22. (talk about older child adoption!) We're only a few months in with him but so far it has been fairly smooth.
The problem with the advice to go to a support group to get input is that parents like me will not be at a support group, because we aren't having any issues beyond any typical parent of teens/young adults. There are success stories, but at a support group you will hear only the negative.
Don't assume that because a child is young you're "safe" from them having serious problems. And equally, don't assume because they're older that they're a lost cause. Yes, go in with your eyes open. But try to assess each child and their situation as an individual.
Great post and glad to hear this, especially since we are transtioning a 12 year old girl into our home. Her goal has been changed to adoption, so we are hoping this works out.
If you have young children DO NOT adopt a child near their age because so many of kids from foster care or internationally sexually abuse them. We had two horrific older child adoptions and all our infant adoptions were great. We adopted one eleven year old and already had two younger adopted children in our home...ages 3 and 7. He had sex with them. My younger kids didn't tell us because he pulled a knife on them and said he'd kill them if they did so we didn't find out ANYTHING for three years. He killed two of our dogs and he acted like such a nice kid to adults, we didn't think the first one was him. He even cried! The second time, he was starting to unravel and give himself away so we figured as he was the only child at home. He was DANGEROUS to ALL kids and animals and we called CPS to ask for his removal the day we found out he'd been messing with our younger two kids. We never saw him again. The County pressed charges against him because he was six years older than the two children he was abusing and he was accused of Sexual Assaulting a minor and is supposed to sign up as a sexual predator for the rest of his life. He didn't do well in residential either...he was caught on camera trying to perp. This is a very very bad case, but it's not that unusual for older adopted kids to sexually act out on younger kids who are already there. Our ex-son's social worker knew NOTHING of his problems and he'd had a glowing pre-placement report plus his ex-foster parents of five years had no clue he was having sex with her daycare kids. He admitted it after he was in treatment and didn't seem to show any emotion, have any remorse, or have any insight as to why he did anything to other kids. He did not remember being abused, although he obviously was. His prognosis was poor t he last we heard.
My friend had a foster child, around nine, who burned her house down. They had to live in a hotel for many months. While the house was burning, the child asked, "Can we get some McDonalds?" I hear he is still not doing well, although he was removed after the fire from that home.
Lastly, we adopted a six year old from another country. He acted like the perfect son until he became an adult when he married a woman of his culture and never spoke to us again. When asked about it, he said, "I always felt different. Now I feel at home and I want to forget how different I felt." He'd never acted like he felt different, was not treated different, and we'd loved him to death. But he had spent six years in an orphanage. He has no interest in seeing us so it's like we lost a child.
Attachment disorder is wicked and there's not much you can do about it. If you don't have other children, I think it's ok to adopt older kids if you understand that they may NEVER love you. But I don't think you should ever do it with younger kids in the house. Even the social workers do not know their entire stories.
There may be a good story here a nd there, but mostly they are horror stories. It is easier to be successful if you don't have other children at all.
Just because a child was sexually abused does not mean they will be a perpetrator. it is unfortunate that you had this experience and more unfortunate for the child who was abused.
I do think many parents forget that birth or Biological children can also have issues like this. I know of a family and the son was abused by a baby sitter and he went on and abused other children. the family had to split up (the other children could not live in the home) after he finished residential treatment and juvie. So it happens to Biological kids as well. This just happened a few yrs ago.
You need to be well educated and read before you go into any adoption, even infant as they can struggle with attachment issues just as much as an older child. Someitmes you just get lucky too. Parents may not call it attachment issues but there are lots of Biological kids that go off once they grow up and have little contact with their parents.
here's what we have found: Age is just number. It doesn't predict or guarantee anything. We've had young kids including a baby who we would NEVER adopt because of all the issues and we have a teen who is awesome!!!(Right now I am eating a sub he order for me with his own money...and yet the dishes, which are his only chore, have been in the sink for days---sigh)
Birth order is crap. We foster and are planning on adopting out of birth order and our kids are fine. However, Punky has requested that he be the only teen in our home and wants to be the oldest. We always ask our kids before we take in another kid. The Goobs wanted older brothers so that is what we looked for. The Goobs is our oldest until we got Brother Bear and then we got Punky. She's fine with it.
And I can tell you that those younger children we had had WAY more baggage than our 8 and 14 yr. Is it easy...no. Is it worth it...YES! Teens are....different. we are young and have work with teens before. We respect who they are and don't try to change them...but that is with any age child. You CANT mold a child; only lovingly guide them! We are also fine with the fact that neither one will call us Mom and Dad.
I get so upset that these children are overlooked because of age and the myth of "keeping the birth order." You are missing out and so are these kids.
LoveMyKids94
There may be a good story here a nd there, but mostly they are horror stories. It is easier to be successful if you don't have other children at all.
that's a bold statement to make. I know plenty of horror stories with young children too. You mostly hear horror stories because that is what people like to share. That's not fair to all of children who need a home and can't find one because of the fear that is being spread around. I'm no saying it is easy but you can't predict how a child is going to act or behave no matter what age you get them. Even Biological kids!
And by the way my friend was molested when she was 6 six by her FOUR year old cousin who was a Biological child with NO foster or adopted kids in the home! My other friend was molested by his 5 year cousin around the same age. You NEVER know period. :hissy: