Adopting a 15 & 16 year old - a little long
My husband and I are adopting two brothers, aged 15 & 16, out of foster care. They are precious guys! Just a little background information: I never wanted to adopt. I was happy with our daughter, an only child. However, I felt the Lord tugging at me and looked at an adoption website on April 12, 2011. I saw these two boys and felt God tell me they were going to be our sons. To make a VERY LONG story short, CPS took their sweet time, but my husband and I continued to fight and never gave up. CPS finally told the boys about us on October 16, 2012. We met them October 29, 2012. The oldest stayed the following weekend with us. The youngest decided he didn't want to be adopted. The oldest told us that weekend that he wanted to be adopted. He was to stay with us the following weekend. That Thursday, they were removed from their foster home for several reasons. The youngest decided to stay the weekend with us, too, mainly because he was removed from the foster home. They were moved into a respite foster home just five miles from our home. They previously lived about 90 miles away.

We got the boys every weekend and holiday including all of Thanksgiving. We picked them up every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for various church activities. The boys finally were placed in our home for adoption on December 14, 2012. We were thrilled! Both boys want to be adopted.

I realize they haven't been in our home long. They haven't even known of us for long. We had a year and a half to grow to love them, and I have to admit, I love them very deeply...unconditionally!! They are AMAZING young men, and we are very blessed to call them our sons. Right now, I am struggling with their lack of love for us, especially the oldest. The youngest has done a complete 180. He said he would never call us mom and dad...he started calling us mom and dad after being in our home for two days. He said he would never change his name...he wants to change his name to our last name. He never seemed happy or smiled before. He is ALWAYS happy now and smiles all the time. We also get lots and lots of hugs. The oldest is very happy, too. I just haven't seen as big a change in him. He is going to hyphenate his last name, and that's fine with us. We understand that.

While in the respite home, the boys created a FB page and contacted their biological parents, a big no-no per CPS. Instead of making them delete their account, we have allowed them to keep it as long as we have access to it. After all, they are teenagers and could very well go behind our backs and create another account that we wouldn't know about. We'd rather know than not know. They talk to their parents every now and then. We know they love their biological parents very much. Their mom is very supportive of the adoption. It's hard for me because I feel like I'm in competition with the biological family. It's especially hard right now because my husband is away on business for a month, and he hasn't been here to be my rock, and our daughter is away at college. So, it's been me and our two sons alone together for the first time.

I guess my question is long does it take for teenagers to grow to love you? How long does it take for them to truly consider you their parents? Our adoption consummation is in April. Yippee! But I know that doesn't mean that we will be their parents in their hearts. I'm not naive, and I'm not expecting to be loved overnight. I'm just wondering how long it will take. Will they be adults before they truly realize how much we love and adore them? I tell them I love them. The youngest has begun to tell me he loves me, too. The oldest doesn't. Should I stop telling them I love them? Do you think it makes them uncomfortable if they don't feel the same way? I don't know what to do, and I don't want to push them away by loving them too much. Does that make sense?

Any help, advice and/or encouragement is greatly appreciated.
First of all, congrats to you and your growing family! I firmly believe - and tell everyone - that God made our family grow too. Our birthmother, agency, us - too many things were in line for us to be "lucky" to have been chosen and the way the situation fell into place. So when you have been called - you have been called!!! Smile Congrats and blessing to you for following that call.....

First let me say that while I feel like I am somewhat knowledgable of the foster to adopt procedures, protocols, I did not chose that route so I am defintely inexperienced in that way but from the outside looking in to this post, I would say that there does seem to be improvement in their bonding to you and spouse. You sound like a great mom and for what it is worth if you keep putting their best interest first while things may not be easy, you will do the right thing. Case in point - the FB account. I can appreciate CPS rules but truly isn't forbidding something just fuel for a curious individual. I don't think Biological parents should ever be denied unless their existance would be damaging to your family and even then while extremely limited and with boundaries shoudln't be denied. You are the parent and you should always try to do the best interest - even if that is exposing insecurities. I think all adoptive parents at one point or another are intimidated by Biological parents and what, if any, role they play. Each case/situation is different. This is still NEW. You are talking about year out of their lives (you have 14 and 15 years respectively that you have to catch up on). Lastly, they are teenagers - removing adoption, foster care from the equation - all teenagers have attitude, think they know the world, etc. LOL. Growing pains. Don't take it personally that affection isn't pouring from their pores - even though you sound like an very affectionate, loving, compassionate woman - they may just physically and mentally be processing things different because of their age, puberty, etc. Keeping doing what you are doing. I be the month goes by quickly as you will be one busy bee carrying the household with your DH gone and having two teenagers in the house.
It sounds like you are doing well and that these kids are beyond blessed to have you and your DH to be their parents. Best of everything to you, DH and your kids. There are some amazing women on these boards that have given their heart and soul to children - I am sure some even more prudent advice is coming your way. Your post made me happy and I am happy that these kids have a loving, stable home!!! Keep us posted.
congratulations on your sons! How wonderful that you are willing to open your hearts to older children and make them part of your family.

I have adopted a daughter who was 10 at the time, and now her biological brother who did not come to us til age 22 (yes, you read that right). First, I would not worry too much about them not saying I love you back. They may have a hard time with the words but that doesn't mean they don't have the feelings. My daughter didn't start saying I love you back until last year - after 6 years with us! But she was affectionate and clearly bonded to us, just has a hard time saying it. She still only says it back once in a while.

My son on the other hand, started saying it within weeks of coming to live with us. They're very different people. My daughter is very cautious and guards her heart. My son just puts himself out there and risks getting hurt. I think this is just their personalities and I suspect they would be this way even if they had had a normal family life when they were younger.

As to this question: "Will they be adults before they truly realize how much we love and adore them?" Yes. They will, but so will your daughter, and so will everyone's kids. When I was about 18, a wise adult told me that I wouldn't understand for at least a few years yet just how much my parents loved me. He said until you're a parent, you won't understand what it is to love someone so completely. I didn't get what he meant at the time but now years later I do. Kids love their parents - but not in the exact same way their parents love them. That profound, overwhelming, run into a burning building for them feeling - they won't get it until they're much older and have kids of their own.

It sounds to me like you're doing a great job with these boys and you have realistic expectations and are sensitive to their feelings and needs. They're lucky to have you.
Thank you so much! I think I just needed some encouraging words. My husband is military and is gone for the month, and I haven't been able to talk to him in almost two weeks. I needed someone to talk to who can relate.

I am soooooooo blessed with all three of my children!!! My Biological daughter wasn't your typical teenager and never went through the attitude phase, always loves being with me, was never embarrassed to be seen with know. The typical teenage stuff you oftentimes see. These boys are incredible! I think they have missed out on years of nurturing and being loved, so they actually really love to be with me, and we hang out all of the time playing games, singing, talking, playing "Just Dance," etc. The oldest told me a few days ago that he never knew what love was until he moved here with us. *sigh* I melted. So, I guess not only are they learning what love is, but they are learning how to love, too. After I posted on here, I heard, "Love you!" from my youngest, and the oldest texted that he loved me. I need to be a little more patient, huh? Smile

We had an issue two nights ago with a Biological aunt on FB. It really upset the boys, and the oldest asked me to talk to his mom about it. I sent her a PM, and we had a nice conversation. She completely supports the adoption and is so happy for all of us. It really helps the boys to know that their mom, other siblings and relatives are 100% in favor of this adoption. Because of the negative aunt, I am now friends with the boys' Biological mom and dad on FB. It's different. I was intimidated by their Biological parents before this happened because I know how much the boys love their parents. Their dad has not been happy about the adoption, but after the "issue," he apologized to the boys about their aunt and said that no matter what, he wants his sons to be well taken care of and happy, and for the first time, he acknowledged us as their adoptive family and that he is happy that they are happy with us. He actually asked me to be his friend on FB, so he initiated it. I didn't. So, all in all, FB has been a very positive thing for the boys. They know that their parents are happy for them and want the best for them. It has made their transition into our home a lot easier, I believe.

Thank you for replying! I really appreciate it!
Mine were that age when we got them.

We seemed to make good progress when we did things for them for no reason & no expextation of pay back. Bought a new game system because theirs broke, upgraded their bikes, helped them get cars, made sure they had the proper gifts for girlfriends on holidays.

We also always defended them first & then found out the real story later. This has made 3 compulsive liars into the most honest kids you'll ever meet. They KNOW we trust them, which make them work harder to keep that going.

Teenage boys are not very gushy, I'm sure you are doing just fine. When they are in their 20's you'll see the appreciation way more.
We got our son at 14. He actually said he loved us right from the start, and started calling us mom and dad after about 3-4 months. This was a direct placement adoption, he wanted it, and birth mother agreed to it.

However, with that being said - things do change. We had a honeymoon period for about a year. Then the attitude started. Part of it is just being a teen, but also his Biological mother is all over the place. She'll be fine for awhile, and then freak out - she's an alcoholic and not so predictable.

Also, all of the family was supportive for the most part, and then all of a sudden they weren't was really strange. We were planning a vacation out to visit his paternal grandparents, and a week before we were supposed to leave they said they were cancelling it - they didn't want to see us. Just out of nowhere. We would talk on the phone and they would talk about how grateful they were for me and my husband for giving their grandson this life that he deserved, and how we must have a halo over our heads and then nothing. They won't return my calls or emails.

Also - my son got into drugs. My husband called the cops on him and he was put into jail. This caused him to go back to Biological mom for three weeks. Now he won't call me mom, but will call my husband dad. And he won't say I love you anymore either, except for every once in a while, and mainly with my husband.

So it's been a roller coaster for sure. Congrats on your new sons!
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