The Benefits of Adopting the Older Child
Should You Adopt an Older Child?
Prospective adoptive parents usually overlook older children. This is due to a bias in society (people expect to adopt babies or toddlers), as well as fears about adopting a child who is older and unknown to them. However, older children (defined here as 5 and up) make the most rewarding and loving children. This short article tells you how to find these children, how to adopt them, and how to raise them lovingly & successfully. Two of my children joined my family separately when they were older (one was 8 at the time, and the other one was 14 when we brought him home 4 years after the first one).
The Benefits of Adopting the Older Child:
1) An Exceptionally Good Deed: All children everywhere deserve a loving home, but older children are most in need of a family. Most people and some adoption agencies have already given up on these kids; in some cases the kids themselves have even given up on ever being part of a forever family. You are truly doing an exceptionally nice deed by welcoming these children into your home. You are doing what most people, no matter how well-meaning, just do not have the courage and the kindness to do.
2) A Close Bond: Your older adopted child will feel that you have gone out of your way to rescue them from a lifetime of being without a family, and they will be all the closer to you for it. Many people fear that these kids have already "formed" their personalities, and that they are unable to bond with new parents, due to earlier problems in their upbringing. But experience (mine and others) does not bear this out: These kids can and do become extremely close to their new families. My 2 adopted-as-older-children are just as tied to the family as are the three who joined the family biologically.
3) More Fun & Activities: You can immediately begin doing rewarding and fun activities with bigger kids. Just think of all of the beneficial trips to the park, the ice cream store and the amusement park that these kids have missed!
4) You Can Skip the Baby Stage, & Return More Quickly to Work: With the older child, there are no diaper changes or 3 a.m. wake-ups; no potty training or "terrible twos." After an adjustment period (I recommend taking off at least 2 weeks if possible), you can enroll your child in school, and continue working at your job. Through the Family Medical Leave Act, your employer has to keep your job open for you while you take some time off to spend it with your new child. Some employers will even give you paid time off while you adjust to new parenthood.
5) A Shorter Waiting Period & a Cost Savings: Due to the fact that fewer people are looking to adopt the older child, there is usually a much shorter waiting period before everything is finalized. Also, in the case of international adoptions, the cost for the older child is lower. It is free to adopt through your local county or city agency (these agencies are acting on behalf of your state). There are so many waiting kids that those agencies will even pay for their health and dental care.
How to Adopt an Older Child:
There are two types of adoptions:
1) Domestic (2 types: State or Private)
Contact your local family services agency for domestic adoptions. There is very little cost, but a lot of paperwork. You can do a "Fos-Adopt" where the child can live with you while you are awaiting the finalized adoption.
You can also contact an private agency or attorney, in order to obtain a U.S. or international child privately (i.e., a child who is not being taken care of by your State's Child Welfare System).
The laws vary from state to state and country to country. Whatever you do, do not give up hope - a child is waiting for you. Please do not let bureaucratic red-tape, time delays or even financial constraints get in your way. There is a young person out there, who has been forgotten by many others, who is waiting for your love and care. Good luck if you are considering doing this!