When adopting, many people want to be placed or matched with an infant or very young child. While there are benefits in younger child adoption, there are just as many benefits of adopting an older child. Below are six benefits to consider when adopting an older child.
1. No Baby Years
Many people set out to adopt and only want infants; however, skipping the baby stage can be great for first-time parents and those who are seeking adoption after their biological children are older or leaving the nest. My husband and I were first-time parents when we adopted our then seven-year-old. Being able to start out with a child who for the most part could tie their own shoes and brush their teeth, helped us overcome our nervousness in being able to provide for a baby. Adopting an older child can be great for those who already have older children because they can start out as an equal member of the family and share in responsibilities.
2. They Are Aware Of Their Past
When you adopt an infant, you only know what the agency and (maybe) birth family is able to tell you. With an older child, you are often able to know more about the child, their family, and hear stories of their past directly from the child.
3. Opportunity To Help Their Broken Past
If an older child is being adopted, there is clearly brokenness in their past. They have had a loss in their life and you are able to help piece together that past, heal their hurt, and give them a future that is much different than one they may have previously had. And don’t forget you can rely on others that have navigated the path of older child adoption and parenting.
4. Trust Is Earned And Built By Both
Some may see this as a negative, but it is really positive. With infants, bonding is normally easier because they need you. With an older child, you are able to earn their trust and they earn yours. It is a unique relationship that allows both the parent and the child to bond together over common interests.
5. Quicker Process And More Benefits
Normally, with an older child, a termination has already taken place making the child eligible for adoption. If not, the child has the ability to help make decisions about their own care, making the adoption process smoother and quicker. Along with the adoption of an older child, especially out of foster care, older children are able to keep benefits that help provide for their care, such as state insurance, free college, and monthly subsidies.
6. Different Set Of Firsts
Although you may not see their first steps or hear their first word, you will still get to experience “firsts.” The first time they call you mom and dad, the first time they say “I love you” will all be first words that you know come from a deeper place than learning to just say the word. The first time they share a private or hurtful memory is just a reminder to you of the relationship you have worked on and built. The first may look different, but you enjoy them even more.
The need for adoption of older children is growing daily. Please consider these benefits when looking into adoption. No matter the decision you make in regard to an adoption, it is important to evaluate your family’s needs and move forward from there. You can visit Adoption.com’s Photolistings to see the profiles of waiting children across the country.