Adopting an older child is certainly not right for every family. A family with young biological children seeking to preserve birth order may have to wait to pursue an international adoption. But for families with older biological children or older prospective adoptive parents, adopting an older child may offer some advantages over an infant adoption.
There are many older children throughout our program countries in need of homes. This may mean a shorter wait to receive a referral. Many countries are becoming reluctant to approve younger, healthy children for adoption. But, their reluctance may not extend to older children, sibling groups or children who have special needs. Therefore, a match between an older child and a prospective adoptive family may occur sooner.
Activities for Bonding
Adoptive parents will be able to interact and do things such as such as playing in parks, riding bikes, or going to the movies right away with an older child. These shared activities will provide common ground that could help with attachment. An older girl from Congo, for instance, may have an interest and ability in cooking. This will provide adoptive parents with a shared activity around which attachment may take place.
Older children will be able to dress, bathe, and entertain themselves. Adoptive parents of older children will not have to deal with diapers – no potty training! This level of independence could be a blessing for older prospective adoptive parents or for a single parent.
For a couple who has dealt with infertility, it may seem like the window of time for having a family is closing. Adopting an older child or a sibling group will allow the family to catch up. For that couple dealing with secondary infertility, adopting an older child may allow them to provide a sibling near in age to a biological child.
A child who is placed at an older age may know his birth parents or some of his life history. This information can helpful to adoptive parents. Having health information, such as developmental milestones or childhood illnesses available, could provide adoptive parents with additional tools for parenting successfully.
When setting out on an adoption journey, prospective adoption families must set realistic expectations and know what they are and are not ready to deal with. For many of the reasons described above, older child adoption may be right for you.
Photo Credit: Unicefiran