As we focus on older children during the month of November, we wanted to share with families the perspective of an older child who had been adopted. We interviewed Tatiana, a beautiful young girl who was adopted from Ukraine at the age of 16 along with her siblings. Tatiana and her siblings have thrived in their new home. She has graduated from high school and attended beauty school shortly after. Tatiana very much enjoys her job at the salon and looks forward to advancing in her career.
What were your thoughts as an older child in an orphanage and not having a family?
“This is an interesting question because I did not have my parents with me, but I did have my brother and sister. Having my siblings by my side was the only thing that kept me going. I was trying to be an older sister and protect them, as well as provide for them while I was at the orphanage. It was very difficult for me because I was forced to act like an adult at a very young age.”
How did you feel being adopted by an American family and coming to live in the United States?
“I was really excited when I heard that I was going to be adopted by a family in the U.S. I didn’t know which family it was that was going to adopt me. In my heart, I knew it was the right one and didn’t care. My dream was to live in the U.S. with my siblings. We were very fortunate to be able to all stay together.”
What do you think adopting parents need to know about older children?
“They have a mind of their own and if they are used to being the “parent figure” in a situation it is hard to compromise and understand different ways of living. I was disciplining my siblings and they were used to listening to me. My adoptive mother and I would have trouble understanding each other and what I thought was best for them at the time. It was very hard for me because I was at such a young age. Adopting parents need to be very patient and understanding because our culture tends to be stubborn and set in our ways. I, as well as my brother and sister, was very excited but also very scared. Everything is different and it is very hard to adjust. Friends are considered family in an orphanage and it is very hard to leave them behind. I have met up and kept in contact with many of the girls I would consider my family after I got to the U.S. I was very fortunate to be able to do this.”
It is often the older child who is left behind, as many adoptive families hope to adopt a young, healthy infant – but these older children want and need a family to love them, too. The love and care that a permanent home provides these children allows them to grow and thrive, giving them hope for a better future rather than a life a violence and crime.
Help us at MLJ Adoptions by shining the light on these older children during National Adoption Month.
Photo used with permission.