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Anyone adopt an OLDER CHILD/TEEN through foster care?


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Now with out kids looking over my shoulders I can post more.

 

We have 3 adopted through foster care but they came at 7 1/2 years old in 1995, 8 months old in May 1996 and 2 days old in Dec. 1996. All have various special needs.

 

Now we might be approached to adopt an older child through foster care--almost teen.

 

Just trying to think of the pros and cons here. We know the system, what the kids are like (we have fostered over 100 others), etc. but adopting is another ball game as it has been 15 years since our last child joined the family.

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:bigear:

No BTDT, unfortunately. All of my dc are adopted, but were adopted when they were fairly young (dd14 and dd13 came to us when they were 5 and not-quite-4; the twins came to us newborn, and dd5 and dd3 came to us at 30 months and approx. 8 months). We are hoping to adopt an older teen at some point.

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Obviously we haven't. However, my friend who has would definitely put a 7 yo and a 12yo in the same ballgame. Of course, individual issues may make a difference.

 

You might look at adoption.com's fostering and foster-adopt boards for my feedback from people who have actually done it. If I had more room, I'd consider it on a kid-by-kid basis. Now, our big consideration with any foster child, adoptive placement, etc would be fitting in with the children in our home (3 adoptive, 1 very long term). One big concern is that there is no problem for my son because of any child we take also which seems to be a bigger concern the older in age you go, especially with females.

 

Since you still have kids in the home, I would think that how a new one will effect the ones you have is probably the main consideration :)

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Not here, either. We've done respite care (two to three months at a time) for a set of foster-adopted teens. There's not much more to say than what you would already know. Based on the experiences of this particular family (who adopted another younger child later), I'd want to make sure the other kids are on board with the plan, to minimize problems with jealousy.

Edited by mudboots
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Talked to his worker today. Got a bit more information. Sounds like he is a kid that has been stuck in a bad system for a few years. He was matched with an adopted family from out of state but their state denied their adoptive homestudy (don't know why). Basically it sounds like he hasn't had much of a chance at a normal life.

 

She is going to send us his adoption profile, updates, information, etc. tomorrow and then once we read/review that we can decide where to go from there. She is also going to meet with him this week and just see how he felt about our family, etc......without telling him we might be interested, more in just a "how did your weekend go" type thing.

 

On a positive, he has no history of lying, stealing, acting out, aggression, etc.

 

It was interesting though that all of our kids came to us privately and asked if we could PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be his foster parents or adopt him if he could be adopted, etc......not knowing that he is free for adoption. All they were told is that he needed respite (a babysitter) for the weekend.

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Talked to his worker today. Got a bit more information. Sounds like he is a kid that has been stuck in a bad system for a few years. He was matched with an adopted family from out of state but their state denied their adoptive homestudy (don't know why). Basically it sounds like he hasn't had much of a chance at a normal life.

 

She is going to send us his adoption profile, updates, information, etc. tomorrow and then once we read/review that we can decide where to go from there. She is also going to meet with him this week and just see how he felt about our family, etc......without telling him we might be interested, more in just a "how did your weekend go" type thing.

 

On a positive, he has no history of lying, stealing, acting out, aggression, etc.

 

It was interesting though that all of our kids came to us privately and asked if we could PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be his foster parents or adopt him if he could be adopted, etc......not knowing that he is free for adoption. All they were told is that he needed respite (a babysitter) for the weekend.

 

So excited for you and him.

 

Praying for you.

 

Keep us posted.

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Only one. It wasn't good, but the adoptive parents knew about his issues before going into it. The boy has since graduated and enlisted. Last I have talked to the adoptive family, they said it was a huge struggle and seemed to regret that they ever got involved in the situation. :( They were only his parents for a few years, but I think those years really took their toll on them. They had 3 other bio-teens at home at the time.

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I have not adopted, but the only cousin I have on my dad's side was adopted though foster at nearly 13. (I think I was 8 at the time.) She had a few special needs, but she hadn't had stability in a long time. I think they had her in therapy for a year or two to help with transition, and I remember they got her a puppy that same first year to take care of too. She ended up florishing and we still talk all the time and she is close to her adoptive parents.

 

I'm glad you are considering this! Now my cousin was the only child in this situation, so I don't know if that makes a difference or not.

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I have not adopted, but the only cousin I have on my dad's side was adopted though foster at nearly 13. (I think I was 8 at the time.) She had a few special needs, but she hadn't had stability in a long time. I think they had her in therapy for a year or two to help with transition, and I remember they got her a puppy that same first year to take care of too. She ended up florishing and we still talk all the time and she is close to her adoptive parents.

 

I'm glad you are considering this! Now my cousin was the only child in this situation, so I don't know if that makes a difference or not.

Nice to hear good stories :)

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Another update:

 

Spoke with his counselor and foster care worker today. He is coming again this weekend from Friday evening to Monday morning. From there we will see but this appears to be moving forward.

 

This is just a HUGE decision as if we go ahead, all of our lives will forever be changed and if we don't, his life will still be changed forever.

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We adopted a 13 year old, but ours was an international adoption. There are elements that would probably be similar and some elements that might be different because of that. Our bios were 6 and 9 when we brought her home.

 

Even though we did a lot of learning, researching, praying, and studying before doing an older child adoption, there were still some things that surprised us with the reality of the situation.

 

1. It is astounding how deeply wounded a person can be. Our child's life story would make Jerry Springer cry. I could not have imagined a child had been through what she had. Seeing and loving a deeply wounded child will change your heart. There are some great parenting techniques for children like this, and I believe they can be effective, but it is very different loving a deeply wounded child.

 

2. If a child wants a family, that goes a really long way in making progress. It doesn't mean it will always be easy or natural, but having our child be "in" 100% from the get go has made a HUGE difference.

 

3. Living day in and day out with a child from hard places can be really trying. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it is a lot of emotional work. Every day.

 

4. It changed most everything about our family. Dynamics, friendships, interests. We lost some friends because it was a big transition. We also gained some steadfast friends.

 

I could probably go on and on! We are still fairly new at this, so I am by no means an expert! We definitely have some hard days, specific struggles, and our life doesn't look much like anyone else's we know. We don't measure "success" the same way most other families we know do. Having said all that, I wouldn't change a thing. I don't know if we will pursue another older child adoption some day. Right now our hands (and hearts) are pretty full.

Edited by rutamattatt
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WOW, thanks for the encouragement and the been there/done that story.

 

Yes, I am sure that some things are different but a severely wounded child is a severely wounded child.

 

He DOES want to be adopted and "learn to be a normal kid" as he put it. I am not thinking though that this will be easy AT ALL.

 

My best friend has offered to be our respite person. She works for the foster care agency, has been a foster parent, has adopted and KNOWS kids and the system, etc. That will be invaluable as you just can't hire a teen age babysitter for kids ages 13, 15, 16 and 24-----and yes, they all need babysitters---something most people don't think of at those ages.

 

We are meeting with the pastor and youth pastor Wednesday to discuss the supports he will need to be successful in the youth program.

 

Right now we do have a LOT of friends who have adopted, most through foster care, and most with special needs/troubled kids so we are not alone but I realize that friendships might change through this as well.

 

If this all works out, we will also be pulling back from some social activities and church involvement. Our main focus will have to be our family. We just might be "that family" that drops the kids off on Wednesday nights while the parents leave for 2 hours-----as that might be our only "date night" time for a while. We might be the family that can commit to various things but will just go day by day and serve and help when/where we can.

 

While it seems like a low bar to aim for, years ago when we were working with an adoption therapist with another child, she said, "for some of these kids, you might just be a family to come home to on the holidays"......meaning some of these kids will never totally bond into your family and have the close relationship that most parents have with their kids, but you are still there to be their family and be stability in their lives.

 

We adopted a 13 year old, but ours was an international adoption. There are elements that would probably be similar and some elements that might be different because of that. Our bios were 6 and 9 when we brought her home.

 

Even though we did a lot of learning, researching, praying, and studying before doing an older child adoption, there were still some things that surprised us with the reality of the situation.

 

1. It is astounding how deeply wounded a person can be. Our child's life story would make Jerry Springer cry. I could not have imagined a child had been through what she had. Seeing and loving a deeply wounded child will change your heart. There are some great parenting techniques for children like this, and I believe they can be effective, but it is very different loving a deeply wounded child.

 

2. If a child wants a family, that goes a really long way in making progress. It doesn't mean it will always be easy or natural, but having our child be "in" 100% from the get go has made a HUGE difference.

 

3. Living day in and day out with a child from hard places can be really trying. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it is a lot of emotional work. Every day.

 

4. It changed most everything about our family. Dynamics, friendships, interests. We lost some friends because it was a big transition. We also gained some steadfast friends.

 

I could probably go on and on! We are still fairly new at this, so I am by no means an expert! We definitely have some hard days, specific struggles, and our life doesn't look much like anyone else's we know. We don't measure "success" the same way most other families we know do. Having said all that, I wouldn't change a thing. I don't know if we will pursue another older child adoption some day. Right now our hands (and hearts) are pretty full.

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Another update:

 

Spoke with his counselor and foster care worker today. He is coming again this weekend from Friday evening to Monday morning. From there we will see but this appears to be moving forward.

 

This is just a HUGE decision as if we go ahead, all of our lives will forever be changed and if we don't, his life will still be changed forever.

 

I am happy that you are moving ahead slowly, but still moving ahead. There are so many kids who need families, I am glad you are giving him a chance.....and your family a chance to grow. I know you have experience and are doing your homework, I love that you are so kind and generous to consider him as an addition to your family.

 

I really hope it is a wonderful few days and that you are able to be his forever family.

:party:

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