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Old 05-28-2008, 04:01 PM   #1
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Smile Interested in adoption and wanted some information

Ever since I was little I always said that I would have a big family by birth, but that I would also adopt at least 1 child. The other day I was online just goofing around and ran into a site on adoption of older children. Has anyone ever adopted an older child or family of older children? Is it difficult? I know that I can't do it right now, since our home isn't big enough (), but I'd love to adopt sometime in the future ( ). Any information on the cost of it, the difficulty of it, and etc. would be great. Also any firsthand experience with domestic versus international adoptions would be wonderful, since I actually thought about adopting a few children from Russia someday, but my DH says that domestic would be better.

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Old 05-28-2008, 05:18 PM   #2
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Re: Interested in adoption and wanted some information

Can't talk right now. But yes, we've adopted older boys thrice now. Twice internationally and once domestic. I will NEVER, EVER, EVER adopt domestic again, not in a million years.
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Old 05-28-2008, 09:06 PM   #3
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Re: Interested in adoption and wanted some information

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Can't talk right now. But yes, we've adopted older boys thrice now. Twice internationally and once domestic. I will NEVER, EVER, EVER adopt domestic again, not in a million years.
When you can talk more, could you elaborate? Do you mean you'll never adopt domestically again as far as private goes, or even in a foster-adopt situation?
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Old 05-28-2008, 10:17 PM   #4
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Re: Interested in adoption and wanted some information

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Can't talk right now. But yes, we've adopted older boys thrice now. Twice internationally and once domestic. I will NEVER, EVER, EVER adopt domestic again, not in a million years.
Hmm....you would think that domestic would be better since you don't have to travel and etc. Elaborate when you can. My DH and I are really discussing our plans for the future lately and adoption is on the list. Thanks.
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:06 AM   #5
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Re: Interested in adoption and wanted some information

I think TesitfyToLove has had issues with the foster care system and in general felt they weren't concerned with the best interest of the child.... I'm sure every state is different depending on the SWers involved.

And with older children there are a lot of other issues to deal with.... like behavioral problems associated with the child's past history - often they have been moved around a lot, so they have trust issues.

I'm not an expert on this, since I haven't adopted an older child, this is just stuff I've gathered from what other people have said.

Some people also say adopting out of birth order can be difficult on the family dynamics. So that is something to consider.

Good luck to you and I'll be praying for your decision making process.
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Old 05-29-2008, 04:44 PM   #6
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Re: Interested in adoption and wanted some information

With older children there are a lot of other issues to deal with.... like behavioral problems associated with the child's past history - often they have been moved around a lot, so they have trust issues.


Being an older adopted child (at age 5) I can say that not ALL older kids have behavioral and emotional problems. Please don't let comments like these scare you away if you have the love in your heart to adopt an older child. It is alot harder to place older children and most age out of the system. My brother and I were both blessed with a family instead of this alternative and I am so thankful!

If you do decide to adopt an older child, do alot of research and have an open mind and an open heart!

I think its great that so many want to adopt whether it is domestic or international.



ETA:
The birth order situation did ring true for me..... I went from being the oldest to a middle child. Definately confusing.
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Old 05-29-2008, 05:15 PM   #7
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Re: Interested in adoption and wanted some information

So glad you posted this.
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Old 05-29-2008, 09:36 PM   #8
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Re: Interested in adoption and wanted some information

Thanks for the information momto2boys07. I just felt this real calling to adopt an older child after seeing this website, and it is still kinda eating at me. I know that older kids could have some real issues, but honestly I'm hoping to do my research and just find some older kids who need a home and a family....not who have real issues that need to be taken care of. Everyone wants to adopt a baby, but not everyone wants groups of siblings and older kids. I know that there are many older children...especially groups of siblings, who never get adopted. That makes me sad, since I believe that every child deserves a family who will love them. I have a HUGE extended family, so my kids are very blessed. I know that there are more children out there who would just absolutely love being added to this crazy clan.

Anymore info would be wonderful, since I really do feel a calling to do this someday.
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Old 05-29-2008, 11:26 PM   #9
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Re: Interested in adoption and wanted some information

I was headed to bed, but I'll stop to post a little before I go there.

I will never adopt from the US-fostercare system again. And, since 99% of older child adoptions are via that system in the US, and since we only do older child adoptions, that means I cannot fathom any situation outside of a disrupted adoption where we would adopt domestically again.

I don't care what state you are adopting from, the US fostercare system is broken. Terribly broken. While there are certainly exceptions to the rules, I cannot tell you how many stories I have heard time and time again stating that the same nightmares we endured others endured as well. Families who took years to finalize for no reason other than social workers were jerking them around. Families who lost children, fought in court, who were treated like dirt for trying to love these children.

We had a horrific social worker who evidentally decided she hated us from the moment she learned of us. But, since she was in a state which will not TPR without an identified adoptive family, she waited until after TPR and placements steps were started before she attempted to stop the adoption. A mere 10 days before we finally brought our son home, and a full 2 days after she had told us she had purchased our tickets to come, she stood in front of a judge and committed outright purjury. She lied and said he could remain in his current fosterhome indefinitely, though the fostermother had given her notice the week before. She wanted to find other families. And, her stated problem with us from the get-go? We were too aggressive and she didn't feel we were 'team players'.

We adopted a dying child who lost YEARS of his life for the lousy care he recieved under the watch of Social Services. And, she was mad at us because we knew about his condition and his eventually outcome than she did.

Even now, though this woman was forcibly removed from the case, we live with the aftermath of her prejudice. I'm subjected to twice monthly post-placement visits, though that is unheard of and not required by law. I'm subjected not only having to deal with my case worker in my state, but having to endure constant phone visits from the new case worker in his home state, who acts as if she isn't recieving her post-placement reports she clearly is getting. I'm also subjected to a social worker employed by his GAL's office who calls monthly to check on him. That one is so familiar with his case, her last phone call she wanted to know if there were any medical issues with the child...a child with a terminal disease...nope, no medical issues at ALL with him.

I cannot consent for full medical care. I have to get a court order from a judge. And, to get that, I have to convince the main social worker in his home state that its necessary. Fortunately, his doctors do an excellent job of convincing for me. But, unless its life threatening, I still have to wait 2 weeks for a court order before we can do anything invasive medically.

I'm subjected constantly to scrutiny of our choices for his educational needs. Though I'm in constant coordination with the school system and his IEP coordinator, I have to provide her information to the social workers so anything I say can be confirmed with her. They provide no support in navigating his educational needs, but if they don't like what choices I make, they can intervene at any point and make me to it another way.

Simply put, this child is still not fully my own. And, he knows it. He knows what a social worker is. And, in his deep grief for his foster mother, he has more than once attempted to convince the social workers to send him back. Until we finalize this adoption, we can only be done at the mercy of the social worker in his sending state, I am merely a foster parent, though we took him as a pre-adoptive placement. I cannot make any choices for my son unless they agree to them. I cannot independently know what is best for my child and act upon it without the threat of someone overriding me...someone who met my son for all of 30 minutes, who doesn't know my son and who never will know my son. But, legally, she knows better than I do because she is his case worker and I am nothing yet.

I won't subject myself to this again. My children are my children. It is my responsibilty as a mother to make the choices that are right for them. Its my responsibility to fight for them, advocate for them and do what needs to be done for them regardless of what obstacles stand in the way. And, every attempt I make to claim *this* child, I am constantly reminded by women who hold Master's degrees but not the experience of actually mothering these children, that they somehow know better because they hold those degrees and I hold nothing.

As I said, I have heard more stories than I can possibly recount of others in the US foster-care system who have encountered obstacles exactly like ours. And, maybe if I hadn't done 2 international adoptions first, I would think this is the only way to do it. But, having twice held my child in my arms and known they were MINE, having twice seen social workers and government workers who were my ALLIES and not my enemies for the needs of my children, I know there is a different option out there than what I'm facing this time. I won't choose to subject myself and my family to this humiliation and power struggle in the future again.

As for adopting older children, make no mistake, it doesn't matter whether you adopt domestically or internationally. Older children come with fully formed personalities, and with a history that doesn't include you. For them to stand before you needing a family means they come with grief and pain and loss, and almost all older children have cognitive memories of at least some of that loss.

I know there's a myth some couples who adopt internationally tell themselves that international children are somehow less damaged than foster kids. Its a myth. Anything a child can endure in the US fostercare system, they can and do endure abroad as well And, there are others that are more typically unique to international adoptees especially when it comes to losing culture, language, familiar food, sounds, etc.

Older children have to be allowed to grieve their losses. They have to be allowed to find their footing in your home without the expectation that they will instantly reach to you and attach to you. They need you to be confident that you are in charge. Straight forward in what expectations are. But, also willing to work *with* them while they find their path into this family. Adoption older children is not so much about molding a personality but about blending personalities. Older children already have personalities. They already have definite likes and dislikes. And, they also have patterns of behavior that they have to learn need to be changed, and how they need to be changed for your family and home.

More than that, the biggest things my boys struggled with was the finality of our home. When you've already lost other caregivers, other homes and other places you felt safe, its much harder to believe you won't move again. And, lots of older kids will test you when you tell them this is forever. If they even understand forever, they often don't trust it.

Adoption experts say it takes at least 1 year for a new older child to settle into your home. They say its more common to take 2 years for such a child to integrate. And, its not outside the realm of normal to take as long as 5 years to fully integrate into your new family. For us, that's been a very accurate assessment. Our first took a year. Our second is finally starting to attach as he approaches his 3rd anniversary home. And, our third still cannot find an end in sight to his deep grieving, so I cannot tell you how long it will take to even get through that into attempting to integrate into this family.

All that said, I wouldn't change th course of my motherhood for anything in the world. While I love babies, I've been tremendously blessed to mother my boys. My heart, my life and my understanding what love is has expanded exponentially for the chance of loving and mothering these boys. There is something special about my boys who have had to overcome so much to learn to trust, to learn to let me love them and to be 'normal' as part of our family. If we hadn't gone down the path of older child adoptions, I might have been spared many rages, lots of new and sometimes shocking behaviors and more tears on all our parts than I could possibly count. But, I would also have lost out on the amazing things about mothering them as well. And, those things are priceless.

My main piece of advice when you adopt an older child is to prepare for the worst so you can be pleasently surprised when it doesn't happen. Rarely are these kids the worst case scenario. But, even if they are, if you prepared for those issues you aren't blindsided and react quickly to them. And, in most cases, when the worst doesn't happen, you can breath easier and feel confident in your relationships as they grow and strengthen.
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