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Are You Considering Adopting An Older Child?

Adopting an older child is a life-affirming way to expand your family. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, at least 20,000 teens age out of the foster care system after not being adopted, or not rejoining their birth family. This means that at least 20,000 children and young adults never find their forever family. If you’re considering welcoming an older child into your home, there’s a great deal of information about the process. 

Older child adoptions are defined as such when the adoptees are elementary age to age 21. In many states, when an older child is being adopted they are actively a part of the process. While states have different laws and regulations, a few states allow adoptee consent as early as ten years old. In some cases, the process requires the consent of the adoptee. Being able to share in this memory with your child will be special (and rare!). It also, maybe for the first time ever, will give your child decision-making opportunities in their own lives. This can be extremely empowering. 

Children that are adopted and welcomed into a stable environment are more likely to blossom in an educational setting. Additionally, children that are over 13 when they are adopted have access to special education assistance programs. They vary by state—find the laws and regulations in yours. Additionally, you and your family could qualify for special services such as: mental health counseling, disability aid, health insurance, and more. 

All children, of every age, should be able to find stability and a family who loves and enables them to make positive decisions in their own life. We especially love this story, about a family who planned to adopt a baby, but then found that older adoption child was an incredible and powerful experience that was right for them. 

To learn about resources available to adoptees and their families, visit Adoption Star’s Adopt an Older Kid (A-OK) program. We also find a lot of value in this piece from Nightlight, which expels common myths about older child adoption, and potentially some of the fears you may have yourself. 

Image via fosteradoption.com