We are a family with five children—three by birth and two by adoption (although we’re in the process of adopting once more!). Our adoptions were through our state’s Fost/Adopt program. I’m interested in hearing from other families who have gone the same route—and whose children were “older” when they first came to you. Ours were 10 and 12, fitting into the family between our birth children, who were 19, 14, and 8 at the time. Did things go smoothly for you? Have there been unexpected challenges?
We have 4 bio children ages 29 to 17. We have been foster parents off and on for 25 years. we received 2 african american children boy 5 girl 3 had them one month and they went back to mom. We got them back a couple of months later had them 7 and 1/2 months and they went back again. We got them back again have had them 3 years this time. We adopted them through our DFS in May 2009 the boy is 8 1/2 and the girl is 6 1/2. The road was full of obstacles, and even though they have been in our home for awhile we are just learning to be a family. I am ready to go down the adoption road again but I think we will use a private agency to adopt a older child. We have been looking at profiles for about 2 months now. We are very excited to expand our family once again.
You are adopting an older child through a private agency? Your first children were through the state, right?
We are licensed foster parents, and have twin three year olds through international adoption. We have wanted to expand our family and were looking to foster-to-adopt, but have yet to find a child that wouldn’t be a major threat to our girls.
How does it work with a private agency and older children?
We adopted two of our daughters through Fost/Adopt, and are going that way again now. We used a local private agency and are using them again—for the home study and matching process. But the way it works, is that once you’ve been matched with a child (or have found that child on your own and the caseworkers agree it’s a match), you end up dealing with the county workers for that child. When you say you haven’t found a child that isn’t a ‘major threat’ to your daughters, I’m not sure what you mean… In our state, once parents are licensed to adopt, every listing of children available to adopt through the state is open to our perusal. We go to the agency whenever we want—listings are updated every months—and browse the database of kids who are to be placed for adoption. We’re able to put in ‘parameters’—limiting our search to the sort of child we’re seeking. One can specify age, gender, race, ‘challenges’ or disabilities acceptable… and that immediately limits the pool of children available. It should be fairly simple, in that way, for you to limit your own search to children who would not pose any threat to your girls. Good luck with your search!
We adopted our girls through foster to adopt through a local agency and they were 4 & 6 when they came home. We have had some issues, mainly the issues the girls have been facing, PTSD, anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, tantrums, fits, etc. But it’s been about 15 mos now and things have settled down really well. We didn’t start out wanting to adopt older children but we were drawn to our girls and decided it was the way we were meant to be a family. So, we have challenges, and things we face, but for the most part it’s been a great experience. Good luck!!
I have a foster child whom is place for preadoptive placement 8 months now. He is very very very difficult and wasnt when we first met him. (he was but we didnt see it of course as we didnt live with him). He is now showing signs of severe Reactive Attachment Disorder, ADHD, severe anxiety, he picks at himself, has spread infection due to nervousness all over himself, cant function fully really and does not follow direction, rules and when he does it is with full nervousness and anxiety and is quite nervewracking to be around all day every day. He does not respond and does not look at you or look up and functions as a small child and regresses, pees in his pants etc. I do not say this to be negative but to suggest that all of things i mentioned above were not told to us (although it was all in his file and he did all of this with all the other homes he was in) and we are learnign all of this as time goes on being off the “honeymoon” phase.
This is just a word of advice, with older children, confirm in writing ALL diagnoses and symptoms and history and discuss FULLY prior to placement. They, not all, many are very very difficult if removed numerous times. and be careful with other children in the home especially biological as it affects them greatly. My girls want him removed at times….and cry.
There are many positive stories but noone tells you the negative stuff when doing adoption thye just want them out of system…...
We did adopt our first children through the state. We are a very small rural community and do not have many foster/adopt children placed, that is why we are choosing a private agency this time. We look at all the state wide listings and can even look at other states. We are wanting the perfect fit for our family so it is taking a little time as we look through profiles. If it is part of Gods plan for us I know it will happen in his time just like our first two. It is a little over whelming when you start looking at profiles to think there are that many children out there that don’t have familys, don’t be discouraged. God Bless you on your journey
Silvstar, you have my sympathy. It must be very hard indeed to feel there was not full disclosure regarding problems… and to have to deal with them as they unfold, and as they affect everyone in the family—coming as surprises. In our own experience with fost/adopt, I have to say that we felt our private agency () AND the county agency the children came from both handled disclosure very thoroughly indeed. We first read the narrative about our girls that had been written by their caseworker, then were shown their full profile including parents’ background—extensive!—before we considered ourselves a match. Before we had even our first visit, we were able to speak with the children’s teachers, therapists, CASA workers, and foster parents. Before they’d been with us a month, we were also given all the court reports, etc. etc. , medical records, famiy halth histories, and more. This is not to say there have not still been a few surprises (!) because as the years go by and the children grow up, their past affects them differently, and things that weren’t issues before can become issues. But we still feel that we were fully informed with all the information out there that anyone knew about our children, and it has been an excellent match. Your situation is a really difficult one, and at times you probably wonder whether you should finalize the adoption. We took heart from the social worker who reminded us that we were adopting because we wanted to be our children’s PARENTS, not to ‘save them,’ or be their therapists, doctors, or guardian angels—or anything else we felt unprepared to be. If we felt that caring for any particular child required more than we were up to as PARENTS, then that wasn’t the right match. And now, as we prepare to adopt again, we are looking at the listings and wishing we could take care of all the children needing homes… but we remind ourselves that we are PARENTS, not miracle workers. There are some children who would simply be too much for us—or for our other children—but maybe would not seem as challenging for another family with different parenting skill sets, talents, tolerances! We remind ourselves often that we are who we are, and we try our best, and that has to be enough. Good luck to you and your family.
We to had all the information on the kids that we got, we went through file after file, it was nice to have that information, but all the diagnosis seem bigger and worse on paper than what our kids are actually like. We do have issues but nothing so far that would stop me from doing this again. We want to love them and give them all we can to help them be all they can be. There are are no guarantees, but then there are no guarantees with our bio children either.
Silverstrar. I too sympathize with you, I fell in love with an 8yo boy I found in another state on a national website, fought very hard to get him here, only to find out there had not been full disclosure about him, and we went through a very rough time. He is now 11 and in a residential treatment facility, with very little change, if anything his behaviors have escalated. I still tried to make this work allowing him weekend and holiday visits, but he threatened to kill my unborn grandchild, who is now 5mo and lives with me, and I had to let go. This is very hard I do love him and feel so bad, we are the only real family he has known and now that will be taken from him I am devasted. This really hurts, and I know he hurts more
Not all older child adoptions are troubled. Out of 11 children we adopted only 4 were babies, the rest range in age from 3 to 17. We have a 12 yo boy that we got when he was 2 1/2 that we have alot of trouble with. He has been hospitalized two times. We are almost ready to give up on him. He steals, lies, fights with siblings and starts fires. He has been diagnosed as Bi-polar, ADHD and PTSD. Other than him, we don’t have many problems with the rest of our children. They have all come from abusive, neglected homes. All they want is a place to call home with a loving family. If you are considering an older child just remember the past they may have come from and help give them time to heal and don’t expect to bond with them right away but give them the space and time to bond with you. Even though we have so many problems with our 12 yo we still love him very much and hope for the best for him.
Our son was a foster placement only, and our first 6 month with him was terrible. We are Treatment foster parents. But, I refused to give up on him. I though we had to work on all these issues for him to someday be adoptable. Over the year, I realized that he was much too fragile to ever adjust to another family and we decided to persue adopting him. Things are going great right now, at least compared to life with him before. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ARE COMARING YOUR CHILD TO. I can not expect him to sucseed in every situation my birth children can be in, even though I would love that to be the case. Time is expanding his capibilities in every way, social, educational, and emotional
I have one daughter that I adopted as a newborn, and would like to adopt another child from foster care. My question is Do I have to be a foster parent in order to adopt? or can I ask to be notified when children are available to be adopted and try to pick a match for our family that way? I do realize I have to go through the home study process and perhaps foster parent training.
Hello! In our state (CA) fost/adopt works this way: you tell your agency you want to adopt from the foster care system. The certification process takes a little time (paperwork, homestudy, clearances) but doesn’t cost anything (except the CPR course, fingerprints, etc.). Once you are certified, your adoption coordinator will keep her eye out for good matches for you, and you are also free to go as often as you like to your agency to look at the listings from their special online database. When a child is matched to you, you are legally the foster parents until the adoption is completed… but you are not ordinary foster parents—in that everyone understands you are adopting. Fostering is just part of the process, so that the child can legally be able to live with you while the adoption process is wending its way through the courts. While you’re a foster parent you get paid just like any other foster parent would! And have visits from social workers, etc. BUT you are not fostering kids who are passing through the system; you are ONLY fostering your own child. (that is, unless you also want to foster kids in the usual way—offering a safe home until they can be reunified with their parents.)
I understand the process of fost/adopt is similar in other states. Hope this clears things up for you. Good luck!
I think the size of town you’re in matters a lot when you’re considering adopting through foster care. In larger cities there are more children freed for adoption living in foster families that don’t plan to adopt. In our town, almost all foster families are adoptive families. Children become freed while they are in foster care in the home they will remain in. We asked specfically to be placed with children “legally at risk”. That meant that the agency had already worked with both birth parents for about 18 months and had determined that they would file permanent neglect and termination of parental rights. It also meant that the children had already been placed in foster care (albeit with extended family members). They were removed over and over again from inappropriate placements. We were their 6th stop. There is less stress about whether or not the children will be returned “home” in a situation like this, BUT the children have had that much more chaos to live through. If I had it to do over again, I might have wanted to be a support to my children along the way, taking the risk that might be returned. It’s better for them I think.