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Adopting older or same age child as biological child


I would like to hear form anyone that has had experience adopting an older/same age child from the foster care system.

My husband and I debated adopting from foster care for four years.  We went through initial orientation and didn’t precede.  We are reconsidering again.  We have a 12yo daughter at home.  She is the youngest of our children;our three other children are grown and from ages 23-28. 

My concern always comes back to issue of sexual abuse.  I have a family member who her children were placed in foster care when they were toddlers due to neglect from mother’s alcohol/drug abuse.
While in foster care, the children were sexually abused.  When they returned home, the children perpetrated what they saw and had done to them on their baby brother who was born while they were in the system. 

Admittedly this is secondhand (rather 3rd) info from other family members.  But this thought that I could be endangering my own biological child has prevented me from adopting.

So I would like other opinions and views from those who have adopted children from the foster care system to join their biological children in the home already.

Replies

Many children are sexually abused, foster children or not. I believe the statistics are 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys has a sexual abuse incident. Not necessarily full intercourse it could be a lot of things. Anyhow most people who were sexually abused do not abuse others BUT most abusers were abused. So if 100 (I am making up the numbers) children are abused 3 may become abusers and 97 won’t.

You would have to be willing to have frank discussions with your daughter about telling you things. You could look carefully at the child’s history re physical abuse or sexual acting out. That being said there are no guarantees anywhere. She could go to a friend’s house and have the older brother do something.

I am sure many people who adopted from foster care can assure you they had no problems, others will say the opposite.

Why go older or same age? Why not go younger than her? The child could still have issues but she may fel less intimidated. or wait until she is up and out at 18 and adopt then.

Posted by Regina on Oct 08, 2017 at 10:48pm

There is certainly nothing stopping you from considering only girl, or only children younger than your child living at home.  Next, your headline indicates you want to consider adopting a child older than your youngest. Most child welfare professionals advise against it. Your birth daughter may, or may not resent her displacement in the birth order.
Lastly, iof you have delayed a decision on adoption for four years because you believe it places your child at high risk of sexual abuse, I wonder if you will ever be able to trust any child coming into your home. 
For that reason, I would recommend that you not adopt.
Your fear may be unfounded, but it is real, and that fear will unfairly cloud your judgement of any child.
Children deserve a home where they are accepted unconditionally, and I don’t think you can do that.

Posted by hdctx on Oct 08, 2017 at 11:24pm

you may want to consider adopting a legally free child from the foster system. most kids are adopted by their foster parents, but sometimes the foster parents aren’t able to adopt for various reasons and they will choose a different family. usually the kids have been in foster care for at least a couple years, which means that there is a pretty good history available on them. there will be reports from the school, foster parents caseworkers, and possibly therapists. you could ask if the child has a history of being sexually abused, and if the child has a history of abusing other kids. you would also have the chance to meet the child before he/she came to live with you and transition over several weeks. very different from traditional fostering that may lead to adoption; those are often emergency placements, where there is very little history known about the child and who arrive without any transition period. they do typically advise against adopting out of birth order or artificial twinning (adopting a child the same age as one already in the home) because that can really change the family dynamics in a negative way. I disagree that your fear is unfounded; it is true that most abused kids will not become abusers, but sadly many will. the safety of kids already in the home has to come first, whether they are biological, fosters, or adopted.

Posted by rn4kidz on Oct 09, 2017 at 1:21am

Thank you for the responses. 

hdctx - The age range we were thinking was between 9-14.  As for birth order, our daughter is the youngest of four which is why we are leaning towards same age or older - so the birth order would not change.

Also, it is not a fear, but a valid concern.  Yes, hearing the story from a family member did initially prevent me from moving forward 4 yrs ago, but it hasn’t for the 4 yrs.  We lost our home to a fire during this time, and have finally gotten things back to normal. 

I was not aware you could request background or case history on foster children.  If that is truth, it would definitely help.  We have decided to proceed and go through the training in our state.  For me it is always best to get information from the source. 

I was just wondering what others experience were with mixed homes of biological and adopted children.  We very much have enough room and love to expand our family.

Posted by missydee on Oct 09, 2017 at 1:27pm

Missydee, you can request background info on children who have been in the system for a while, and are legally free to adopt because their bioparents rights have been terminated. It is different for children who are newly entering foster care, with those kids you get very little information and then much of it isn’t accurate. It is easier and faster to be matched with a foster child, but if your goal is adoption and you are concerned about their background, then it might be worth waiting to find a legally free child who is a good fit with your family

Posted by rn4kidz on Oct 09, 2017 at 7:57pm

Thank you m4kidz.  I am looking to adopt through the foster care system, not foster-to- adopt.  When I went through the initial orientation before, they said the entire adoption process could take 4-10 months average for a child who is legally free to adopt.  I have heard from others in the area who were able to adopt from foster care in just a few months, but they had been approved for foster care first.  So I expect it to be closer to the 10 month mark.

Posted by missydee on Oct 10, 2017 at 12:20am

As someone who was sexually abused it hurts my heart people think sexual abuse victims are broken goods. I never acted out sexually. Never thought about it. I didn’t become an abuser. I see this a lot in foster parent groups and it makes me sad.

Posted by Charming_Ell on Oct 12, 2017 at 2:26am

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