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Adopting older children

Millions of children will spend their entire lives in an institution desperate for the love of a family, at any age they always hope that mama and papa will come for them.



One of the main arguments about international adoption is the idea that all adopters would like to give homes to babies and that the older children get left behind.  This is not true, there are many, many families that would love to give homes to older children, they may just not be aware that they can.


When you call the local social services and they ask you your age, the first thing that you will hear is that you are too old to adopt. The local social services seem to be completely ignorant to the fact that there are millions of older children who are desperate to have parents. 


Most countries have guidelines on the difference in age that there is between the adoptive parents and the child. This is to try to keep things as natural as possible. This is not saying that if you are over 45, for example, that you cannot means it is unlikely that you will be able to adopt a very young baby.  You will though be able to adopt a 5-year-old child and if you wish someone older.


There are quite a few scare stories saying that if you adopt an older child you are inviting in problems. Each adoption is different and in no way can one say categorically that this or that applies in inter-country adoption.  With all adoptions, there is settling in periods and with older children this may take longer than younger children, as after 7 they already have a sense of who they are and what is their position in the world. There are a multitude of positive older adoption stories. With a sensitivity to the needs of the child, concerted efforts to communicate in either language, an understanding of the possible fear issues the child may have, patience, support and tolerance will lead to effective parenting of older children.  Open communication between parent and child, seeking of professional support if needed, will aid in reaching the ideal mutual outcome.


Most children overseas who are available for adoption have spent the whole of their lives an institution. They possibly come into a baby home and then move to a children's home where they will stay from about 4 to 16.  In this respect they have had security but not individual attention and love.  This will bring in issues different from adopting out of a foster care system where the children have had multitude foster parents and get moved from one home to another. There have been no academic studies into the overall effects of one system over another, neither is perfect and neither are with care insurmountable, no matter what social services conventional wisdom dictates.


Older children are so often forgotten. For the whole of their childhood they dream of having and mama and papa, only to age out of the system without knowing the love and security that a family can offer. These children all need homes and  hope for the future. If you are an older parent please consider giving hope to an older child.


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