Has anyone here ever adopted an older child?

ccoombs1March 17, 2009

I am no where ready to make a decision yet, but DH and I have talked about it off and on for several years. I have two kids that are grown and moved out (but still live on our acerage with their spouses). I am nearly 51 and DH is disabled (chronic severe back pain for which he takes a lot of prescription narcotics on a daily basis). We were foster parents to young kids many years ago. But lately we have been talking about opening our home to an older teen....like one who is 15 or older. Are we nuts? Are we inviting trouble? There are just so many kids who have been in the system for years and they just want a family to call their own. I was browsing through our state's "available children" web site yesterday and saw a 15 year old boy who caught my attention. He's bi-racial, loves gardening and landscaping (a kid after my own heart), seems a little nerd-ish, loves animals, and wants a family. We have space in our house and in our hearts, but would be be complicating life too much? I think this is something I would like to do, but I am just so unsure. Once it's done, it's not a decision we can change. Does anyone out there have any words of wisdom for me?


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One of my sisters adopted a 14 year old about four years ago and everything is working out just fine. Her husband is in his 50s and she is late 40s. They were warned by their friends and some family members that this could end up being more of a headache, but I am glad they went with their first instincts.

I think it is wonderful that you want to give a teen a new life.

Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 2:40PM
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You are bringing tears to my eyes! I think it's an admirable thing to want to make an impact on someone's life in such a dramatic way. I admire you completely. You and your husband will be in thoughts. Good luck.

(I'm not a teen, but I could use a mom!) Just kidding...

Good luck, Kris

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 10:17PM
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Do come back and share your thoughts with us. Like Kris, I think this is wonderful. There are way too many kids out there with no one to give them the extra special care and attention they need.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 8:22PM
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Cindy - You're actually way too young to be my mom. Also, I realized i said I admired you and you were wanting to do an admirable thing - not enough adjectives!

I was thinking more about this. I think if your husband is for it, and you expect you can handle the majority of things if you need to due to his circumstances, then you should try it. The downside is the unknown as to what sort of special help any child would need due to their previous life circumstances. Anyway, I have been thinking about this and wanted to share. K

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 7:13PM
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Thanks for the input and support. DH is actually the one that thought about this from the beginning. I was totally against the idea. But the more I think about it, the more I like the idea. It's not something I can do right now because our house was a DIY build and we only finished one of the bedrooms so we could get moved in. Once I finish the master bedroom, we will have the space for a child.

kris, you hit on the biggest fear I have about this. What if the child seems great until the papers are signed and then all sorts of horrible issues show up? I will have no way of knowing what this child has been through before coming to us (the local children's services office are not always honest). I have a young grandson to think about (he lives on our property with his parents), plus other grandkids will not be too distant future. I would not want to take a child and have it not work out. Like I said before, once this decision is made, it's final. So I will continue to think about this, read up on it, find some adoption forums, etc to get a better handle on the whole idea. I wish I wasn't so chicken! lol!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 8:23AM
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Find out as much as you can, and visit with the child you are interested in adopting. There are no guarantees in life as you well know, and the same way you could end up with an adopted child that is more trouble than you wanted, is the very same you could have with a biological child.

I have a friend right now that is dealing with some serious issues regarding her biological son. Sometimes she thinks she would have been better off adopting. He has a mental illness and has been causing serious problems for she and her other children. It's hard to know. You may very well end up with a future President, lawyer, doctor, writer, teacher...

The girl my sister adopted is studying to be a Vet. Who would have thought? She came from an awful drug addict background. Her mother has been in and out of rehab. Her father disappeared years ago, and her uncle was in jail several times. Her brother is a delinquent, yet she is going on to becoming someone productive. I'd like to think my sister is responsible for saving this child.

Think it out, and do your homework but don't let these fears keep you away from someone who could probably add more to you life than you could imagine. That's what my sis said to tell you :-)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 5:22PM
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We adopted a 10 & 13 yr. They came from a very dysfunctional situation so going in we knew there would be problems.
Through it all we feel blessed and have never been sorry in spite of the difficult times. Good luck with your decision.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 10:41AM
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Hi Cindy, Glad to know your husband was onboard, but I think you're right to take your time and think it all through. Good luck, and I'll keep you in my prayers.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 11:37PM
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Can you foster-adopt? Foster for a while, and if its a good fit for everyone involved, then adopt?

I think you and your husband are amazing for even considering it. :)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 3:33PM
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Hubby and I came together late in life (in our early/mid 40's). Due to that and a huge host of other reasons, we will never have children of our own. We talked seriously about adopting an older child or two, to the point where I was looking at the sites and contacting some of the local adoption groups.

Unfortunately, our life has taken on other responsibilities that make this an impossibility. Hubby's Mom has (probably terminal) metastatic thyroid cancer. Hubby's Dad is incapable of managing things on his own. Hubby's brother (who currently lives with Mom and Dad) is seriously mentally ill and has physical disabilities as well. He requires pretty much round the clock supervision. As their culture is to take care of everything at home and only with family, our lives will be spent "parenting" them.

It breaks my heart to know that Hubby and I will never get to be parents, that we will never get to see a child grow and thrive under our care. But this is the hand we've been dealt so we just have to do the best we can.

On a practical note, at least out here in CA there are special programs for adopting older/special needs children. You get a lot more support and there is actually a mandatory "trial period".

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 5:48PM
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Again....I really do appreciate all the advise and input. pbrisjar, I am so sorry you will never be able to parent a child. Maybe you could get involved in a big brothers/big sisters program? You can still impact a child's life even if you are not responsible for raising them.

melanie1422, fostering is something we would do for sure prior to this. We were foster parents when our kids were little so we have only had little foster kids. But fostering an older one would certainly be a good idea, especially if the child we foster is available for adoption. It's heartbreaking fostering a child who is not available and to keep and love the child for a year or two. And then to see the state give the child back to unfit parents. It's really, really hard. That's the reason we quit doing it.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 7:55AM
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Perhaps once Mom passes. But I doubt even then. Our time is so consumed by family duties that I don't even have time to do a decent house cleaning. Maybe one day in the far future.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 1:42PM
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