When people consider growing their family by adoption, newborn adoption is normally what comes to mind first. This is a wonderful option, as there are plenty of babies who need a loving home. However, if you’re thinking about adoption, keep in mind that adopting a newborn is not your only option. Don’t forget about the thousands of children of other ages who are looking for a home and parents to love. Older children, as well as sets of siblings, offer as much joy and need as much love and care as newborn babies.
Considering Adopting an Older Child?
On average, a child has to wait three and a half years to be adopted. More than 28,000 children have waited for five years or more to be placed in a permanent home. These statistics are especially appalling, particularly when you consider the mental anguish that a child goes through when he/she feels unwanted. Since most families focus on babies to adopt, even small children and toddlers are significantly ignored in the adoption process. Teens and tweens are not exception; studies show that 25% of young people become homeless after transitioning from foster care. Instead of being paired with a nurturing family, many of these older children are left alone. This leads to a life that is aimless and possibly dangerous, since there is no parental guidance in the child’s life. While adopting a newborn may seem more appealing, it’s a great idea to consider adopting a child at any age if your main objective is to be a parent.
Statistics indicate that only 3% of the households in the U.S. have adopted three or more children. Except in the case of triplets, sets of siblings will include older children. Even if the children are close in age, a family could be looking at the prospect of adopting a newborn, a toddler and a child of pre-school age. Since these children are related by blood, it is usually in their best interest to stay together. However, adopting a newborn with siblings does not mean you can’t adopt the baby separately. But, if at all possible, adoption agencies encourage would-be parents to think about adopting related children together to facilitate their natural bond.
Should You Adopt a Newborn?
Are there benefits associated with adopting an older child as opposed to a newborn? That answer will vary depending on the parents looking to adopt. One of the benefits of adopting an older child is that the age range between the child and older adoptive parents. This may help the parents and child to form a bond faster. For example, a couple over 40 may fare better with a child that is over 5 years old. The child can communicate his/her needs and does not require quite as much tending to as a newborn would.
Some adoptive parents fear that bringing an older child into their home will be a significant challenge, since the child already has a developed personality that includes unfavorable traits or behavioral issues. Most people believe this obstacle can be avoided by adopting a newborn. It’s important to keep in mind that these learned behaviors may be a result of a traumatic experience or an environment that was not nurturing. The child will likely need extra care and affecting upon arriving in a new home. Negative behaviors in children can certainly be unlearned. Young people who have been through negative or abusive experiences in life need the same love and affirmation that a parent’s biological children would require. Providing this for adopted children will help to make them well-rounded, healthy and emotionally stable.
Newborn adoption is a wonderfully joyful experience. However, it’s essential that potential parents don’t overlook the toddlers and older children who need loving homes as well. These children have the same ability to light up and home and bring happiness to a family the way a newborn would. While adopting an infant is a great choice, parents should seriously weigh all their options when making the decision to raise a child.
This article was written by Bruce McKenna, who believes that adopting an older childcan be just as rewarding as newborn adoption .