one of the most frequent questions i get asked is what it is like to adopt older children. i will make this a series of post to answer a few questions. every adoption is different and my story won't be your story. but i feel a need to speak on behalf of the older children that are so often forgotten or unwanted. let's be honest, the majority of families looking to adopt are looking for that perfect little baby that will make all their dreams come true. unknowingly i was this person before we started our adoption journey but God changed my heart before he told us the time was now. we face this alot when we first started walking the adoption journey. we were only one of 2 couples out of 15 couples that were not adopting due to infertility. i've talked to several couples that want that child that looks like them and will be everything they have ever dreamed of in a child. and that isn't bad. a child's being adopted into a loving family and that is amazing. but what if there is more? what if it is not about making all MY dreams come true? what if i put myself in a situation that requires more of me than i could give on my own?
we were on the infant adoption journey for over a year before we switched to foster-adoption. when we started thinking about adoption we felt God tugging on our heart that adoption wasn't about completing our family or making all our dreams come true. if we were truly following God's lead in our adoption journey then we would go wherever he lead us no matter the result. at that time he lead us to foster adoption. the question that kept running through my head was "why would we continue to wait on an infant waiting list with hundreds of other couples when there are over 100,000 kids in the foster care system just waiting to be adopted?" we were open to whatever God had for us. "multiply there [in the city], and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:6-7). never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined him leading us to 4 amazing boys ages 2, 8, 9, and 12 at the time.
yes you can adopt older children through both international adoption and through the foster care system. i have experience with older children through the foster care system so that's what i'll write about. i've been that stereotypical person that assumed that older children in the foster care system meant they did something awful like stole something, went to jail, had a record of some sort, and failed miserably at school. wow, what a fool i was. most kids no matter the age enter the foster care system because of nothing that they did but because of their home situation. this doesn't make them "bad". but they do come broken just like we all do. people will often dismiss foster-adoption because of those kids that "might" be bad and it is too hard. well my question to them would be SO WHAT? does the "might" overpower the God that we serve? so what if they might be bad? so what if it might be hard and require more of you than you think you can give? if your own biological child did something wrong or "bad" would you toss them to the side? the Bible tells us over and over again that our obedience to Go is not based on the results or what other people will think or say of us. we don't adopt so a child will love us and be grateful that we "saved" them. why am i so often looking for life to be easy and comfortable. i'm going to believe God who says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13).
there are a lot of benefits to older child adoption: shorter wait, miss the baby stage and straight into sharing some of the same interests and kids that can already help around the house. however, bonding takes a lot of effort, it's a learn as you go process because every kid is different, they require more "un-teaching" before you can teach, and there can be a some catching up with educational stuff. going from 0 kids to having 3 in school was one of my biggest adjustments. it was hard to jump into a school system and do all the the stuff that is required with school age children (homework, teachers, field trips, fundraisers, sports, to name a few).
well that is it for this post. more to come soon. do not forget, that if you have questions you would like answered, send them my way. God bless!