Even though International Adoption is how we formed our family, it doesn’t mean it’s the path for everyone. Â I’m passionate about all ways of adoption, and I’m excited to share another story about foster care adoption.Â
Jen, thank you so much for the opportunity to share our story about the blessings of older child adoption during National Adoption Month.
Our road to parenthood started much like other young couplesâ€™ journey. But ours wouldnâ€™t end like theirs. We waited five years to start our family, and really felt a calling to be parents.
After deciding foster care adoption was the road we wanted to traverse, I approached gaining intelligence on the topic as if it was a matter of national security. I devoured every article I could find on the subject; I scoured every website that had information on older child adoption.
What I found was less than impressive. Judging by the lack of information, I feared we were the only young first-time parents trying to adopt an older rather than an infant or toddler. Some websites even labeled five-year-olds as â€œolder child adoptionsâ€ â€” I grew apprehensive, not because I felt adopting a school-aged child was something we couldnâ€™t handle, but because it felt like uncharted territory and I did not desire the role of trailblazer.
Still, we knew the calling on our life was to be parents â€” adoptive parents. And ultimately,Â herÂ parents.
The process to adopt an older child without fostering first, in many ways and in many states, is a bit easier than becoming foster parents. The amount of paperwork is much the same, but there are fewer inspections and courses to attend. No one checked if we had enough fire extinguishers, or evaluated the temperature of the milk in our fridge.
But, in turn, the process can also be longer. Older children who have been in the system for a while, as in the case of our daughter, may have had failed placements, and possibly failed adoptions. As a result, most agencies will advise, even mandate, taking it slow.
Our daughter was nine when we first saw her photo featured in a Heart Gallery display of available children. She was ten by the time we were approved to adopt her, and 11 by the time she legally became our daughter.
Weâ€™ve experienced the challenges of parenting a child who already had numerous parents and a variety of parenting styles, but what weâ€™ve learned is how much love older children need, and how uncovering their specific love needs can unlock a child. In the case of K, she needed physical affection, which didnâ€™t come naturally to me.
Once I got over my apprehension and gave her what she needed itâ€™s like a weight was lifted off her spirit and she started accepting love, accepting guidance and discipline, and is every bit the child we so desperately prayed for.
Itâ€™s been over a year since the adoption finalized and she is as much our daughter now as if we created her ourselves.
People always comment on what a â€œgood thingâ€ we did by adopting an older child. What they donâ€™t understand isÂ weÂ are the blessed ones. Sure her life is changed by now having a permanent family, but weâ€™re the lucky ones â€¦ what a blessingÂ sheÂ is toÂ us.
I blog about our journey to become a family and our day-to-day adventures as first-time parents of an almost teenager (gasp!). For more about our family and our story please visit ImmediateMom.com