Once adoptive parents begin to look into adoption, sometimes they find that the more they learn, the more God opens their hearts to the needs of children who are older. The desire to adopt a brand new baby changes into a desire to be parents to a child who needs them, and whom they are prepared to meet the needs of. This can happen in the education phase of adoption, or after a family has done outreach and advertising and is just tired of waiting. It can also happen with an opportunity of an older child just dropping into your lap.
Typically, older child adoptions fall into different types:
Currently Living With Birth Family
In these scenarios, the child is living with the birth mother or other relatives who have come to realize that adoption may be in the child’s best interest. It will usually be handled as a private adoption, through attorneys or agency if state requires. It is vital that you ensure whomever you are speaking with has legal rights to place the child for adoption and that they have a birth certificate and medical/school records available for you to review.
Living With a Foster Family
These children are usually some of the “waiting” children shown on state’s websites or distributed to waiting families via other methods. You can usually adopt a waiting child in another state, and don’t typically have to be a licensed foster parent, although you do need a home study. Often the state will pay most, if not all, of the adoption costs.
Living in a Group Home
These may be even older children or those with needs that are greater than a foster family is prepared to handle. If you are looking at a child in a group home, ensure you ask why the child is in a group home and get medical and any psychiatric records.
When considering an older child, try to go and meet them and spend some time first. Ensure you have all of the medical records, school records, immunization records, and psychiatric records. Don’t be afraid to request a medical or counseling visit while you are there visiting, although you may need to be prepared to pay for it.
Also, be sure you find a support group and good counseling once your adoption is done and you are back home. Your whole family will benefit from this added support.