Adopting a school age child?

[deleted account] ( 17 moms have responded )

Hi, I am joining this group in hopes of some advice or stories that will help us make a better decision. My husband and I have 1 daughter, Kadyn Star, who we adopted at birth through a domestic adoption. Kadyn is biracial. She is now 4.5 years old and dying for a sibling. We would love to add another to our family but unsure how we can afford another domestic adoption. We have been looking at Minnesota's Waiting Children program and beginning to take the courses and work with an agency to start this process. We would love to have a child who is younger than Kadyn but it does not sound like that is possible with this program. Most likely the child we would get would be of school age (6-18yrs.). I am wondering if any of you have adopted an older child with a younger one already in the home. How did it go? Our daughter is still pretty young and not sure she would take too long to adjust but curious if others have done this.
Thanks for reading and sharing.

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Joanna - posted on 09/11/2009

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We have adopted a grand total of 6 children. All of our adoptions were through the state. Our first adoption was a 3-year-old boy. Two years later we adopted 4- and 6-year-old sisters. Three years later we adopted a 7-year-old boy, 10-year-old boy, and an 11-year-old girl. All of these children are considered special needs kids. We deal with RAD, severe ADHD, MR, etc. We had problems for about 4 months with the children. They had some severe anger and depression issues. They have now been with us for over a year and are doing fabulous. We wouldn't do anything different. Once the kids became familiar with the rules and routines, our family melded together. We had a lot of concerns about adopting older children as did our family, but life is great!



FYI - all state adoption agencies will tell you that they have only the older kids. They have the younger ones as well, you just have to be patient. Good luck with your decision!

[deleted account]

My advice....do foster care. Even though it may seem more enticing to adopt from the state and you may not want to go thru the waiting phase of the foster care system it is for the best most of the time. We became foster parents to 2 children, brother and sister. We ended up adopting the boy and the girl was placed in a treatment home after 2 yrs of being with us because her needs were huge. We still keep in contact with her and she is actually going to move back with us soon. Long story. But I would absolutely recommend doing foster care first because many times you can have a child placed with you that is a newborn or toddler. Any of these kids will have needs because of their biological makeup which is usually not so good unfortunately, however, with foster care you have more time to determine if it is a fit for your family. The waiting game is hard to play and taking them to visits with parents that you know should not get them back is hard also. But in the end it is worth it. There is so much more I could say here but not enough room. I would just be aware that the state has the children that did not work out in foster homes most of the time and there is a reason for that. Hope this helps. On a side note.....our adopted son is an awesome kid and he was 6 yrs old when he came to live with us. He came from an abusive background and yet he is amazing. There are wonderful kids out there that just need a stable loving home. Don't be scared off just educate yourself so you can be the best at the job because it is a demanding one! God bless and good luck!

Margie - posted on 08/08/2009

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We have had a sibling group since November as foster children. They are 2 and 5. In June, we had an adoptive placement of sibling boys ages 9 and 10. All four kids love each other, but they are definitely trying to figure out their pecking order and disrupted birth order. The two youngest are having the easiest time, while the two oldest (the 5 and 10 yo) have a major rivalry going on. It took months for the 10 yo, who has a cognitive disability, to finally admit to the fact that the 5 yo was also 'firstborn,' a title he harps about all the time.



Our boys have been in the system for over 5 years, and we are home number 6. They are amazing. They have their issues, mostly cognitive, learning problems, but are for the most part typical, affectionate, sweet, well-behaved boys. We found them on AdoptUSKids, and they actually were within the same agency and less than an hour away. Transitional visits are extremely important and finding out as much as possible about them as you can. At times I am upset that I don't feel the agency shared with us how delayed they are. Now that they live with us for more than just a day or two at a time, I see just how much work we have cut out as far as education and such goes, but I have a lot of hope.

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Jessica - posted on 12/02/2009

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Not sure where you are in this.... or anyone else... We have a 5 year old birth son and recently adopted a 9 and 11 year old. It has been a wonderful experiance but I think it is all in the child you are matched up with. We feel blessed to have been chosen for the children we got. The kids have ADHD, Anxitey, an attachment disorder (not full blown RAD), PTSD. We have our good days and bad. My 5 year old only knows them as his brother and sister (we got them when he was 4.5). We have a lot of issues with Lieing with our 9 year old but I wouldn't trade him for the world! I would love to meet other moms who have adopted school aged children to discuss any parenting stratigies - What works and what doesn't....

Karolyn - posted on 08/30/2009

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My husband and I adopted a 9 yr old who has been very challenging we, also adopted a 5 yr old who is a delight. It depends on the child. KNOW EVERYTHING YOU CAN about the child you are adopting, this helps when discipline and behavior issues arise. I have 4 adopted children all adopted at different times in their lives and each one is a blessing, but you MUST know what you are getting into before making any commitments.

[deleted account]

I forgot to add that our daughter (adopted) was/is diagnosed with RAD, but has mostly improved with the stability that adoption brings. You will see a difference in the children when they go from foster child to adopted child. We love our daughter completely and wouldn't trade her for the world. But after saying that, she does not always relate well with her peers, and does not like when other children stay with us, we still foster other children. Research each child and if you decide to adopt another child, commit yourself completely. Each child is unique. God Bless.

Sandy - posted on 07/23/2009

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We adopted 3 sibling girls who were in foster care last year. Our biological son is 3 yrs younger than them. We are all great. I have no real problems with the family. We do have the usaul sibling rivalry but otherwise we are all happy.

[deleted account]

My husband and I are licensed therapeutic foster parents, which means 90% of the children placed with us are over 10 years old, and considered "at risk". Losely that means these kids are usually abused and suffer from any degree of ADHD, PTSD, RAD, ODD, and most of the alphabet. We have had 12 kids within the past 6 years, (adopted our 8 year old daughter last november, and she was/is RAD), and there were only 2 we were glad to see leave. You need to be completely selfless and open for the abuse the kids share with you as the mother figure. I would recommend that you do foster care first, before committing to adopt a challanging child, but do it for the right reason. Looking for a sibling/playmate for your child will most likely not work out. The new child moving in will be very jealous and demanding of your time, and may not be willing to share with your child. Pray, research, pray, and foster first. God bless you.

Lynn - posted on 03/28/2009

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My husband and I adopted a 10 year old now 11. We have had her for about a year and a half. She has had several diagnosis' ADHD, Bi-polar, Oppositonal Defiance Disorder, Mood Disorders. You name it she seems to have it. She was abused and has endured alot of trauma. Like some of the mom's have suggested really research what you are getting into. It is alot to handle. We don't have any other children. My husband located her on a state website and we went out of state to check into it. They told us that this was their last hope she had been in several foster homes before. We sometimes have regrets which is sad but it is a huge challenge.

Lacey - posted on 02/21/2009

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reactive attachment disorder and attachment disorder i don't think can be helped by meds and they are very difficult children. there is a great need for older children to be adopted. we are getting ready to adopt a 16 year old girl but we have known her for a a couple of years. she lived with me as a foster placement before i got married. i am confident in our relationship though. i would say to just take it slow and be cautious.



my greatest advice is to find out as much about the child that you are considering. there are many kids that would probably transition well while others don't. read their profile about placement history and behaviors. take into consideration the birth parents mental health. i am not saying that all children don't deserve to be adopted but you don't want to be blindsided later on.



a big thing is that you plan for when the child moves in. talk to your spouse about what you expect and what you are willing to put up with. have set rules and boundaries with consequences and earning priviledges. foster kids usually have learned to play parents to get what they can. they will do what they have to in order to get survival and validation. it takes a lot of consistency to get through the difficult times. you have to remember as well that you may not see the difficult side until six months to a year in.



if you do end up with a child that has reactive attachment disorder or attachment disorder remember that they do not respond to "normal" discipline and therapy. remember as well that how well did the therpaist now the child when they diagnosed them. there are many diagnosis that resemble other diagnosis. as much as some of these children have been through how do we know what the true problem is.

Vanessa - posted on 02/08/2009

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have they ever tried any medication for your sons mood swings or for depression

Sheri - posted on 02/06/2009

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Hi.  So glad i found this network.  I have 4 biologicial children and we are foster parents through State of CT.  We fostered several children from birth and all have gone after a long or short period except one baby whom we just adopted at almost 2 in November.  We had another foster child whom we had placed in our home in October to November and we just thought he had severe behavior issues.  Well long story short, we did not want him to leave but he went to respite while we went away (they recommended we take child we were adopting away to enjoy adoption) and he was placed permanently with a friend of mine whom did respite for us (not by our choice) we were very disappointed and did not want the removal.  However, he had severe issues and we just found out this week that my "friend" asked for the removal of him and he is less than 3 years old.  He was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder.  My husband at this point does not want him to come back after what system did and also with this diagnosis with another 2 year old in home and we have other siblings.  My children were all very traumatized by the behavior of the child with this Attachment behavior .  He kicked, bite, threw things across room(like a high chair) screamed half the day, broke doors down and if you looked at him he was the cutest little boy could be out of a baby gap cover.  on the inside he was just awful......we still loved him and were willing to unconditionally love him.....my friend did not handle it and removed him immediately.  my point is from home to home they do not change and i was sooooooooooo patient, loving and it never changed his behavior except a tiny bit.  AND he was only 2 1/2.  It is a big responsibiility with other children in home and they end up with behavior issues and act out......It is not a calling for everyone........but if it is, and you do adopt God Bless You for that.......these kids need homes....I am attempting to adopt another child who is almost 9 and i am going to make sure he does not have that diagnosis......if he does we cant do it, he isnt violent i dont think so i have to research it as i havent'.  I recommend the State to which you live in for adoption - State of CT for instance - you do not need ONE PENNY to adopt - they pay for all costs and they pay for all children who were adopted for 100 percent of college, room and board and they pay all medical and dental til they are 18.  Many times they also pay a financial stipend if they are "minorities" as STate references and have any issues.  Not a penny......they pay you to help these children instead of you farming out approximately 40,000......

Sheri - posted on 02/06/2009

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Hi.  So glad i found this network.  I have 4 biologicial children and we are foster parents through State of CT.  We fostered several children from birth and all have gone after a long or short period except one baby whom we just adopted at almost 2 in November.  We had another foster child whom we had placed in our home in October to November and we just thought he had severe behavior issues.  Well long story short, we did not want him to leave but he went to respite while we went away (they recommended we take child we were adopting away to enjoy adoption) and he was placed permanently with a friend of mine whom did respite for us (not by our choice) we were very disappointed and did not want the removal.  However, he had severe issues and we just found out this week that my "friend" asked for the removal of him and he is less than 3 years old.  He was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder.  My husband at this point does not want him to come back after what system did and also with this diagnosis with another 2 year old in home and we have other siblings.  My children were all very traumatized by the behavior of the child with this Attachment behavior .  He kicked, bite, threw things across room(like a high chair) screamed half the day, broke doors down and if you looked at him he was the cutest little boy could be out of a baby gap cover.  on the inside he was just awful......we still loved him and were willing to unconditionally love him.....my friend did not handle it and removed him immediately.  my point is from home to home they do not change and i was sooooooooooo patient, loving and it never changed his behavior except a tiny bit.  AND he was only 2 1/2.  It is a big responsibiility with other children in home and they end up with behavior issues and act out......It is not a calling for everyone........but if it is, and you do adopt God Bless You for that.......these kids need homes....I am attempting to adopt another child who is almost 9 and i am going to make sure he does not have that diagnosis......if he does we cant do it, he isnt violent i dont think so i have to research it as i havent'.  I recommend the State to which you live in for adoption - State of CT for instance - you do not need ONE PENNY to adopt - they pay for all costs and they pay for all children who were adopted for 100 percent of college, room and board and they pay all medical and dental til they are 18.  Many times they also pay a financial stipend if they are "minorities" as STate references and have any issues.  Not a penny......they pay you to help these children instead of you farming out approximately 40,000......

Chanequa - posted on 02/05/2009

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I'm glad you raised this issue. I have similar questions. We have a 7-month-old that we adopted through a private domestic adoption. We've always planned to adopt from the state system in a few years. However, I've also been thinking about the fact that a later sibling will likely be older than our son. Although I think that this could work out just fine, I worry that it could be a difficult adjustment for either child (but probably moreso for the older one). I'm curious too about whether others have had experience with this.

By the way, I have a few friends who were raised in foster care and adopted when they were older. And they've turned out fabulously. A friend adopted as a teenager just finished a master's degree and is a minister. And on the flip side, most individuals with severe physical, psychological, or developmental issues were raised by their biological parents.

Carol - posted on 02/04/2009

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Hi,  We are actually thinking of adopting an older child ourselves.  We have a ten year old and a seven year old who were adopted as babies.  We want to add to our family and are looking to adopt from birth to six years old.  We are scared, as we have heard stories of absolute horror of adopting an older child.  We will be thinking of you, and hoping that all works out well. 

Natalie - posted on 01/28/2009

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Hi!  I want to share my experience with you.  My husband and I did not have a child, but adopted a 9 year old.  When he was 13 we adopted a sibling group of young children (newborn, 1 and 2 years old).  Our experience from the beginning was tough.  Our 9 year old son was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder.  From my personal experience, I wouldn't recommend adopting a child that has been diagnosed with RAD (as many older children are) unless you have thoroughly researched it.  My son will never love anyone until he can love himself.  He is almost 18 years old and refuses help- our most recent counselor, who has been working with RAD diagnosed children for 15 years, fired us.  He told us there were kids out there willing to work with him and he couldn't justify wasting his time on someone who wouldn't talk to him.  My younger children do not understand why their big brother hates them.  His anger is the worst part of this.  Young children shouldn't witness the outbursts my son has over doing the dishes or coming home by curfew.  I love my son.  I have never given up on him, but I am counting the days until he graduates and starts off in life.  We have been told that children with RAD diagnosis have a higher chance of ending up in jail in their lifetime. 



 



Saying all that, we would never go back and do things differently.  I just want you to make sure you know what you are getting into.  From the time we met our oldest child to the time we adopted was only 6 months.  I would recommend a longer getting to know you time period to make sure it is a good fit for your family.  Good luck.

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