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Adoption Issues: When the New Brother or Sister is Not a Baby

Adoption Issues: When the New Brother or Sister is Not a Baby

There’s something to be said for adopting an “older child.” They come to you with a distinct history; a personality already formed in a life before they knew you. The journey is different than when the adoption is that of a newborn baby.

Consider these Tips from Adoptive Parents of Older Children:

“What I Wish I Had Known Before the Adoption”

It’s okay to need help. Many parents, adoptive or not, are ashamed to admit that they might be having trouble in their family – particularly one that they wanted so badly. When you find yourself needing help, don’t try to deny it or handle it quietly on your own. Get help!

Consider the fact that your prospective adopted child might appreciate (and even need) the opportunity to say yes. Older children needing placement often had difficult situations in their past – things have happened to them. Some have been abandoned, others neglected and others mistreated. Some have been removed from their families or sent off with new ones or placed in group homes. All this is often done without any explanation or preparation or warning. They don’t get to choose what’s happening to them. This can leave them feeling powerless. Don’t let the wonder of their own adoption be one more thing that “happens” to them. Talk to them about it. Visit with them and let them get to know you and their “new” family. Give them the opportunity to say yes.

The most important thing you can do for your adopted child is bond with them. Almost any older child you adopt will have had major interruptions/disruptions in their world and with their primary caregivers. Many may have never had an adult that they were able to create a bond with regardless of the number of adults that passed through their life. Some may even have developed defensive survival skills to protect themselves from the lack they have experienced that will make it difficult to generate a bond even when there is an adult ready and willing to do so. It’s extremely important that you take immediate opportunities to develop a bond or at least the beginnings of a bond. When you are spending time with your adopted child in the very beginning, step in to comfort them. These are the moments when they will be the most scared and vulnerable. Establish yourself right away as the one/s they can turn to. Establish yourself as Mom and Dad.

If you need additional tips and hints on how to successfully adopt an older child, please get in touch with the Arizona adoption lawyers at Arizona Family Law Attorneys. We are available to answer your questions and address concerns you may have about your prospective adoption.


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