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Keys to Success When Adopting Teens and Tweens

Keys to Success When Adopting Teens and Tweens

Close your eyes and imagine this scenario: there’s a lovely girl with brown eyes and red hair. She is in need of a home through adoption. After careful consideration, a family down the street was approved to adopt her and she came home to her new family this morning. What does the lovely girl look like? When you imagine this adoption scenario do you see a baby girl? A toddler? When most of us think of a an adoption, we think of younger children or infants when, in fact, there are a lot of tweens and teens in need of adoptive families. If you are considering adopting an older child, consider these tips for success.

Patience: Give them (and yourself) time. The rule of thumb is that for every year of age of the child that is being adopted, you should add an extra month of adjustment. For instance, adopting a 15 year old girl would, on average, require 15 months before she would be fully integrated into the family.

Time: In order to assist older children as they attempt to integrate into the family, you need to have some time to spend with them. Make sure that your schedule accommodates extra family time without distractions.

Be Informed: Before deciding to adopt an older child, gather as much information as possible about their history. This will allow you to make an informed decision regarding the adoption, be more prepared for specific challenges that could occur as the child tries to integrate into the family, and assist you in developing the necessary skills to help them succeed.

Be Prepared: Make an effort to learn as much as possible about typical issues that face children who are adopted at older ages.

Don’t Divide the Child’s Loyalties: With older children it is particularly important that you respect their memories. Don’t ask them to forget their biological family. Allow them to love their biological family without feeling that it is an act of betrayal of their adoptive family.

Reach for Needed Support: As is the case in any adoption, make sure you have a good support system in place. Have a counselor in place before the child moves in so that you know where to go for help in issues arise. Connect with support groups in your area or forums where you can meet other families who also adopted older children so you can share information and discuss the situation with someone who understands.

If you are interested in adopting a teen or tween, please get in touch with the experienced Arizona adoption attorneys at Arizona Family Law Attorneys. We can assist you as you navigate the process and provide you with useful information to make the transition as comfortable as possible.
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