As champions for the adoption of older kids, we’ve heard it all. There are so many fears and rumors out there about adoption in general, and this is especially true when it comes to adopting an older child or teen. We’re here to dispel some of the more common myths and give you the facts about adoption.

Let’s get started busting some of the most common older adoption myths.

Myth #1: If you adopt an older child, you won’t be able to build a connection with them.

This is not true; older children and teens are just as willing and capable of forming connections and bonds with their adoptive parents as small children are. Most children who are eligible for adoption are desperate for a family and want nothing more than to bond with loving parents. In some ways, it can even be easier to build connections with older kids because they are able to communicate their interests, likes, and dislikes.

Myth #2: If you adopt an older child, you’ll miss out on milestones.

When it comes to adopting an older child, it is true that some major milestones have already passed. They can already walk and talk and tie their shoes, but that doesn’t mean the milestones are over. You will still enjoy many firsts with your child, some that may even surprise you. It may be their first time baking, first visit to the beach, their first time choosing their own clothes or going on a family vacation. And sadly, for too many, their first time feeling safe, loved, and supported. These kids deserve a family to love and support them, to cheer them on as they tackle future milestones. In some ways, they need those personal cheerleaders now more than ever.

Myth #3: There’s a reason an older child is still in foster care/up for adoption.

The idea that a child – regardless of age – is somehow responsible for their placement in foster care or eligibility for adoption is false. We love busting up this older adoption myth!

These kids have found themselves in this situation through no fault of their own. A stigma has been created around older children based on the idea that they “should’ve been adopted by now”, but there are so many issues with this notion. Sometimes children don’t become eligible for adoption until they are already older. In other instances, it is true that there are children who have been in foster care or eligible for adoption for a while, but it is in no way their fault that they have not been adopted. According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) there were over 117,000 children waiting to be adopted in September 2020. The reality is that there are more children eligible for adoption than there are people willing to adopt them. That is the real reason so many children age out of foster care. Also, when most people think about adoption they naturally think of newborns and infants, with many people unaware there are older kids looking to be adopted as well.

Myth #4: Older children who have been in foster care are damaged.

It’s true that spending years in foster care, moving from home to home, with little stability and no family is hurtful. It is true that losing a biological family and being placed in foster care or an orphanage is traumatic. However, this does not mean that the children themselves are lesser in any way. They have been hurt, some more than others, through no fault of their own, but a hurting child is still a child who deserves love and kindness and family.

And yes, as an adoptive parent you will need patience. They will be naturally skeptical and often initially distrustful of adults – after all they have been let down time and time again by people they thought were there for them. And when family is something they have longed for so long, finally getting a chance to have it can create a fear of losing it so kids become extra guarded. But, as we have seen time and time again, trust, love, and family can be built with your child through consistently being there for them through all the ups and downs. You will need to be kind, caring, and understanding. Your role as a parent is to help your child through any setbacks or trauma they have suffered, and help them heal and thrive.

Myth #5: Older children aren’t as cute as babies.

Now here, we have to disagree – have you seen our kids? Our older children and teens are adorable! Especially when they are allowed to be themselves, and are given a chance to smile and laugh. They are beautiful on the inside and out. Plus, they’re much cooler than a baby; they can dance and sing, play sports, and engage you in a fun game or a deep conversation.

At Kidsave, our mission is to champion older kids and teens who need families. We see how special and wonderful they are, and how much they long for meaningful connections. They deserve a loving family, and we are here to help them find one. We hope we’ve busted some of the most common older adoption myths for you.

If you are interested in adoption or would simply like to learn more about hosting click here, read about Summer Miracles and Weekend Miracles or book a call.

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