There are many benefits of adopting a child of any age. Namely, that a child who would otherwise grow up alone finds their forever home. They grow up with stability and a support community they otherwise would never have known. At Kidsave, we’ve seen so many of these stories throughout the last 2 decades, and each one fills us with joy. While there is beauty in every adoption, we want to bring awareness to one demographic of kids who are often overlooked: older kids.

The Benefits of Adopting a Child With Focus on Older Foster Children

benefits of adopting a child

Too often, there is a stigma against adopting a kid who’s spent years in foster care. These kids have grown up in difficult circumstances, and that can be intimidating for some people. Would-be adoptive parents may feel ill-equipped to adopt a child with an established, checkered history. The kids in our programs are aware of these stigmas. What they often talk about and want people to understand is that all kids – regardless of age – want and deserve a loving family.

But, changing people’s perceptions requires a great deal of work and patience. Over the years we have been fortunate to witness when these kids find their forever families. Sometimes they’re even adopted right before the “age out” tipping point of 17. We share their stories to help the public – and the kids – understand that past history has no bearing on their inherent value.

Benefits of Adopting a Child – Older Child

Older Kids are Appreciative

What many are unaware of is that there are unique benefits of adopting older children. Both for the parent(s) and the kids. For perhaps the first time in their lives, these kids can feel safe in giving and receiving love. We hear tales of older kids in foster care who’ve been in so many placements that they carry around a “go bag.” A “go bag” is essentially a large bag that the kids fill with their most essential belongings. Whenever their time in a foster home ends, they’re able just to grab the bag and go to the next house. Sometimes, when the kids are adopted, they will hold on to the bag. Just in case. Until they feel confident that their adoptive parents aren’t going anywhere. They’re used to a home that is temporary, and it can take time for them to accept that they’ve found a permanent family.

For these kids to find truly ‘forever’ families is a incredible gift. How many of us could have responsibly made it through our teenage years without loving guidance? Kids in foster care must traverse through the rugged terrain of middle school and high school like any kid. As we all can now appreciate, it’s a tremendous help to have supportive role models during those years.

What They Really Want

Many kids in foster care just want to experience normal, simple things with a family. They actually want to be reminded to do their homework or be bugged for photos before a school dance, or be told not to text at the dinner table. They get excited about the holiday season and want to spend that time with loved ones. Without a family, they don’t get to experience holiday family dinners, ringing in the New Year together, embarrassing holiday photos, or even trick or treating with family. As they approach the age-out tipping point, their window of opportunity to experience these simple joys is slammed shut.

An adoptive family would be able to make a real difference in the lives of these older kids. Together, they can experience the fullness that life with a loving family can bring. Beyond the benefits to the kids, parents have unique experiences when deciding to open their hearts and homes to older kids in foster care.

A Two Way Street

Someone who adopts an older kid will have the unique opportunity to hear about their history and experiences. You get “the ability to directly talk to your child about his or her life before their adoption and have access to more knowledge regarding their history” (Considering Adoption, 2020). It opens the door to creating a meaningful bond. A teen or preteen is perfect for people who wish to become parents at an older age. Parenting older kids allows “the freedom of a more self-sufficient child who probably doesn’t need your help with simple tasks, but still needs you for parenting and love” (Considering Adoption, 2020). No babysitters, diapers or midnight feedings.

If you’re interested in adopting an older child but your not quite ready, you can become a host parent through one of the Kidsave programs. Hosting gives the family and the child a voice and a choice in the process.


Adopting an Older Child from Foster Care: What to Know: Considering Adoption. (2020, February 18). Retrieved from

Best Ways to Adopt Older Children

Nicholas and Miguel 2: Miguel, age 12, and his brother Nicholas, 11, pose playfully for a photo at a Kidsave event.
View their gallery page here.

Best Ways to Adopt Older Children

Jarkies: Jarkies (pictured right), age 11, stops for a photo at Kidsave’s annual Hike With Your Heart event.
View gallery page here.