Older Child Adoption – Blessing or Nightmare?

When talking to people who have adopted older children, it seems that you almost always hear stories from two opposite ends of the spectrum. There are the families who say that their adoption of an older child is nothing but a nightmare, that it ruined their family and that their child will never function normally in a family setting. Then you talk to the those on the other side who say that their adoption of an older child has been a breeze. Everything went smoothly, they’ve had no problems, the child is a joy. Is it possible that both experiences … Continue reading

Parental Claiming of an Older Adopted Child.

The majority of parents keep their baby or child. However, there are too many adoptive parents, especially those who adopt an older child, who think they can give them back or trade them in as if they were a used car. It is true that many biological parents relinquish their child, but not nearly as often or with such ease, as do adoptive parents of older children. It’s a fact that parents adopting older children are expected to meet a higher level of special needs then biological parents or infant adoptive parents. Pre-placement training makes it very clear that adopting … Continue reading

Book Review: The Heart Knows Something Different

The Heart Knows Something Different is an anthology of writings by teenagers in foster care. These articles were originally published in a bimonthly magazine called Foster Care Youth United. They are an excellent resource for people adopting older children, since they may give a feel for the kinds of situations and feelings many older children experience prior to the adoption. Their stories are also of import to all citizens concerned about the next generation in our country. Many of these youth, though not all, are from New York City. Some of them were with foster families, although many were in … Continue reading

They Don’t Have to Love You Back

My friend, a teacher, told me that one of her co-workers always says that she became a teacher because she wanted to be loved. So what’s wrong with that, you ask? Well, it’s backwards. Being loved is a great feeling. And when choosing a career, it is okay to think about what satisfies you emotionally. However, you can’t expect to always get it. Everyone in the social service professions—ministers, doctors, social workers, teachers, counselors—must realize that they are there to serve, not to be liked. This teacher’s statement may appear innocent. However, she was also known for sending students to … Continue reading

When Adoptions Don’t Work Out

No one wants to talk about it—not adoptive parents who know how wonderful adoption can be, not prospective parents who desperately want to believe that love will conquer all, not professionals whose reputations and self-image are based on facilitating the happily-ever-after family. Adoptions that don’t work out are a small percentage of adoptions . However, they can represent ten to twenty percent of older-child adoptions (different agencies define “older child” differently when keeping statistics. I believe it generally refers to children over age seven.) Adoptions of older children are ten to twenty percent more likely to eventually disrupt than adoptions … Continue reading

“Wrongful Adoption” Lawsuits

Occasionally one hears of adoptive parents suing an agency for “wrongful adoption”. The parents usually claim that after they adopted the child, the child began to exhibit special needs and/or behaviors that were unexpected. For example, a child who sustained extensive sexual and physical abuse is considered at risk for attachment disorders. Children who were abused themselves also are at risk for becoming abusers of others. A child may have disabilities related to fetal alcohol exposure. The parents claim that the agency either knew about these problems, or factors putting the children at high risk for these problems, and withheld … Continue reading

Don’t Give Up

If I was to be pressed to give one tiny morsel of advice to parents—all parents of any age child, parents who have biological children or adopted children, and parents with one, two, or many children—my only phrase would be: “Don’t give up.” Whether you are wrestling with potty training or discipline issues or a learning disability or character development, the commitment to your kids and the willingness to stay in there no matter what is what parenting is all about. We ALL make mistakes! My goodness, if I could have just one dollar for every time I made an … Continue reading

Glossary of Special Needs Adoption-Related Terms “C”

Special Needs and Adoption-Related Terms: Adoption terms and special needs words may vary from agency to agency.The terms used in this Special Needs Adoption-Related Glossary may be slightly different from one State to another. A | B | C | D | E-F | G-H-I | J-K-L | M | N-O | P | Q-R | S | T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates: Trained Community members who volunteers to follow a child’s case through the foster care system and advocate for the child’s needs, serving as one constant person for the child’s case plan. Central auditory processing disorder: … Continue reading