Are you thinking about adopting an older child? Adopting an older child is an extraordinarily fulfilling process and you can make a real change in a child's life. That being said, it can also be a challenge. By working closely with the adoption agency and your child, you should be able to clear the worst of the hurdles. But you will need to put in a significant amount of work.
1. Learn as Much About Your Child's History as Possible
Every child comes from a unique background and some backgrounds are more troubled than others. It's best that you learn as much about your child's history as possible so that you can understand and adjust to their unique circumstances. Understanding your child will help you anticipate their needs and will help you sidestep major issues that could become a problem otherwise.
2. Consider Therapy Early
Therapy isn't always just for children that have problems. Therapy can be used to help children work through their emotions to prevent problems, too. Coming into a new family is undoubtedly a complicated experience for any child, and a therapist can help. A therapist will give them a neutral party that they can talk with about what is going on inside of them. Otherwise, they may be too confused or eager to please to openly discuss their concerns with you.
3. Get Medical Advice and Testing
Older adopted children may have issues such as learning disabilities or untreated health problems, like ADD. It's important to get these diagnosed quickly. It is not that the adoption agency isn't performing rigorous tests, but children in foster care simply may not be in a stable enough situation to show the symptoms of these issues. Once your home situation has settled down, you will be able to more adequately assess your new child to understand any of their medical or psychological difficulties.
4. Take Time for Yourself
The entire process of adoption can be exhausting, and it can be especially difficult because you feel you need to give your all to your new child. But it's important for you to take time for yourself and your own physical and mental health. Don't hesitate to take the time you need, as it will make you a more patient and loving parent overall.
Adopting an older child is usually a much easier process than adopting a younger child--but that's just the actual process of adoption. Older children come with unique challenges that will need to be tackled one by one. Nevertheless, there's nothing more valuable than making a change in a child's life.