Adopting older children.

What are they waiting for?

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. The focus is on the adoption of children waiting in foster care. In Massachusetts there are about 3,000 children in the custody of the Department of Social Services (DSS) waiting to be adopted. The good news is that most are already part of a family that wants to adopt them. Unfortunately, for about 600 children there is no waiting family.

The majority are between 7-12 and they face many barriers to their adoption. The most formidable are the myths associated with adopting older children. The Home for Little Wanderers would like to uncover these ill-informed notions and shine a light on the realities of adopting older children.

There is a perception that these adoptions usually fail. Actually, the success rates for the adoption of older, waiting kids is over 75%. This slight risk can be further minimized through the support services that agencies like The Home offer.

The belief persists that the behaviors of older children will be difficult to manage. In many respects, the opposite is true. They can be much more self-sufficient than younger adoptees. They can dress, bathe and feed themselves—not requiring the constant vigilance of an infant.

It is widely believed that older children come with a past that conspires against their future. Though these young people have faced trauma and loss, they are very resilient. Moreover, these children may have a special memory of events, grandparents or birthplaces that present a past which adoptive parents can help them retain and synthesize as a new life is built together.

Many people suspect that the older, foster child is stereotypical, that you can pick one out in any crowd. Yet, half are children of color and half are Caucasian. There are only slightly more boys than girls. It’s expensive, right? Tax dollars pay for the services required to adopt a child from DSS. These children are also eligible to receive a financial subsidy, based on the child’s needs, not the family’s income. Finally, you do not need to be a married couple to adopt a DSS child. Singles and gay families are encouraged and welcomed.

If you have considered adopting at some point in the past we urge you to ask yourself if the time has finally come. The Home for Little Wanderers invites you to meet our young people face to face. They’ve been waiting for you. Please call us at 888-HOME-321.

Click here to learn more about The Home's Adoption program.

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