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Anyone adopt a older boy? PIOG

Posted by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM
  • 9 Replies

My SO was talking about how he wants a boy in the future. We have two girls (8 and 9) and he said that he would like a son when the girls are older. Also we want time to get married and then have a boy. I do not want a baby and neither does he. I want a kid that is older. (I am thinking 5-8 years old). 

Anyone adopt an older boy. How was it? What problems/ complications did you go through. Are there problems now?

by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM
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by on Jan. 26, 2013 at 5:26 AM

Our son was 3 1/2 when we adopted him.  In spite of the fact that he has biological siblings that he has no contact with (their adoptive parents choice) and the fact that he was in a truly bad foster home, he really has no emotional (or any other kind) of problems.

However, we had done some family counseling, prompted mainly due to our concerns for his older sister, who is three years older than him and was adopted at 3 1/2 years as well.  She's 15 now and I think most of the issues we faced with her, inability to attach, anger, etc. have been worked out.  He was also a part of the counseling, and even though our daughter was the primary reason for the therapy, he benefited from it as well. Both of the kids are doing just fine... our son is a real joy, easy going temper, humorous, good student, just an all around good kid. It's possible some deep seated issues might arise in his teen years, but for now, at age 13... I couldn't ask for a better kid.

The older the child when adopted, the more issues they will have.  Depending upon their past, personality and temperament, there could be anger issues, insecurities, attachment disorders, just to name a few. Do be very open about family counseling and realize that it's going to take some time for a child that age to identify with you and your SO as parents.  With each of our kids being 3 1/2 when they came to us, it took them each over a year before they  started to really identify with us as family.

I'm not at all trying to discourage you, but keep both eyes open and thoroughly discuss with the social workers all the issues they are aware of.

by on Jan. 26, 2013 at 8:13 AM
2 moms liked this

 We adopted three boys two and a half years ago. They were 9, 11 and 13 at the time.

It does depend on the trauma and type of trauma the boys have had to live through. We have families on the foster/adopt group who have adopted beautiful older children with no unexpected issues.

My youngest would be one of those, he was never in the abuse and went for the ride when his brothers were removed. He spent 7 years in foster care. He is emotionally behind and was behind in school but he is catching up. He is a delightful child, easy to live with and very loving.

His older brothers have bonded with us as well, the older one loves us but still is an island unto himself in that he wants to call the shots but he is 16 now and that is to be expected. We do have issues that we work through but they are Not violent and any anger issues are directed most often inward and not so much outward. The children are not on target for development socially, emotionally and often physically but ours are catching up and they work hard. 

You will need to go in this with the understanding it can take two or three years for older kids to relax enough to know this is for real. They will test the limits, but all kids do. You cant expect them to act their age and you will need to walk the various stages of development with them as they struggle to catch up in life. Know you limits and be firm with thoughtful and prayerful when older children are presented ..dont let your heart get ahead of  what you can handle.

and not all severely abused children turn out really does depend on the children. Ours were locked in closets, and handed out at drug parties like party favors, starved and beaten with a rod with leather straps attached. If you were to meet them today you will find them delightful and engaging. The target child, my middle one, is a B student, member of Junior Civitans, he wrestles on the school team and he loves loves his mom and dad. My older one was the protector thus the island to himself. He still has a hard time not parenting. He has been a more difficult child, he is stubborn and he gives up soooooo easy...but he has a creative engineers mind. He Loves old people and babies, He Loves animals and he will knock you down to help. He likes to work and he really just likes people and is very social.

Pam in Alabama
A Mom to nine sons and one daughter with five still at home
by on Jan. 26, 2013 at 1:21 PM

 We just got placed with a 6 year old boy about 4 months ago!  He is precious.  To me he is just a baby still.  We were hesitant since he is older than our daughter by a few months (we did somethng called "twinning")  He is labeled ADHD and ODD but he is a pretty easy going boy.   The biggest problem we have hit is that he witnessed a lot of domestic violence (a knife fight aparently too) and substance abuse.  He watched every single horror movie imaginable.  Because of these things he "solves" problems by bullying or "violence"  some of which I think is normal 6 year old stuff and some is a little over the top.  We have been working through those issues.  He is also VERY afraid of his window and closet.  :(  He hasn't been violent to our daughter, they are so close actually.   We've really had an almost perfect fit together.  He WANTS to please us. 

He also instinctively knows that he missed out on nurturing as a baby and he acts like a baby at time and has me hold him like a baby.  He also likes to "pretend" he came from my tummy. 

He has had 2 fits that lasted longer than 30 minutes and we just put him in his room and told him he could come out when he was ready to be calm and talk calmly about things. 

He sees a therapist.  There have been issues but nothing that would ever make me want to not have him as my son.  Overall the whole process has been a huge blessing.  Mostly I realized that 6 year olds are just babies.  They NEED mommies and daddies who care about them.  Any child will have issues.  Our child we adopted at 9 months has more issues than he does!  Make sure you talk a lot about what you can handle and make sure your case worker understand that and doesn't push you to do something beyond what you htink you can handle.  We still have some issues because he is stll so new.  He hasn't bullied anyone in 3 weeks though so that is HUGE!  He also brought home two POSITIVE behavior notes this week as well!  So he is improving already which amazes me!

We have friends who adopted a 4 year old boy and they had a lot of issues with anger and tantrums.  He would become violent with the mom. He scratched her and spit etc.  They worked through it and now he is a thriving 7 year old boy.  They delayed the adoption for several months until she felt comfortable moving forward.  She said that he doesn't have tantrums like he used to and they don't last as long as they used to and he only has one every so often. Hope this helps! 

by on Jan. 26, 2013 at 4:05 PM

 We adopted a 12 year old and a 16 year old who was the bio brother to our daughter from Ukraine. The 12 year old had some adjustments the first year in home and in school. But, I think boys are easier than girls. Or at least the two that we have. I say go for it. Boys are easier to get than girls. Most people want girls.


have a nice day

by on Jan. 26, 2013 at 10:08 PM

We adopted my son at at 4.5yo, though he was with us for two years prior as a foster placement. I think Pam really hit the nail on the head when she said that it really depends on each individual child as to how they cope with and respond to trauma in their past. I also think that you have to be prepared to get an incomplete picture when first learning about a child, as sometimes workers do not have all the information or children/parents have not yet disclosed information about their past.

I don't know that I would say that older children always have bigger issues... For some that is true, and of course a child who is older has probably experienced more hurt and rejection than a child who is younger. But again, some kids are very resilient and some need more help in developing those coping skills, regardless of age. I have seen this come out over and over again with other adoptive families IRL as well as some of the ladies here on CM.

I would actually think that much of your experience with the girls would translate very well to adding an older boy to your family, even though he might not be biologically related. I don't know the whole story with your girls, but I can imagine that you have worked to transition them into your home, helped them work through past trauma, walked through the grieving process with them, accessed services (therapy or otherwise) that they have needed... All of which would be a part of the next adoption as well.

by on Jan. 26, 2013 at 10:46 PM
We are in the process of adopting a 13 year old boy. He is a very resilient teen. In the short time we have had him, we have dealt with anger, minor food issues and social development. He has bonded wonderfully and is doing great. Considering he is our first child, I do not think I would have enjoyed a 13 year old girl as much. I remember what I was like at 13 and Mom says I was a good kid!
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by on Jan. 27, 2013 at 1:46 AM

We brought home a 16 year old a year ago and we are adopting him.  He is now 17.  There certainly have been some issues, but they are issues within him.  We are doing what we can to get him help and still trying to blend personalities and all that.  It is what it is.  We look forward to the good days but keep realistic that the bad days are just right around that corner.

by on Jan. 27, 2013 at 7:06 AM

I have no experience here, but it looks like you have gotten some great responses so far! Maybe Carla will chime in as well... she has quite a bit of experience in FC adoption as she has adopted several little guys herself. 


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by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:51 AM

Quoting mcginnisc:

I have no experience here, but it looks like you have gotten some great responses so far! Maybe Carla will chime in as well... she has quite a bit of experience in FC adoption as she has adopted several little guys herself. 

I have adopted older children, but the older ones I got were all girls.  Just last Wednesday, we adopted a 16 year old and a 6 year old, both half sisters of our adopted son, Luke, who was formally placed with us at a year, and adopted at 18 months, although we had pretty much kept him since birth.  We also adopted a four year old girl, but she was two and a half when she was placed with us.  Two weeks after her adoption was final, we were asked to take her five month old baby brother, and we adopted him at 18 months.

The main problems I am having with the 16 year old is trying to keep her clean.  Just last night, she resisted bathing even though it's been at LEAST four days...I hear that is typical of a girl who has been through the abuse she's been though, but also, her birth home was just FILTHY and they were never required to bath or wash and comb their hair.  Reading the case study, the school was always complaining that the kids were "just so dirty".  Also, she doesn't quite trust me like a birth child or an adopted child you raised would.  This past week, she began to read a book my grand daughter brought over without me knowing that she knows I don't allow.  She and the granddaughter both got in trouble.  I told my daughter, "If I cannot trust you in these little things, please know that you will not be trusted with a car!!"  Other than that, she is sweet and obeys pretty well.

The six year old actually is giving me more trouble than the 16 year old.  She was never really "raised", she was the princess of this awful home and allowed to do whatever, never requred to mind.  She lies, disobeys, is mean and acts out sexually on occasion.  And she is loving, needy, pitiful and absolutely adorable.  I love her with all my heart.  We are working hard on her issues - harder than I want to be most of the time, but I know consistancy is her only hope.

So I guess, like everyone told you, you just don't know if they will have a lot of issues or not.  They are going to have some, but at the same time, some children are very workable, and some aren't.  People thought I was insane for taking in a 16 year old girl, and honestly, I probably wouldn't have if she hadn't been my son's sister, but she's been a dream.  Everyone thinks the little one is cute and sweet and they all want to cuddle her, and she's the one who is putting all the gray hairs in my head!!

Carla Raley, wife of Bill, mom of 12, foster mom of more than 50
Visit my blogs for stories of the life of an older mom raising a large family, foster/adoption and homeschooling

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