Older Child Adoption: Post-Adoption Support & Information


Advice from adoption experts and real adoption stories by parents who adopted an older child internationally or from U.S. foster care.

A mother plays with her son through foster adoption on the beach and shares the adoption story behind the photo

The Story Behind the Cover Photo: “The Words I’ll Never Forget”

The Story Behind the Cover Photo: “The Words I’ll Never Forget”

“Looking back on this picture, I see a child who was confused, but yearning for what we all want and need: security, a family, and love. The picture is about hope.”

older-child-adoption-siblings-first-words-story-carpenter-field-flowers

“First Words”

We may not have heard our children’s very first words, but we’ve heard many others in our journey through infertility and foster adoption—and now, as family.

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an adoptive mother listens to and learns from her child

Lessons I’ve Learned from My Children

Over decades as a foster and adoptive parent and an adoption social worker, I have mothered and supported hundreds of children. Each one has taught me more than I passed along to them. Here is just some of that wisdom.

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author Billy Cuchens and his son Jayden snuggle together at home

“My Snuggle Boy”

When we adopted our son as a toddler, he rarely displayed emotion and wouldn't show us any affection. How far my big, cuddly 10-year-old has come!

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welcoming an older child into your family and creating sense of belonging through photographs

Creating a Photographic History for an Older Child

Pictures help show our children that their lives matter, and that they are part of a family. A photographer and adoptive mom offers her advice for taking and preserving meaningful moments.

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father's hand placing missing piece in wooden heart tangram puzzle, representing healing after older child adoption

“One of the Missing Pieces”

When older children argue and act out, it’s often connected to events from their past. How could any child move through 14 foster placements unscathed? But last night, another clash, followed by a heart-to-heart, brought us one piece closer to feeling like a solid family.

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A father who adopted older children from foster care shares his story, likening parenting and filling in missing pieces to playing Jenga backward

“Parenting After Foster Adoption—Like Playing Jenga, Backward”

As a father who raised a child from birth and is now parenting older children adopted from foster care, I’ve come to see that the game and pieces may, indeed, be the same, but you have to play in an entirely different way.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Family Interactions After Kinship Adoption

“We are adopting my sister-in-law’s teenage son after fostering him for five years. What can I say to her at family gatherings, to family who still don’t get that we’ll be his legal parents—and to my son, who hears all of this?”

Teens Alejandro and Rosanna, adopted as older children from foster care

“Letting the 13-Year-Old Drive”

How do you empower a child entering his teen years in a state of defeat, powerlessness, and utter self-disregard? You give him a key and tell him to take off!

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foster-adoption-anniversary-first-visit-photo-700

“Anniversary”

One year after my daughter came to live with me from foster care, the memory was still too bittersweet for her. But today, two years after becoming mother and daughter, we are ready to celebrate.

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Julia Baxter with her family, including four new siblings through foster adoption, on their adoption day

“Where We All Belong”

When I was a teen, my parents decided to grow our family by adopting from foster care. How did it feel to suddenly gain four new brothers and sisters through adoption?

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Creating New Holiday Traditions with Your Adopted Kids

“We’ve Always Done It That Way”

The uncharted journey of our first Christmas together etched a road of new, heart-warming traditions.

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Bonding Over the Family Photo Album

Finding Belonging in Pictures

After adopting older children, these parents found that maintaining a family photo album was a useful tool to encourage bonding.

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"Front Porch Children" - Foster Parent essay by Keri Collinsworth

“Front Porch Children”

Being a foster parent is not for the faint of heart. Your heart swells, loves, breaks, and heals with each placement—and it is all, every moment of it, worth it.

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