Bonding and New Family Dynamics After Older Child Adoption


When you adopt an older child, it will take time to help her adjust to life in a new family. Find expert advice on older child attachment and read families’ personal stories.

Anastasia, after her surgery to repair her facial burns, with her mother

“I Am Not My Face”

“I Am Not My Face”

We'd been prepared to help our new daughter deal with stares and questions about her disfigurement. Instead, she taught us a powerful lesson in courage.

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Adopting an older child can be rewarding

“What We Wish We Had Known”

Looking back, I began the journey of adopting an older child somewhat naively. My daughter and I agree that these seven truths could have made our path to happy a little bit easier.

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The author, finally feeling like a mom

“Unleashing the Mom Within”

A 7-year-old girl helps this author discover her maternal side.

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One mom describes the older child adoption transition period.

The Truth About Older Child Adoption

The first year after bringing home an older child is complicated, isolating, utterly frustrating...and amazing.

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A photo taken on Justin's adoption day

“The Day I Joined a Forever Family”

A 10-year-old recalls the day a foster family became a forever family for him and his sister.

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One mother explains the lessons she learned about older child attachment.

“Pushing Past an Older Child’s Barriers”

What we learned about talking about a child's past and attaching in the present after adopting a 10-year-old from foster care.

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A child affected by reunification

Recapturing the Heart of Your Child

When a foster child who has been in your care goes back to live with his birth family, and then comes back to your home, a different child returns.

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Tips for adopting an older child from foster care

Easing an Older Child’s Adjustment

The transition from foster care to forever family can be difficult on a child. Use these strategies when bringing home an older child.

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Laila, who joined her family through foster adoption.

“Teaching Our Daughter That Her Needs Matter”

My little girl didn't fuss, never cried, and was utterly compliant. It was up to us to teach her to shove, yell, and demand — and find her voice.

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Advice on parenting your adopted child

Claiming Your Role as a Parent

Daring to parent an older child who has experienced hurt or neglect in the past will help him learn to trust and love.

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Older child adoption stories and advice

What I Wish I Had Known

After the initial adjustment stages, parents who adopt older kids often say, "Why didn't someone tell me that?" Here are eight of the lessons families I've worked with over the past 25 years have learned.

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Food problems in older children can be overcome

Older Child Parenting — The Facts Behind Food Challenges

Our expert explains common feeding challenges with adopted older children, and their solutions.

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AF explains what to expect when adopting an older child.

Adapting Expectations

When you adopt a toddler or an older child, be prepared to encounter some surprising behaviors. Experts and parents share their strategies and successes.

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One mom shares the lessons she learned planning a family vacation.

“Too Soon for a Family Vacation”: Older Child Adjustment

What we should have known before we took our newly adopted 13-year-old on a surprise Disney World vacation.

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