Adopting Older Children – What You Need to Know

adopting older children

Opening up your heart and home to a child in need is one of the most selfless acts.  While babies and younger children usually have an easier time getting adopted, more than 20,000 youths age out of the foster care system. Adopting older children is a great way to provide stability and support to a young person in need. If you’re considering adopting an older child, here’s what you need to know.

The Adoptee Has a Say

It may come as a surprise, but in most states, the adoptee has a say in the adoption process. NC adoption law states that if the child is 12 or older, their consent is needed to proceed with the adoption. Having them involved in the process gives them a voice they maybe didn’t have in the past and allows them to grow closer to their potential adopters. 

Are Older Children Harder to Adopt Than Younger Ones?

Not at all. Considering there are more than 400,000 children in the foster care system and 25% of those are looking to get adopted, adding to your family shouldn’t be an issue.

However, if you have other children in your household, many agencies prefer not to disrupt the birth order. For example, if your eldest child is 10, adopting children younger than that is desired. This is a difficult hurdle if your oldest child is 3, but you’re looking to adopt a teenager.  While still possible, it may cause anger and resentment in your other children, so it’s best to think twice about your decision and receive as much guidance as possible from those helping you through the adoption process. 

Deciding to adopt a baby can take years, but if you’re looking for an older child, the time frame is usually much quicker. 

Access to Benefits

When adopting an older child, that child may have a past that includes some or all of the following: various types of abuse, mental health issues, or physical issues. In order to help that child and their adoptive family, access to mental health assistance, advocacy and support groups, services for special needs children, and other therapeutic services are available for North Carolina adoptions.

Limit Expectations

While most children desire a permanent home and family, they may have witnessed quite a bit in their young lives. Being shuffled from foster home to foster home, abuse, and attachment issues make fitting in with their adoptive family a struggle. Patience is key. These children still need love and attention. 

As an adoptive parent, knowing that you may face issues, whether behavioral, physical, or mental, is the key to success. Learning how to help the child cope and adjust, even if professional help is needed, is paramount.

If you’re thinking about adoption and need to find adoption lawyers near you, consider Apple Payne Law.  Our adoption lawyers specialize in private and contested adoptions, and also the termination of parental rights. We can help you find the right adoption agency, especially if you’re a non-traditional family, and guide you through all the paperwork. If you’re interested in more information, don’t hesitate to contact us.



Author Bio

Ronald D. Payne II
Ronald D. Payne II is the CEO and Managing Attorney of Apple Payne Law, a North Carolina law firm he founded in 2018. With more than 11 years of experience practicing law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including business law, estate planning, family law, probate, and traffic law.

Ronald received his Juris Doctor from the Wake Forest University School of Law and is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being awarded the 2020 Client’s Choice Award by Avvo and multiple Rising Star awards from Super Lawyers.

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