What questions should I ask before adopting an older child?

If I want to adopt an older child, what should I ask my social worker, attorney, or agency?


  • Adopting an older child can be a bit intimidating at first. There has always been a myth that older kids are troubled or have something wrong with them. Kids who have been in foster care are not there because of anything they did. Their parents were unable to take care of them through no fault of their own. Still, older children have a past and probably went through some difficult times surrounding their removal from their home by the state. It's best to know what you are getting into ahead of time so you know if you are properly equipped to meet all of the child’s needs.

    *Why was the child removed from the home? Knowing the cause of removal may help you to understand what they have been through. The answer may help you be more compassionate and relatable.

    *Does the child have any specific needs regarding his health or psychological therapy? It is important to know if you will need to facilitate extra care and frequent visits to medical offices.

    *How is the child doing in school? Sometimes kids in foster care fall behind academically from the disruption in their lives. You should know if they need help from you or assistance from a tutor.

    *Does the child have siblings? Biological siblings are extremely important. Unfortunately, siblings are not always placed in foster care or adopted together. You should be encouraging of sibling relationships. Willingness to transport the child to visits with siblings on occasion will go along way with building the relationship with your child.

    The child's social worker should show you his case file so you know the exact circumstances surrounding him. As long as you have asked appropriate questions, you should feel comfortable with the adoption. Once the details are out of the way you will be free to spend your time bonding with your child.
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