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Adopting an older child can be a wonderful experience that gives a forever family to one who needs it the most. Despite making a world of difference, many potential parents are hesitant to adopt older children, mainly because of the additional complications and concerns that come with it. 

As such, potential parents need to understand everything that goes into adopting older children. With any luck, having a complete understanding of the situation will increase their willingness to adopt an older child.

Adoption and Foster Care Statistics

According to one report, there are around forty-seven thousand children in Canada’s foster care system. The numbers vary depending on age, but the statistics make it clear – the older a child is, the harder it is for them to get adopted. 

The average age of children in foster care is around seven and a half years, with babies getting adopted very quickly. Children over the age of eight start seeing a significant decrease in their odds of adoption. Teenagers have it even worse, as they see yet another drop in likelihood. By this time, they are fully aware of the situation – and their odds. 

How the Adoption Process Changes for Older Children 

Believe it or not, the adoption process does change for older children. For one thing, many counties and states require consent from the child before starting the adoption process – assuming they are old enough to give it. This means that they must be a willing participant in the entire process.

Additionally, many people forget that people over the age of can be adopted. Many people consider those 18 and older to be adults, but that doesn’t mean they do not need help, support, and live, just like everyone else.

The time frame and cost of adoptions also tend to change as children get older. The proceedings will go much more quickly as they go through fewer regulations (as opposed to an infant adoption). Likewise, it tends to cost less to adopt older children, especially in a foster-to-adoption situation.

Things to Keep In Mind

It’s critical to remember that, unlike a younger child, an older child has a better understanding of the situation around them. They may also have memories of their birth family, previous foster parents, and other experiences. Sudden changes can create a culture shock of a sort – even if those changes are positive.

As such, new parents should be ready to emotionally support their children, even if that means giving them a bit of space to adjust. Likewise, parents should make an effort to prepare an area for their children before they arrive home. Similarly, preparing the child for the transition is never wrong; open conversation is always beneficial.