New to the process

My husband and I have always talked about adopting.  Originally, we talked about having children biologically first, and then adopting our youngest, or adopting an older child close in age to our biological children.  In December, our daughter passed away, and we've started talking about moving up our adoption time-table.  Obviously, we're in no emotional state to adopt right now, but the process is so involved I thought I'd start looking in to it now so that I'd know what to do when we are ready.  

We're interested in a domestic adoption.  I've been searching online, but most of what I find seems highly slanted toward whatever agency is posting it, and I'm having trouble finding objective information on what actually needs to happen to adopt.  

Most of what I'm finding online is in regards to newborn adoption; it seems that you can only adopt older babies/toddlers/children through the foster care system?  While I originally thought I'd be fine fostering, after losing my daughter I don't think I could handle having a child taken away after years of care.  I know the goal of foster is to reunite children with their birth families; are there other resources to adopt older children where adoption is the priority?  We'd be willing to adopt a newborn; I'd just like to be able to look into older adoption.

 Sorry for the ramble.  In summary, I'm a newb to adoption, and I'm looking for any objective resources you may have that could help me get a handle on the process.  Thank you. 

Lilypie - Personal picture Lilypie - Personal picture Lilypie - Personal picture 
 DS1 - 7/2011, DD 12/2012, DS2 - 4/2014, MMC - 12/2015
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Re: New to the process

  • I'm very sorry for your loss.

    As far as adopting older kids have you looked into ?   I know there are several older children in my state looking for their forever home. I'm sure it has more info on the process in their site as well. And I don't think the goal for these particular children is reunification though I could be wrong. Good luck.

    TTC since March of 2012
    Me: 27 Dh: 35 Testing Begins 3/5/13
    Six SA's show DH has low numbers across the board = severe MFI
    Genetic testing for me = MTHFR+, also carrier for blood clotting disorder Otherwise all else normal
    Dh's karotype= Normal!!
     Mini-IVF/ICSI - July -August 2014 - 1R,M,&F Transferred 1 Grade 1 Morula-5dt - BFFN

  • So sorry for your loss.  Check out the FAQ's at the top and then ask questions as they come up.  This board is a wealth of information for all sorts of adoptions and there are foster moms on here as well. There are also a bunch of books you can read to get yourself familiar with different ways to go about adoption in the US. Welcome to the board.

    Failed Matches - December 2012, May 2013, December 2013
    Moved on to  gestational surrogacy with a family friend who is our angel and due 7/23/15

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  • Hi and welcome. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    Generally speaking, most agency-centered domestic adoptions are infants. They are usually open to adoption of toddlers or older children, but just don't get that many situations coming through their door.

    So yes, most adoption of toddlers and/or older kids is going to be through the foster care system. Some children have not had parental rights terminated, and the state will work with their bio families to try for reunification. However, there are some children who are "legally free for adoption", meaning their parental rights have been terminated. The pps gave you some good resources to look into that.

    As the pps also mentioned, there's a great FAQ at the top of the board. Look it over, check out some of the resources, and feel free to ask us any specific questions you have. It's a great community that I think you'll find very welcoming and helpful.

  • Before any child can be adopted, his or her birth parents' rights to them must be terminated (TPR). Typically, for older children in the US, this happens while they are in foster care.  Often, the children are then adopted by their foster parents.  There are some children, however, whose birth parents' rights have been terminated and whose foster families do not wish to peruse adoption.  These children are currently in foster care and are referred to as "free for adoption."  Frequently, however, these children have more severe needs or have suffered more extreme trauma, which often is a part of the reason their foster families do not wish to peruse adoption.  (Of course, sometimes foster families do not feel called to adopt any of the children in their care; they just feel they need to provide homes for children who haven't yet found forever families.)  This is also one reason that families looking to adopt an older children sometimes chose the international route:  they hope to offer a home and family to a child who may not have suffered as much trauma, beyond that of losing their parents.

    The thing you have to keep in mind is that older children are available because they have suffered some kind of trauma in their lives.  This means that they might have difficulties attaching to new families, and might be dealing with a variety of other mental and physical health issues.  Often, they have stored up a lot of anger that will have to find an outlet, and without the right kind of intervention, they may develop unhealthy relationships. Many have learned how to survive by whatever means necessary, and that can result in a difficult homelife because they might not understand what is and is not appropriate in family life and society in general.  It's not an easy road, but it is highly rewarding.


    If you are seriously considering this, I highly recommend you read a few books on attachment and older child adoption.  Three great books are:


    Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow;


    Wounded Children, Healing Homes: How Traumatized Children Impact Adoptive and Foster Families; and


    Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents.


    For more information about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), I recommend When Love Is Not Enough: A Guide to Parenting Children with RAD.


    Another good book, but geared to parents adopting younger children is Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft.


    If you have any specific questions, I'll be happy to answer them.  A quick search on my posts for the last two years will give you an idea of what our transition was like.  I've tried to be really open here and share both the good and the bad.  It might make me seem a bit manic, but I think we often only hear about he good, and it leaves a lot of perspective parents either going into situations without enough of a feel for what it could be like, or running away because of the really difficult, "worse case" situations described in the books.


    There's also a yahoo group called "adopt older kids" ( that can give you an idea of what some of these families experience.


    Finally, if you decide that you do want to adopt an older child, I strongly advise that you should have the medical files of any child you are considering adopting reviewed by a doctor who specializes in adoption.  Such a doctor should be able to help you not only evaluate the child's health, but also identify other risk factors, such as the child's likelihood of attachment issues/RAD, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), and other risks depending on the child's background.  These evaluations are not fool-proof, but will give you the best idea of the child's prognosis based on the available information.  The doctor would also be able to help you determine if the child has any developmental or other delays, how severe they are, and what level of treatment the child might need.


  • I don't have any other words of wisdom that PPs haven't already covered so I'll just say welcome to the board and I'm so sorry for your loss.
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