Adopting Older Children

I’ve said before that Joshua and I started out this adoption journey with our hearts set on bringing home an infant.  In fact Ethiopia is one place where you can still bring home a very young infant (sometimes under 4 months old).  We purchased a crib, a few family members sent cute baby clothes, and we got really excited about joining our friends in this fun “baby stage” of life. 

As we progressed in our paper-chasing we began reading more about adoption and about Ethiopia.  Did you realize that children over 3 years old are often considered UN-adoptable, or dare I say, UN-wanted?  Many feel they will come with too many problems, too many developmental delays, too much of a past, and no English skils.  Even as we have shared about our referral, a common response has been, “Wow, you’re adopting a 6 year old and a 4 year old?  That’s pretty old!  You’ll sure have your hands full!”  And then we get a look.  I don’t think people mean to give us a look, or make us feel uncomfortable, I just think there is a common misunderstanding about adopting older children. 

I really want to challenge those in the adoption process to consider the possibility of adopting an older child.  And for those who aren’t adopting to pray about the possibility.  Would God give you faith to provide a family to one of His precious children?  James 1:27 reminds us: “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.”   I’ve often found myself “corrupted” by a desire for ease and selfishness.  Corrupted by doubt that says the money will never come, and how do we expect to ever live off of one income?  Yes, it will be difficult.  No these kiddos won’t speak much English.  No they haven’t had any formal schooling.  Yes, they have a sad past.  But what the heck!  I have a lot of sin and God still adopted me.  And this simple and beautiful truth has stuck with us, has been ingrained in our minds, has broken our hearts.  I pray it will do the same for you. 

Take a second to check these blogs out, hopefully you’ll leave changed-  check out the post on June 27th about visiting their daughter’s orphanage  check out the post on March 8, 2008 titled, “I don’t have a family”



Filed under Adoption

6 responses to “Adopting Older Children

  1. Leeann

    You’re absolutely right about the fact that there’s a common misperception about adopting older children. We’ve experienced the same reticence from people when they hear that we plan to adopt older children as well. We always hear, “But don’t you want a baby? How could you not want a baby?” Well, it’s not that we don’t *want* a baby, but it’s more that we feel much more compelled to adopt children who are older. To us, our reasons make perfect sense. As evidenced by your experience (such a fast referral), there are plenty of people who are willing to adopt babies; there are fewer who will take the chance on kids who’ve got a few years on them.

    So, I’m absolutely elated that this is the path you have chosen to take. May God bless you in your selfless decision. While I’ve known all along that adopting older children is the way for me, you’ve allowed God to change your hearts. From previous blogs, it was obvious that you deeply longed for a baby. Therefore, this shift in perspective is an incredible one.

    Thank you for sharing your story as it unfolds. It is truly inspiring.

  2. I enjoyed reading this. We also made the shift from adopting a baby/toddler to adopting an older child and are in the process of adopting a precious 9 year old Ethiopian boy. God has truly done a work in our hearts and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Thank you for posting this.

    • traci

      we , too are on this same journey….and as we seek God we find him….in adoption….we too started out on “younger than 4 year old “path and are now adopting a 10 year old girl from Ethiopia wth a blood disorder….Gods ways are not are ways…they are far better……

  3. We also receive the strange looks… like why would you WANT older kids vs. a baby. Well, I guess we don’t get those looks any more since we brought the children home, and it’s a done-deal 🙂

    I just want to encourage you that even though it is not easy, God will bless your family in ways you cannot imagine.

  4. Jessica

    I have adopted a 6 year old boy from Ethiopia and and currently waiting to travel to pick up my 5 year old daughter. Adopting my son was the absolute best decision I have ever made in my life. I think most people feel this way about their little babies so why shouldn’t I. People do not understand the life in Ethiopia, many kids are in families before they are given up and the bonding is not the issue that it has been in some eastern european countries in the 1990’s. It has challenges, that it can be very diffucult, a grieving child can be difficult but the alternative is always be afraaid and our lives would certainly not be as blessed as they are with our children.

  5. I loved reading this post. My husband and I are considering adopting an older child (one from the US) now.

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