Even though Family to Family mostly places infants with adoptive families, we have also done placements of older children. Since 2002, Family to Family has completed 227 domestic placements (visit our adoption statistics page for more information). Out of these, 22 have been older children. Some of these have been sibling groups. These children were placed for adoption voluntarily by the child’s biological mother or parents. These situations do not involve Child Protective Services or foster care but instead a mother who decided that adoption would be the best decision for her child.
When placing an older child, the process varies some then that of placing a newborn. When a mother makes an adoption plan for an older child, the agency identifies any interested families. The biological mother is presented with all adoptive families and will meet each of them if she chooses to do so. Also, the agency obtains the child’s medical records, birth certificate, and social security information. The child is also taken to a pediatrician for an overall health assessment. If the child is over the age of two, the child is also evaluated by a child psychologist and taken to a pediatric dentist. All of these assessments are done so that the adoptive family adopting the child has a complete overview of the health of the child. If an adoptive family has already been identified then the family will accompany the child and a caseworker from the agency on these appointments.
The transition from the biological mother to the new family can take some time. After the initial meet and greet between child and adoptive family, the adoptive family will spend time with the child both with the biological mother present and without. Other factors such as age, maturity, and comfort level of all involved determine how quickly the placement happens and how long the transition period should be. The relinquishments are signed when the agency, biological mother, and the adoptive family feel the timing is right.
Most adoptive families imagine that when they adopt, a newborn baby will be brought into their home. Most families that sign on with our agency have been placed with newborns but some of them had the opportunity to adopt an older child. For some families, the idea of adopting an older child does not enter their mind until a situation arises. The 22 children placed through Family to Family have flourished in their adoptive environment and some of the children continue to have contact with their biological family. Even though the process of adopting a child varies somewhat then that of adopting a newborn, the outcome remains in that a child and an adoptive couple have become a family.
If you have any questions about the process or are interested in adopting an older child please notify your agency. This is the process of Family to Family and can vary for other agencies. The staff at Family to Family hope that every adoptive family is successful in completing their family through the process of adoption.