Adopting Older Teens: Should You Consider It?

Today I came across Nissa Gadbois’ new blog “At Home with the Gadbois Family.” They are attempting to raise $30,000 in order to bring home three teens from Ukraine. (If you would like to help, a link is on her site to the Paypal account set up for this purpose.)

I admire Nissa’s passion and resolve on behalf of these kids who, without her help, are very likely to “age out” of the institutional care they currently receive. It’s heartbreaking to even contemplate.

I’ve come to believe that God puts a custom-designed hole in the heart of every adoptive mother, that only the children HE has in mind for her can possibly fill. And once that hole is there, you want to move heaven and earth to protect and nurture that little soul. The thing is, it doesn’t feel like anything extraordinary, just what parents are supposed to do. Because you love your kids, no matter what. That’s what that “custom hole” is for.

Clearly, Nissa has that kind of hole in her heart as well, which is giving her family the courage to respond to the call to adopt these three kids. At the same time, I would urge caution to anyone considering adopting an older child: Be sure you go into it with your eyes wide open. The older the child, the greater the chances of trauma that all the love in the world may not be able to undo entirely. Yes, these children are a gift, and may be God’s gift to your family. But do your homework, all the while realizing that you may not uncover the full story for years. Attachment and bonding issues (especially with sibling groups or institutionalized children), drug and alcohol syndrome/exposure, sexualization, and other kinds of trauma and impairments may be in store.

That’s not to say “don’t do it.” Only, “Go into it, prayerfully and cautiously, knowing that you are heading down ‘a road less traveled’ and will need extra help along the way.”

God bless you! (And please help the Gadbois family if you can.)

Adoption Trend: Older couples, older kids (USA Today)

On Monday John Bacon at USA Today reported that in Arizona, caseworkers are reporting an “encouraging new trend” in adoption — older couples looking for school-aged children. Quoting the Arizona Republic (, “Many of the couples already have children who are headed off to college. They want kids around but feel ‘too old and too tired to do the late-night feedings and diaper changes.'”

The increase is attributed to improved recruitment efforts by agencies to 30-50s across the country, and increasing difficulty for this age group to adopt babies from overseas (USAT also reported that a judge has ruled against Madonna’s application to adopt a three-year-old from Malawi, who is now living in an orphanage).

This is terrific news for AZ children ages six and older who are “hard to adopt” because of their age have a better chance at finding their forever family. Let’s hope this trend moves to other states as well!