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Adopting Older Children

adopting a toddler or older child


Where to Start

General Information
Waiting Children

Where to start for Information on Adopting Older Children

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General Information on Older Child Adoption:

  • First Place- Great resource for understanding and responding to challenging behavior some kids exhibit when they first come home. Covers attention seeking, disrespect, depressed, acting out, and aloof behaviors. Good stuff!
  • Adoption Learning Partners has a course to help parents decide if adopting an older child is right for them. The two hour class costs $35.

  • Frontline has released a report about the sharp rise in psychiatric diagnoses and medication among children called The Medicated Child. The report and a parent's guide can be found here.

  • After the Airport by Jen Hatmaker. Powerful, visceral, honest account of what life is really like 2 months home with a 5 and 7 year old from Ethiopia. Also, amazingly inspirational. This is a must read!

  • Laughter, Attachment and Adopting Older Kids by Pat O'Brien. I practically wanted to shout “YES” when I read this article. I agree with everything O’Brien said, especially the part about incorporating fun and laughter into your parenting routine when you adopt an older child.

  • Adopting Older Children by Ellen Singer. I love everything by The Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) and this article from their wonderful monthly newsletter is one of their best.

  • Older Child Adoption- Articles and resources to guide you.

  • Great web site with lots of articles on older-child adoption written by a mom who adopted an older child.

  • AOK-China-2 (Adopt Older Kids from China-2) at For parents considering or adopting a child over three from China.

  • An Adoption, Six Months Later is a New York Times article about a family that adopted an older special needs child from China. While not diminishing the rough adjustments that can accompany adopting an older child, it’s worth celebrating that some adjustments are smooth and effortless.

  • Parenting Your Adopted School-age Child is a fact sheet to help adoptive parents understand and respond to their school-age child's developmental needs.

  • Prayers and Casseroles - things you need to know/have/get to survive the first six months of a multiple child adoption is a great handout prepared by a family that has been there and done that. They provide useful information for parents adopting older children and multiple children at one time.

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Books on Adopting Older Children:

  • The Foster Parenting Toolbox, edited by Kim Phagan-Hansel. Although written for as a resource for foster parent, much of the information within this book is invaluable for parents adopting from foster care as well. Great resources for transitioning your child from foster care to adoption. Many practical tips for parenting and understanding kids that have come from trauma.

  • Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past by Betsy Keefer and Jayne E. Schooler. Wonderful resource specific to different ages for talking about the hard issues in adoption such as drugs, imprisonment, rape, incest, and abuse.

  • Nurturing Adoptions - Creating Resilience after Neglect and Trauma by Deborah Gray. Anything by Deborah Gray is great. On our show she said this book was primarily written for adoption professionals, but I think adoptive parents will find a lot of useful information as well.

  • The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine

  • Parenting Your Older Adopted Child By Brenda McCreight. Good overview!

  • Our Own - Adopting and Parenting the Older Child By Trish Maskew. Another book in the been there, done that vein. This one’s a keeper.

  • Adopting the Older Child by Claudia L. Jewett

  • Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison--I loved this book. It is the true life tale of one foster family and is very well written. I couldn’t put it down.

  • Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft by Mary Hopkins-Best. Great information.

  • Adopting a Toddler: What Size Shoes Does She Wear? by Denise Harris Hoppenhauer. Offers great insight and practical advice for those preparing to adopt a toddler.

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