Have you ever thought about adopting an older child? Some couples thrive in this family dynamic, while others do better adopting an infant. In many adoption situations, an older child will come with brothers, sisters, or both! Sibling adoption and older child adoption frequently go hand-in-hand. We encourage you to pray about your options and let God guide you at this important crossroads.
Kim and Dan, an adoptive couple working with Lifetime, recently opened their hearts and home to a sibling set of three children! When Adrina, Sam and Bonnie first arrived to live with them, they were two, three and six years old.
Kim had struggled with years of infertility. They found themselves in their early forties with no children. The couple had always dreamed of a large family. They were concerned that they might never see their wish come true. We called Kim and Dan about a sibling group of three children. They were curious, excited and a little nervous. The couple took their hopes and concerns to God. The couple decided to meet the children and then reflect on whether this was the right situation for them.
Remembering the first meeting, Kim shares, “The moment I first saw them, I knew they were ours, already! It was just the right situation for our family.” They were able to have an “instant family” in the timetable that they had set for themselves. The children were very close with each other and had the security of knowing that they would not be separated by being placed with different sets of adoptive parents.
There are many differences between an older child adoption and bringing home an infant right from the hospital. The bonding process with an older child can take time and patience, as they already have a history with other people and places. His personality is already in place. He might grieve the friends and life that he has left behind. He could react to stressful situations in ways you don’t understand.
Adrina was sad that her new parents were not there to experience her first word, her first steps and her first tooth. They are building a different kind of family dynamic that is based on common experiences. Kim has set aside quality time with Adrina to teach her quilting crafts. Dan takes Adrina fishing, out on their boat. They go gold panning, bike riding and hiking with all the children.
Sam and Bonnie had already forgotten their past and have fully embraced their new life with Kim and Dan, but Adrina will need loving consistency and the choice to acclimate at her own pace. Kim and Dan have fully embraced this challenge. They have realistic expectations of their children and rely on God’s promises to see them through. Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.”
For couples like Kim and Dan, adopting a sibling set with older children has been a blessing. They had a much shorter waiting time than if they had insisted on a newborn. However, they understood all the pros and cons of this type of adoption. They understand that the bonding process is very different from that of a newborn. If God is leading you in this direction, then bless your journey! “I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing good to them.” we read in Jeremiah 32:40.
In order to decide if older child or sibling adoption is right fit for you, you can educate yourself through reading adoption books such as Called to Adoption, Parenting Your Older Adopted Child, or Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child. If you’d like to learn more about adopting an older child or sibling group, please call Lifetime Adoption at (530) 271-1740.