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Adopting An Older Child - The Ups and Downs

By Edited Sep 2, 2015 4 13

Adopting an older child can be the most rewarding experience. At the same time, it can be a very difficult process. You are able to see the emotions the child is going through in every aspect; the anger, happiness, confusion and of course understanding acceptance. The hardest part of all, knowing what the child has been through and how to make them realize you will not let that happen again.

Adopting a younger child or newborn, seems to be easier mentally. I, myself am an adopted child from birth. There are many emotions you will go through along the way. One of the most difficult things for myself was the rejection, thinking I was not wanted.

When I found out!!

I was told I was adopted when I was 4 years old. Now, I know this seems like a very young age, but my Parents had gone on the advice of the Social Worker at the time.

Let me make you aware of the year I was adopted in, 1974. During this time, there were many younger children being adopted as it was still part of the Baby Boom era. Not much was known about adoption and the mental issues that may or may not arise later on in life.

Now, I want to first mention, I could not have asked for a better 2 people for Parents. They are both amazing people and I don't know what I would do without them. But, when you are 4 years old and told that the person you thought was your Mother says to you that 'you didn't come from my tummy,' you are devastated. All the questions that go through your mind makes you completely dizzy.

The whole conversation had started because our neighbor was pregnant and I was friends with her daughter. My friend had told me that her Mom is having a baby and it was in her 'tummy'. So, like any other 4 year old, I ran home to my Mother and asked her about what it was like when I was in her 'tummy'?

I can't imagine how uncomfortable that must have felt for my Mother, but, I had later found out that the Social Worker had advised her that as soon as I bring it up, to tell the truth.

Well, in all truth, that is a lot of information for a 4 year old. I can remember thinking, 'what is wrong with me?, why am I such a different child?'. I wondered why my Mother was not my Mother and how that can be. Sure she had explained to me what adoption means, but when you are 4 years old, it doesn't matter. What matters is why I wasn't in HER 'tummy'.

Of course, being 4 years old, after a few days, you kind of just forget about the whole situation. Then, one night comes along and you are not able to fall asleep and everything comes back….Ten Fold!!

You start thinking about it all over again. 'Why didn't my Mother want me?! Was I mean when I was in her 'tummy'? Then the anger kicks in. But, having such supportive Adoptive Parents, the anger never lasted too long.

Throughout my younger years and even into teenage years, I was never left thinking about it much. Sure, there were times I would be walking down the street or at a mall and I would wonder to myself, ' I wonder if my biological Mother of Father is walking around today?'. But, it would be short lived.

When I was a teenager in High School, I have some medical problems that my be hereditary. This was the first time I had even considered trying to contact my Natural Parents.

I had spoken to a guidance counselor in my school, whom then went about searching how I could get this medical information as I was now in a different area of the country.

It had taken a lot of time for him to provide me with the information I needed to start with the process. Once I had realized what is required, I had pretty much given up. Back in the year I was born, the medical records were not required to be given during an adoption. The only thing I had know about my Natural Parents was, my Mother was 15 years old and my Father was 19 years old. My Mother was very artistic and my Father was a surveyor.

I can't imagine how hard it was for them to be able to give a child up, but I believe it is the most unselfish choice a person could make. I have wondered many times if they thought of me or how hard it was for them. But, I have not been able to work up the courage to contact either one of my Natural Parents.

I have never been angry or upset with them. I am very happy with my Adoptive Family and I have never thought of wishing I was still with my Natural Parents. There is always just a little bit of wondering. So many people have asked me why I have not looked for my Natural Parents?

This is a very difficult question to answer and it is only a conversation that someone can understand if you are in the situation. So many people will ask 'how can you not know?'. The answer, knowing is a fear! Finding out the truth sometimes can hurt even more. I don't want to be scared or hurt by finding out the truth.

The only conclusion I have come upon with myself is, I have had the best life I could as for and why try to attempt to do something that may make me change how I feel? As I said previously, no one can understand unless they are in the situation.

Back To The Present

Now, with our current decision for adopting an older child wasn't that difficult. He' our son's best friend. They became friends after ourselves and his mother became friends as we lived in the same condo complex. Our relationship with his mother fizzled over a year ago, but the boys friendship remained.

We were on the internet one evening, just looking over some things on everybody's 'Favorite' social networking site, where we had seen him make a comment to friend stating he will be working for his 'Foster Mother's Boyfriend' this weekend to earn some extra money. Well I must admit, we had to read that a few times over before we could truly accept what we were reading.

This is Part One Of My Story - Please Watch for Part Two



Jan 27, 2011 10:16am
Adoption may not be for everyone. You need to think long and hard about your feelings and those of the adoptee. We adopted our son when he was 8 months old. And have never regretted that decision. Even though we told him that he was welcome to look for his birt parents he is not interested.

In some way I wish he would as it would probably answer some of his thoughts. Although it has to be his decision in the end. I would strongly suggest that you be honest with any child. We told our son before he could even talk and he grew up knowing the truth from the beginning. Great article.
Jan 29, 2011 4:28am
Thank you for your comments Eileen. Adoption is a very sensitive subject to me. Now, taking my experiences is helping me with understanding a bit more on what is changing in our family and how there will always be some bumps in the road.

The decisions to all things now are a family discussion and we want to ensure that all are happy during our current transition.
Jan 27, 2011 7:11pm
This is a great insight from an adoptee's perspective. We are considering adoption so it is always interesting to read the thoughts of children brought up by their non-biological parents.

Can't wait for Part Two
Jan 29, 2011 4:31am
Thank you for your comments Tmoth.

Part two is still in transition phase in our home. I want all to understand the challenges in adopting an older child. Now all days are not challenges, it is all a learning experience from both sides. Each day provides me with a more deeper understanding on what lies ahead and what futures we can create.
Jan 29, 2011 7:56am
I am a mother via biology (my oldest) and my twins. The adoption world has changed since the 70's. My children have been told their adoption story since they were born-it is a part of who they are. We have pcitures of us at the hospital with their social worker. We are open with any questions and if and when they want to search for their birth family, that is fine with us.

Good luck with your adoption!
Jan 30, 2011 2:56am
Thank you for sharing you story. Adoption is an amazing thing. Many people do not understand why parents tell their children at such a young age that they are adopted. They always think it is too young to understand.

My question to them is, when is it time? If you tell them when they are too old, they may think you are betraying them. If you tell them too young, they may not understand it, but you learn along the way.
Jan 29, 2011 7:57am
Thanks for sharing your story. I have several friends who are adopted and often wonder what they think about both sets of parents.
Jan 30, 2011 2:52am
My adoptive parents are amazing and I feel the same for my biological parents as well. To give a child for adoption, is one of the most unselfish decisions a person can make.
Jan 29, 2011 11:25pm
What an interesting article? I truly enjoyed and learned. Thumbs up!
Jan 30, 2011 2:53am
Thank you for your comments. I am glad you have enjoyed and learned from it so far. Part 2 will describe the process we are currently going through with regards to adopting an older child. The perspectives are completely different.
Jan 30, 2011 6:30pm
What a wonderful article! I await for part 2!
Jan 30, 2011 7:55pm
Part 2 is coming soon. I just want to make sure I write it as it happens and describe it in detail, as I am sure there are many people out there(thankfully) considering adoption of an older child.
Nov 4, 2012 12:02pm
Great article about 'Adopting An Older Child'. I believe many are waiting for more from you about adopting. Thumbs up!
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