Adopting Older Kids Teleconference

This is me about to start taking notes during the teleconference held last night with the Adoption Agency we are using and 20 other families that are using them to adopt older children.

WOW is all I can say. I learned a lot.

Thank God for this agency. You can find them @

Here are a few questions from the outline they sent me and also my notes.

1.Grief and loss issues

Kids are shell shocked, lack of trust. Been through a lot of Trauma, can't interact, find it hard to believe this will last. May hold back affection until they feel they can trust you.

2.Child’s personal history; the older the child, the more you will learn

Agency relays to you everything they have been told but as the child learns English they will tell you what they remember. Who they remember.

3. Getting help when you get home

Can call agency anytime after the adoption, for years even if need help of any kind.

4.What they learn in our foster care

Orphans that are adopted from Ethiopia live in two foster homes. They chew with their mouths open, have never used a tooth brush (even in foster home due to the easy spreading of the parasite Giordia), have never slept alone, many will sleep two and three to a twin bed, don't throw toilet paper in toilet. Many never slept in a bed, used a table, had electricity until arriving at the foster home.

5. At home, sleeping arrangements

They have spent their entire life sleeping with other people, they sleep piled together. Don't put them in a room alone. Let them sleep with other kids in the same room or same bed for a while.

( I asked them about concerns of sexual abuse and if it's risky to put them in bed with other kids. They said they have placed over 50 kids from Ethiopia and keep in contact with the families and none of them has ever said that was a problem. Like she said, not all children who were abused turn around and abuse other children. These Orphans also are not in homes with older children, max age is 10. The foster homes are tightly monitored and ran by Godly women. )

6. Child’s feelings of independence

Older children feel like they are losing their Independence when coming into a family unit from an Orphanage. Be sure to set boundaries and structure and let them know you are the authority.

7. “mothers” vs. “bio mothers”

When you adopt an older child, that child does have another mother and/or father. If they are dead this child loved and grieves over the parents they had. If the parents are still alive but could not or would not raise them they may be out of the picture but up until the time you got them they were their parents so you do share your children with them in a sense. Let your kids call them whatever they need to to deal with the separation, loss or abandonment. Don't get offended when they say mother or Biological mother.

8. They may have never lived in an actual family unit, important to help them learn that first. Learn who are the parents.

For the first few weeks after your child is home, try to make it just your small family unit. The child needs to learn who mom and dad are and brothers and sisters. A lot of huge attachment issues that come up later can be avoided if this is done. The bonding needs to happen right off in order to make for a smooth transition for everyone.

9. Teaching them when they need medical attention

They have never had a Tylenol, cough medication, they may not tell you when they are sick or feel bad because they just don't think about it. You have to help them understand how to communicate health needs to you.

10. Night terrors

Almost ALL adopted children, over the age of 2, will have these. Wake up screaming, every night for a while. Especially children adopted from places like Ethiopia where most have suffered trauma. They are nightmares and you just have to hold them and love them when this happens. It can continue every night for years.


Cindy said…
I pray for you guys! You are awesome and doing amazing things. We love you!
HerstoryGirl said…
This just makes it so REAL.

I want to cry when I think about what some of these kids have been through; then I want to laugh because loving, Christian families like yours choose to show them the love of Christ.

Actually, that makes me want to cry, too... but in a good way. =)

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