We understand that many of you will want to experience the ‘first time’ as a new parent watching a baby grow and develop is a special experience; however in reality the early years of a child’s life happen very quickly and parents often remember the stages where children’s personalities shine. What we would also ask you to think about are the things that you are looking forward to as a parent- your hopes and dreams. For many people these are the “little” things- going to the park, reading a bedtime story, baking, having cuddles, taking joy and pride in every achievement. All these things can be experienced with an older child.
We understand this need to parent a baby or toddler, however we hope to share with you the joy of adopting a child over 4 years to help clear up any concerns or worries you may have. It is really important that you take the time to question where this need to parent a young child comes from and on your journey to becoming a parent does age really matter?
Adoption is great! It can change the lives of children in need forever. It meets the needs of the adoptive parent as well as the child. However, the journey to finding a permanent home for every child in foster care is not always easy. Many children who are unable to reunite with their biological families struggle to find loving and permanent homes, especially those over the age of 4.
Despite being just as deserving of love and stability as younger children, children over 4 years in foster care often face barriers to finding adoptive families. They are often seen as less “adoptable” because they are not as cute and cuddly as younger children. This perception is both unfair and untrue, and it prevents many children over 4 from finding the families they deserve.
It is important to understand that often with very young children there can be more developmental and health uncertainty, but with older children we can know more about their development, health and needs. As a child grows we can see how they are developing alongside their milestones and therefore have a far greater understanding of potential difficulties they may have as they become older.
Adopting a child over 4 can be a truly rewarding experience for families. These children have unique personalities may share your interests. They often have a strong desire to belong and to be a part of a family, and they bring a lot of love and joy to their adoptive families.
Often children who are adopted are developmentally and emotionally younger than their actual age. This means that they will enjoy and need to revisit earlier experiences for example playing with toys for younger children and being “babied” and cared for as a younger child at times. This not only helps your child to develop and move on but it provides you with the experience of responding to your child in the way you imagined and hoped to parent.
Adopting any child brings unique challenges. For example, children of any age even babies may have experienced trauma in their past and may need additional support and resources to help them heal. However, with the right support, love, and patience, adoptive families can help these children overcome their challenges and lead fulfilling lives.
Do you have children who are 4 or above in your family or friendship group? Do you see them as older children? To us they are still young children, who love to explore the world and need their parents to love and support them along the way. They are still very much reliant on their parents and they have lots of ‘first’ experiences; swimming, riding a bike, starting school, losing their first tooth and many more. Plus it is important to remember that everything you do as a family together will be the first time. Many adopted children need the type of parenting that you would give to a toddler- at least for a while so you would still have many of the same experiences as you would with a younger child.
In conclusion, the need for adoptive parents for children over 4 is critical. These children deserve the chance to grow up in a loving and permanent family, just like every other child. If you are considering adoption and are open to adopting a child over 4, please consider reaching out to ourselves or a local adoption agency. Your love and support can make all the difference in the life of a child in need and you will find that your parenting needs are met as well.Get in touch by completing the contact form opposite or call us on 0800 652 6955.