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Pros and cons of adopting older age children

Martyn April 28, 2021 14:39


Are there any single adopters who have chosen to welcome kids of an older age into their home on here? I'm thinking any age above 6.

If so, could you advise of the pros and cons you have faced during your experience?

Many thanks


Serrakunda27 April 28, 2021 23:49

Yes, my son was just shy of 8 when he arrived.

I always intended to adopt an older child but I probably had in mind 5 or 6.

The main considerations for me were that were no very young children in my family or friends and the collasal cost of childcare - school is far cheaper !

We had no real problems bonding, though a more secure attachment took time. Probably the key thing for me when he got home were that he could talk to me and tell me how he was feeling, that helped hugely with bonding and building our relationship.

Being older we could go out and about. I think if he had been younger I would have felt much more isolated. Before my social life was theatre, cinema and gigs. He was old enough to sit through a movie, a theatre show, a concert, so I didnt feel I was completely losing myself. We spent a lot of time in the early days in coffee shops, he had a sticker book, I pretended to read the paper - even if I didnt speak to anyone, I got a bit of a break, similarly with swim lessons.

He could go to cubs and scouts - this was really good for him, he developed a lot of skills and confidence. Camps gave us a bit of a break from each other - it can get very intense when there are just two of you.

Probably the biggest advantage was he came with a full set of diagnosis and the equivilent of a EHCP in place. Didnt make things easier to deal with but no real surprises either.

For me I don’t think there were any particular ‘cons’. I sometimes wish I’d had more time with him when he was little, wanted a bedtime story and still believed in Father Christmas and the tooth fairy. Though he does humour me and puts out the carrot and mince pie.

He is 16 now. I’m really enjoying this part of our lives, we have a lot of fun together and its wonderful to see how far he has come.

I suppose its simple really, he was the right child and he just happened to be 7.

Happy to answer any specific questions

Edited 29/04/2021
Simon May 1, 2021 08:02

Hi Martyn

Coming up next week there is an Adoption UK virtual meet-up just for you!

"Lone Adopting (Coffee & Chat) Thursday 6 May @ 11:00am"

Join Anita as she talks about her experience in adopting as a single parent with the chance to ask any questions you may have.

Anita is a dear friend of mine and has lots of experience. Anita is also a wealth of knowledge when it comes to adoption and adoptive family life, schools, life story work and emotional/mental health etc. Full details can be found on the current weekly AUK members info e-mail, or go to the AUK website "Weekly Online Events"

Definitely worth booking the morning off from work and joining the meet-up.


Lettice May 2, 2021 08:55

My children were primary school age, oldest was 10 so only one year left before moving up to secondary. They were still very little, very much in need of a permanent home and family of their own.

The cons are that you miss a whole phase of parenting - but you can't have everything in life - and that their childhood goes past so fast - I've gone from single and childless to empty nest in less than 20yrs.

I guess one pro is that I've kept my fulltime job, which would have been hard with babies and toddlers.

But, at the matching stage I eventually ignored age and chose on other factors. I was approved for siblings from newborn-10yrs and was offered several sets of details. Having read and re-read the children's details I found I couldn't bring myself to choose based simply on me wanting a baby.

As Serrakunda says, in the early days of placement, it's very helpful that your child can communicate with words. It will still be a time of confusion and huge loss, but must be even harder for pre-verbal children.

Martyn May 2, 2021 19:47

Hi Lettice

Thank you so much for your feedback. I can see how keeping a fulltime job is possible for a child of 10 years. I wonder if it's the same for a 7 year old. I wouldn't want to miss out on experiencing a little one believing in Santa Claus 🌲❄️⛄️

I see what you mean about confusion and loss for pre-verbal children. The poor things 😢


Martyn May 2, 2021 19:52

Hi Serrakunda

Thanks for letting me know. Seems like you've had a real bond with your boy. I'm really taking into account the pros of being able to communicate from your response.

I like the idea of taking a child to watch live sport, to the cinema etc. It's good that you get downtime when he goes to camps or swimming lessons. Are the camps away trips for cubs/scouts?


Serrakunda27 May 3, 2021 14:00

Scout/Cub camps will vary depending on the voluteers at your local packs and proximity to facilities but yes they all will give the opportunity for overnight camps.

We happen to live 2 miles away from a large scout facility so our groups make a lot of use if it. The main camp in the summer had everyone from beavers to scouts, the beavers would stay one night, cubs 2 or 3 nights and scouts 5 nights. Some camps would just be for single age groups so quite small, the big group camps can be a lot of fun, lots of activities, discos in the evening, campfires, the works.

The first time he went I stayed the first night, I was in a hut, he was in the tents. He couldnt get rid of me quick enough in the morning, he practically pushed me out the door bacon sarnie in hand. We had camps of some description three or four times a year but not every pack will get that.

Safia May 4, 2021 14:03

And don’t forget children will vary in their ability / willingness to stay overnight somewhere however much fun it is - and you have to consider whether it is the right thing to do within your own relationship with a child and the need to build attachments

Serrakunda27 May 5, 2021 13:16

Yes, much to his disgust I didnt allow overnighters without me for a year. I think he would have been happy to go to camp the first summer, after about 3 months home. Not a good sign in itself

Safia May 5, 2021 20:32

Yes my son - who came as a toddler - was keen to go on sleepovers in primary school and I didn’t allow it for a long time either - mostly because when he first came he would’ve gone off with anybody and still had that same tendency as he got older - so really needed his attachment to us reinforced all the time

Tiger64 August 17, 2021 17:52

Hi, sorry late to this thread but thought I would add my experience of adopting my son who was 6 and soon turned 7 when I adopted him (he's 9 now).

Pros: as others have said he was able to articulate his feelings more than a toddler and you could have a conversation with him and help teach him about his feelings. We had more shared interests together e.g. Marvel and Star Wars and I enjoyed more of the movies he wanted to watch and vice versa. He was more independent and was able to sustain focus and concentration in an activity longer than a toddler, so I had a longer break when needed. At this age, if they have any learning difficulties or attachment issues they're more noticeable and you can plan on how to support them.

Cons: you do miss out on earlier parts of their life, I do feel a sense of loss sometimes when I think about him being a toddler and younger child. He does believe in Father Christmas, although fading, but lots of things I envisioned helping my child with or having first time experience with he had already done e.g. going swimming, riding a bike, watching Harry Potter. He had lots of different styles of parenting and it took longer for him to adjust to my style of parenting. Although he was 6, as your training would teach you, there were lots of unmet needs to support him with and at times he regressed and didn't act like a 6 year old, more a toddler. Although you prepare yourself for this, it is frustrating at times and you need to be confident you can handle these feelings.

Hope that helps and good luck!

shadow August 26, 2021 16:04

Depends a lot on the child - and how traumatised they are - mine was 6 and 3/4 and very traumatised but is doing well as an adult - which no one ever thought she could do - so go for it but make sure your support system is informed about trauma and will welcome a person who has suffered a lot of trauma and maybe multiple moves


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