For starters, in the adoption world most people are looking for a child up to age three. When I say “older” child, I mean older than three. I’m specifically going to be talking about preschool/early elementary aged kids because that’s what I have experience with. I’m well aware that in general, this age group is not considered “older,” so don’t scoff! But many people are unwilling to adopt these kids regardless, so let’s talk!!
1 ❤ You may, after you thought your window has passed, become young parents.
I always pictured myself as a young mom, but I got married at 23 and was in no way ready for children immediately. Jason and I really enjoyed our time together and we didn’t start working towards a family until 26. We didn’t really expect to have a referral until close to 30. What actually happened is that our eyes were opened to the world of the waiting kids, and we had a child home just over a year later! I was now 27 and had a four year old. Just like that, I was a young mom! Siobhan was born just 6 weeks after we got married.
There are no obvious perks to being a young mom, except that you’re *supposed* to have more energy (lawl) but if you’re anything like me, a closeted type-A whose plans are going to $h**, you won’t feel so left behind anymore. And now, because we “had” Siobhan at such a young age, it feels like we have more time to grow our family.
2 ❤ They may already sleep through the night.
Siobhan is a sleep coper. When we were first home she slept A LOT. For anyone easing into motherhood, this is amazing. I needed the sleep too, so less hours of the little tyrant being awake was a win-win (when is it not?)
Unfortunately, every child is different so they could also never sleep. Good luck!
3 ❤ They are already eligible for preschool/school programs
There are people out there that will judge me for this reason, but it’s one of the best in my book. At 3+ your child can already go to preschool or elementary. I would never EVER send a child to school immediately after they come home. I am a huge advocate for cocooning (slightly more relaxed than some) so family time and trust building is first and foremost. However, there comes a day when they need entertainment and structure, and you being an “Okay” Mom, need to find outside help to provide this. Kids thrive on routine, I am (at best) jello smeared inside a day planner that I bought in late February.
You can now go back to work if that has been a concern. I think most women struggle with wanting a career but also wanting children. This has been the topic of endless conversations between my husband and I. Why does it always feel like the girl’s job to decide when they can put everything on hold for the good of the family? If you adopt a younger child, you now have to find child care if you want (or realistically NEED) to go back to work. But guess what? Kids have to go to school! Skip the messy years of deciding to either slave it out at home or feeling bad because you chose daycare. Adopt a school aged child!
What if they are already six or seven? What about the time they missed? Through my online community I have learned how resilient kids are. It’s amazing! With our first adoption we had lowered our age from six to five. We were scared of a child joining elementary late. Once you’re a parent of a school aged child, you learn that ESL kids join schools all the time (of course they do!) You learn that special needs kids born here go to school (of course they do!) Your child will need an individual plan, but they might have if they were adopted at two! This is really a non-issue.
4 ❤ You can already travel and do fun activities with them.
We love to travel! We love to do stuff as a family. At five or six these kids are ready to take anywhere. Of course you CAN take a two year old to Europe, but they won’t care about it either. Seeing a real-life castle through the eyes of my five year old just shredded my heart. Watching her freak out when she saw Elsa at Disney on Ice made me swell with pride. (Kids do weird stuff to your emotions.) Having been in a crib for her whole life until four, has given her a zest for life that I don’t think all other kids have. She needs to see, hear, smell, and touch EVERYTHING. It’s exhausting, but in some ways its like being a kid again myself.
Of course, I need to add the disclaimer that many kids are not as flexible as mine. We have been very fortunate that a change of scenery hasn’t ever really set her off. She is okay to go anywhere and sleep anywhere. She DOES get incredibly over stimulated from a lot of noise and craziness. So our trip to Bulgaria was easier and had fewer meltdowns than seeing “Bubble Guppies Live” with 2000 nap-deprived preschoolers or going to a birthday party. Every kid is different. However if your child IS one that gets overstimulated, may I suggest that a trip may not equal the craziness that you assume! Secretly I like to think my poor routine and structure skills have made her flexible, but who knows.
Silly as they may seem, these are my top reasons to adopt an “older” child. I’d love to hear from other parents what the perks have been for you!