Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Older Child Adoption: One Size Doesn't Fit All

The face of China adoption is changing.

I took some time Sunday to catch up on reading my favorite blogs. I happened on a real gem by Sandra at Our China Blessings.  She talks about Searching for Connection -- how both Sandra and her 13 year old newly adopted daughter went to a meeting of Families with Children from China (FCC) searching for connection.

Sadly, they left the meeting still searching.

Seems to me that most support organizations for Chinese adoptive families cater to families who adopted healthy infant or toddler girls through the non-special needs program. Not a lot of boys. Not a lot of older children who still speak Chinese and are struggling with cultural adjustment. Not a lot of special needs.

I'm not criticizing Families with Children from China.  Organizations like FCC meet a real need for families who adopt baby girls from China. And in the past, that covered almost all China adoptions. What a gift for those little girls to grow up with peers who look like them and with other families that resemble their families.

But the face of China adoption is changing, and more and more of us are parenting adopted kids who are older, or who are boys, or who have disabilities. One size doesn't fit all anymore.

Where do families who choose Older Child Adoption go for support?

Most of us go online.  But it sure would be nice to find support in person.

I confess I've never tried FCC in my area.  I've asked about it.  My main question was, "Are there any adopted Chinese boys?"  The person I asked could maybe remember meeting one. At the time, it didn't seem like that would really meet our needs, so I didn't pursue it further. Maybe if more of us attended the culture clubs and camps, the dynamics would change naturally. Maybe the first step is up to us. I think these groups naturally tailor their programs to the needs of their members.

Take a minute and head over to Sandra's blog  to read her beautifully written story of their search for real life connection in the adoption world.

And take a moment to share here about how you are connecting with other adoptive families in real life. How hard do you work to make this happen? How would you advise those of us who are still searching? Leave a comment! Your experience and perspective will be a blessing to other parents who stop by Death by Great Wall, looking for info on older child adoption.

Shared at The Long Road to China.


  1. Just saw your newest post linking to mine and encouraging people to continue the conversation about finding connection. Really like what you said. You're right - if we aren't getting involved in these groups, they will continue to "look like" the families who started them, maintain them and participate in them. Not sure if there are enough families like ours close enough geographically to keep groups like FCC going. It will be very interesting to see what others say about this and their experiences.

  2. We used to be part of a group started in our area of families with girls also. When they all started kindergarden, it all fell apart. Since then, our only connection has been in a Chinese class/school held once a month by some Chinese math professors in our town. Those classes have also now gone to once every other month, simply due to people being too busy.

    With our latest adoption of our son (14), we are extremely fortunate in that we have two families nearby in similar circumstances, those of our son's two friends 40 miles from us, all adopted within 6 months of each other. The moms and I talk by email and text all the time, and we've been getting our sons together quite frequently as they adjust and transition to their new lives while we talk about what is working and what's not working. Our families' makeups are also very similar (lots of kids, busy lives, etc.) There are a couple other families within an hour's drive with kids also from our sons' SWI, but time is always a factor and we haven't been able to get together with them yet. I contacted our FCC once, but we could never seem to get to their functions and they were all at least an hour away from us.
    If there are any others in our area, I am not aware of it, but maybe now I will post around and see if we can find any other families.

    I know without a doubt that without these two moms during our process to get our son, meeting them beforehand, AND having my Yahoo groups to go to for additional advice and support, we might not have ever considered adopting a teenager. We were still scared to death, but felt we were very well informed of both the bad and the good that could happen. It is not something to be considered lightly, however, even if the pleas for aging out kids are heart-wrenching. Adding on a teenager along with a younger child adoption CAN work and I've seen it working. But I can also see how it might not work, IF the parents are not cognizant and diligent about meeting the needs of the older child also. it has to be a conscious effort.
    It's not something we would have chosen to do, but that's just us....we like one at a time so that we can focus solely on that child AND his/her relationship with our other kids....again solely a personal preference.

    Also, when a person reaches out for support and help (online or in person), judgement should not be part of that. Every child and every family is different. If what one family is doing with their child seems to be "working", it doesn't mean it would work for someone else's child or family. Be there for those having a hard time, help them keep their spirits up, relate your experiences if they might be helpful, don't give advice unless it is asked for, and leave the "fixing" to the professionals......JMHO:).



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