The Effects of Older Child Adoption on the Family

Lisa Hutton,The Master’s College

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Abstract According to statistics, the majority of the children that are in need of homes are three years old or older. People looking to adopt children are less likely to consider adopting an older child due to the developmental issues and behavioral problems that an older child is perceived to have. The purpose of this study is to consider the effects on the family unit with the adoption of an older child. The survey instrument was distributed to selected residents in Snohomish County, Washington, and to selected students at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, California, during the spring of 2009. STATPAK was employed to analyze the data, using the One-Dimensional Chi-square test. The results showed that people perceived the following five areas to be problematic in the adoption of an older child: developing a sense of belonging, getting along with siblings in the adoptive family, establishing his or her identity, dealing with loss and grief, and making the adoption successful and permanent.

Introduction Many children in this world do not have families. In the United States, many of these children are in the foster care system. According to Singer and Krebs (2008), “the preponderance of children in the foster care system needing adoptive homes are over 6 years of age” (p. 171). In his study of the demographics of adoption, Watson (1996) stated that “for the most part the children waiting for adoption in foster care are not infants” (p.525). Because of such statistics, the adoption of older children is being encouraged. However, there are certain factors that must be considered by families desiring to adopt older children. Singer and Krebs (2008) stated that “children adopted at an older age, whether from foster care or internationally, often display a variety of emotional, physical, and learning issues resulting from their early life experiences” (p. 172). This study focused on the issues that are considered to hinder the adoption of older children.

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