According to recent data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, the average age of a child waiting to be adopted from the U.S. foster care system is 8 years old. Statistics on foster care adoption indicate that adoptions of older children remain far less common than adoptions of younger children. This section includes information about adopting older children and youth waiting for families in the U.S. foster care system and throughout the world.
7 Key Ingredients for Successfully Adopting a Tween or Teen
Creating a Family
Lists seven recommendations to keep in mind when adopting a teen, either from domestic or intercountry adoption, such as learning as much as you can about issues facing children who are older at adoption. This resource also includes a recorded radio show with an adoption professional, "Adopting Tweens and Teens—Special Issues to Consider."
The Adopted Life Episodes
The Adopted Life (2020)
Features a web series comprising conversations between youth who have been adopted and the series creator, Angela Tucker. Discussions include various topics centered on adoption, including intercountry and transracial and transcultural adoption.
Adopting Older Children (PDF - 373 KB)
Center for Adoption Support and Education
Explores older-child adoption and how to prepare for adopting an older youth, how to help children adjust, parental adjustment, maintaining connections with birth family members, and more.
Older Youth Adoption
North American Council on Adoptable Children (2020)
Presents resources to help adoption professionals find and support prospective adoptive families for older youth.
|Series Title||Factsheets for Families|
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 333KB)
Child Welfare Information Gateway; AdoptUSKids
Download (PDF - 1,070KB)
Teens Need Families
Answers common questions related to adopting older teens, including youth consent to adoption, planning for college tuition, and accessing medical benefits.
Ten Things to Think of When Adopting an Older Child
Shares one adoptive parent’s experience with intercountry adoption and reviews questions parents should ask themselves to assess their skills and readiness when considering adopting an older child.
Tips From Preteens and Teens
North American Council on Adoptable Children (2017)
Shares tips from preteens and teens for families considering adopting older youth and reviews what it's like to wait, how to make a new place feel like home, how to treat children, respecting existing connections, authenticity, and more.
What Are Some Effective Strategies for Older Youth Adoption?
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Presents strategies to increase older youth adoption, including youth-driven permanency, family search and engagement, kinship adoption, community-based recruitment, caseworker support, and adoption support and preservation services. The resource presents examples of jurisdictions that have found success using these methods and lists additional resources on older youth adoption.
Youth Voices: Why Families Matter [Webinar]
Describes the importance of permanency for older youth, how to engage youth when planning for adoption, and resources that can support efforts to achieve permanency for older youth, including the National Adoption Month website.