The average age of a child waiting for a permanent family in the U.S. foster care system is approximately 9 years of age. According to the Federal Government's Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, this average has been consistently increasing. 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 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 middle school or high school teen, 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."
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.
Going Beyond Recruitment for Older Youth: Increasing Your System's Capacity to Respond to Prospective Parents and Prepare Older Youth for Adoption (PDF - 648 KB)
National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids (2015)
Provides tools and information to successfully recruit and support prospective adoptive parents for older youth. It also includes information on how to help prospective parents for older youth explore the special considerations involved in adopting a teen and how to locate services to help meet their needs.
Older Child Adoption
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Presents resources intended to help adoption professionals find and support prospective adoptive families for older youth.
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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
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.