Preparing to Adopt a Teen

Familiarizing yourself with the adoption process, including where to find help when you need it, connecting with other adoptive families, and understanding the developmental and emotional needs of adolescents, are all important steps when considering the adoption of teens from foster care. In this section, you will find information to help inform your decision as well as ways to prepare you and your family for welcoming a young person into your home.

Adolescent Development
Office of Adolescent Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2017)
Explores how adolescents change and develop and issues they may face as they mature. The webpage includes sections on healthy relationships, mental health, physical and reproductive health, and substance use.

7 Key Ingredients for Successfully Adopting a Tween or Teen
Creating a Family (2015)
Lists seven things to keep in mind when going through the adoption process of a middle school or high school teen. This resource also includes a recorded radio show with an adoption professional, "Adopting Tweens and Teens—Special Issues to Consider."

The Joys and Challenges of Parenting Older Adopted Children
Matloff (2014)
Adoption Advocate, 77
Highlights “12 commandments” of parenting older adopted children, with an emphasis on exercising flexibility and maintaining realistic expectations in building a meaningful attachment.

Older Youth Need Families
AdoptUSKids (2017)
Provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about adopting teenagers in foster care.

Parenting Your Adopted Teenager
Series Title Factsheets for Families
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 333KB)
Order (Free)
Year Published 2015
Offers information to help adoptive parents understand their adopted teenager’s experiences and needs so parents can respond with practical strategies that foster healthy development. These strategies include approaches that acknowledge trauma and loss, support effective communication, promote a teen’s independence, and address behavioral and mental health concerns.

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