Written by Sara Nolette, CMSW

My husband and I entered our adoption training planning to adopt a child between the ages of birth to eight years old. Along our journey, we became more informed and learned that the greatest need was teenagers. These sweet kiddos had been waiting, oftentimes for years, for their forever families. Nearly simultaneously, our hearts were opened to adopting teenagers. Yikes! We changed our adoption age preferences to include birth to eighteen.

We waited nearly a year before we received our match. We were first matched with our son, who was eleven years old at the time. My heart exploded the first time I met him; he was so cute! We actually met our daughter before we met our son through a mentorship program. I fell in love with her the first time I met her, and we asked to adopt her. She was 17 years old when we welcomed her home. We welcomed home a tween and a teen (who were not biologically related) within 4 months of one another. Needless to say, that was an exciting year!

I am so thankful that we followed the call to adopt older children. It has not always been an easy journey, but what family can really say they have had an easy journey?!? Family is love and care and concern and messiness and commitment no matter what. Our children have two parents, and a large extended family who completely and totally love them and will always be there for them.

In the world of adoption, a child may be considered “special needs” because he or she is an older child, or he or she may be a part of a sibling group who is being adopted together, or he or she may have a medical, mental health, or behavioral need. Many times these children wait for years, hoping for parents and a family to love them. Sadly, some of them are never adopted and are forced to enter adulthood without the love and support of a family.

If you are feeling “the tug” on your heart to adopt older children and/or any child that may be considered a child with special needs, please consider it. Adopting children with special needs is not for everyone, but if the “tug” is there, it might just be for you!