Adopting an older child lets you finish your family and lets a child find their forever home. Adoption of an older child has many rewards, but it's not without its own problems. Those problems shouldn't keep you from adoption because the rewards of having that child in your life will far outweigh the problems that can come up, but you should be aware of them.
Older kids may have been in the foster care system for years. In fact, by the time they come into your house, they may have been in several foster homes already. Keeping kids out of dangerous situations through the foster system is a good thing, but many years spent in the foster care system can lead kids to a feeling of impermanency. The goal of the state child protective agencies is generally family reunification. That means that the goal is to reunite the child with their birth family. Trying to meet that goal means that there can be numerous court dates and a lot of questions as to whether or not a child will stay in the foster care system. Older children can understand at least the basics of the situation, making them worry about where they will be in the future.
Trauma comes in many different forms. It can include separation issues, feelings of loss, neglect, and any abuse that the child experienced. Trying to overcome that trauma will take a lot of energy on the parent's part. Part of what they are going to have to do is help the child feel safe. The child may have set up walls to try to protect themselves from any further hurt. Those walls may also include lashing out, being angry, and inappropriate feelings. On top of that, the child may also have mental health issues from what happened in their lives prior to being in a safe place. Most older children going through the adoption system will require some kind of counseling. Individual counseling will give those kids a way to cope with all the feelings they are having and help them to process those feelings appropriately. Family counseling can also be a good idea. It will help the entire family learn how to handle these issues when they come up. The goal is to help the child feel as safe and loved as possible.
Adopting an older child has different issues than adopting a baby does. There are more pitfalls and potholes in the road, but they can be overcome and a new forever family can be formed. For more information, talk to local adoption agency like Global Adoption Services Incorporated.