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  #1  
Old 12-30-2006, 07:29 PM
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tbristow tbristow is offline
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Question Pro's & Cons of Adopting a 3-5-Year-Old Vs. Younger

I have to be losing my mind. DH caught me with the agency's website up tonight. We started talking about the possibility of trying to adopt again when the bills are paid down (drat that darn house in MO). My guess is that the "Journey to Kayden"--yes, he already has a name--will take at least 2 years. That would put Hunter around 5 or so. We are leaning toward a somewhat older child this time 1-2 years younger than Hunter. Those of you that have adopted older, please give me your experiences so far and if you had to do it over, would you?

I still find myself wondering about that little boy that was walked past us on trip 1 two years ago. He was about 3. I'll never forget the look in his eyes. How I wish I had asked his story and if he was available. We started thinking about an older child then.
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  #2  
Old 12-30-2006, 09:40 PM
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Go for it!

Julia was 6 when we got her in May. We kept our family's birth order. She's a treasure. I wouldn't change one darned thing.

Becky
The Woodworth Family in Beautiful San Antonio TX
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  #3  
Old 12-31-2006, 06:48 AM
crispex crispex is offline
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I just completed the adoption of a little 3 1/2 yr old girl. I'm so happy!

Pros: No diapers (just pull-ups at night)
Pros: No formula/bottles
Pros: Can entertain herself when necessary
Pros: Can talk and share experiences
Pros: You are giving them a family they may never get (after 4 yrs old, the chances of being adopted are quite slim from what I understand).

Cons: You don't get to experience some of her firsts (but there are still plenty of firsts to experience).
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  #4  
Old 12-31-2006, 07:28 AM
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We just adopted Adam, he was 3.4 years old. I agree with Crispex with all her pros and cons. I would adopt at this age again in a heart beat. Yes, you miss alot of the "firsts", but you will also see alot of "firsts" too.

I also got a sense that he was aware of what was happening. I was told after trip 1 that he wouldn't go outside with his group since he heard that a mamma and pappa were coming, thinking it was us, but is was another couple coming to get their child.

Also keep in mind a 3 1/2 year old adopted from Russia isn't like a 3 1/2 year old raised in America. My friend's daugher who is 3 months younger then Adam is much more advance then he is. She was adopted at age 11 months from Russia.

I had a similar experience like you when we adopted Joshua. It was our final day on our first trip and as I was leaving the baby house this little girl who had to be around 3 came running up to me calling me Mamma. The caregivers had to pry her off me and we apologizing to me. It broke my heart. I have always wondered what ever happened to her.
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June 1999 - Welcome Home Josh! 19 months old, Moscow City. Began our journey November 1998.

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  #5  
Old 12-31-2006, 08:13 AM
leeinmemphis leeinmemphis is offline
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we adopted two little boys in June 2004

Tim was 4.5 and William was 3.5 years old. I agree with all of Crispex's pros and cons -- esp the 'only pullups" and only for a tiny little while did our boys need them.

We had a hard time learning English in our house.. they didnt really talk russian to each other but it certainly was a long time until they talked in normal, complete sentences. Also, they were tested for delays by the local school system and one was about 6 months behind in receptive and expressive language and the other was about a year behind. Emotionally they also seemed much younger but now they are 6 and almost 7 and have mostly caught up. Sometimes I do feel like they act "younger" than some of the other kids their age in the neighborhood but who knows what thats about.

what I think was different is that when kids are babies everything is magical to parents 'ohhh, they just smiled, ohhh they just babbled etc' and with older kids everything is magical to THEM which we enjoyed much more.

I would encourage older child adoption.. if i had it to do over again i wouldnt have done two at once... it about destroyed our family (our older child is VERY ADHD and went undiagnosed until very recently) but we have survived and thrived into a very nice family.

Good luck to you!

alli
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  #6  
Old 12-31-2006, 09:10 AM
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LilyMoon LilyMoon is offline
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Our daughter was 4 when we adopted her. I thought this was a great age to adopt. It had it's challenges when we first came home, since a child of this age is definitely aware of what is going on around them but too young to really understand it all. So she was quite frightened and confused at first. She had to learn to attach to us and to let go of the survival behaviors she learned from orphanage life. It took time, patience and learning about attachment parenting....but I would say within a year we saw this scared child blossom into a well attached and well adjusted little girl who has brought such light and love into our home. It is truly a miracle to watch the transition and be a part of the experience.
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  #7  
Old 12-31-2006, 11:56 AM
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Theresa,
I just know you will adopt again - it's been on your mind for some time. I hope you get the bills under control quickly.
As you know, we requested one child under the age of 12 months. We ended up adopting 2 bio siblings ages 2 & 4. It just goes to show that you don't always know what you want!
Yes, I sometimes mourn the fact that we didn't have them as babies, but they are so wonderful that I cannot imagine anything different. I agree 100% with Crispex's comments.
I would add that older children are able to enjoy all of the things that you want to share with them...Christmas is more fun with a child than with an infant, a trip to the zoo is thrilling, a visit to a playground is great. Our kids love all of those things and we didn't have to wait for them to get older to appreciate it.
Jen
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Just remember that Kayden could come with siblings
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  #8  
Old 12-31-2006, 01:04 PM
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tbristow tbristow is offline
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Jenny---SIBLINGS!!!??? Kayden will already make #6 technically. Yep, I can see that happening to us!!
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  #9  
Old 12-31-2006, 01:46 PM
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Well, having adopted only a three year old, I can say that I don't have anything to compare it to. It worked out well for us because we were able to experience some of the fun stuff of toddlerhood and yet within a year and a half of bringing him home, we placed him into preschool. On the positive side, he had his chicken pox, was completely potty trained and had heard Russian but wasn't able to speak it yet. We are thinking of adopting a child between 5-7 next time so that our son will have a playmate the same age as him.

Good luck, I remember conversing with you lots about St. Petersburg.

Nancy
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  #10  
Old 12-31-2006, 04:17 PM
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Our little guy was 4 when we brought him home last February. He spoke fluent Russian, but within months he had picked up enough English to get by. Now, 10 months later - and after his 5th birthday, the language gap is no problem at all. It's still a fun age. He has bonded very well with us and his older brother (17) and sister (14).
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  #11  
Old 12-31-2006, 07:10 PM
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I'm with Crispex and LilyMoon.

But adopting a slightly older child is a wonderful experience. DD had some survival behaviors (hid food) -- our answer was to put little piles of toddler food down on every flat surface she could reach (whole baby carrots, little veggie sticks, cheerios, teensy apple slices and bits of fresh bagels). At night, we sent her to bed with a REALLY stale bagel, which she could only suck/gum on. Would fall asleep almost instantly, with bagel gripped tightly in one hand....

Sensory and gross motor issues are possible (I'd suggest a PT and OT evaluation shortly after home-comeing). Language barriers can be an issue, but we swear by the book, "My First Thousand Words In Russian" (for communicating), and phonetic word lists for you (for the same).

Why did we choose a slightly older child? I had signed on as a substitute in our local school system in order to get "the inside scoop." Sadly, I had much training with special needs children, and one day was assigned as the teachng assistant in a special needs class. There, I met X, who had an unusual name, a repaired cleft palate, and the most severe autism I'd ever run across. I spent the entire day chasing X. At the end of the day, I commented about his unusual name. Head teacher: "Oh, you didn't know? He was adopted from Russia as a 6-month-old."

Soooo...I realized that he had been my child, I likely would have committed suicide. It ranks up as one of the three worst days of my life, the other two involving the deaths of family members.

I hope this helps! PM if you have questions.s
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  #12  
Old 12-31-2006, 07:34 PM
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To further elaborate - Julia, age 6, is more like 4. In fact, she and my great niece - who is 3 and very, very smart - get along famously. See this Christmas photo of them, showing off new bracelets. So, yes, these older kids - they're definitely emotionally younger than U.S. kids. Lots of happy firsts to enjoy.

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  #13  
Old 12-31-2006, 08:02 PM
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GCS GCS is offline
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Hi Theresa,
As you know, we adopted a 3 year old along with an infant. There are pros and cons, but we would definitely do it again. Actually when we do go back for number 3 it will be for a child that same age (probably 2.5 years to 3.5 years depending on how old Sophia is at that time).

He learned the language quickly. He assimilated into the family and attached to us well, but we did attachment parent and I think this is extremely important for a toddler/preschooler. He had issues with indiscriminate attachment at first, but what would you expect from a child that age who suddenly has parents he is supposed to be attached to that he has never even met before.

He was potty trained - we regressed him to sleeping in pull ups because of the stress his occasional accidents were having on him. I regressed him in rocking him with a sippy cup and lying with him when he went to sleep.
We celebrated a whole different kind of firsts with him. First time in a pool, feeling grass under his feet, eating pizza, seeing a movie, etc. It was a joyous time in many ways. It was a stressful time in many ways.

He was very easily overstimulated and this took a long time to overcome. We had him tested for SI issues but since he was borderline there we never had any formal therapy there. Overall with him I always believed that he was shell-shocked that first year. As if he was waiting for it all to come to an end and desperately clinging to whatever we were doing that day. He didnt get that there would be more tomorrow. It took him a long time to really relax with us.

Today we are home 2 years and things are fine. Its been a really busy, tiring, overstimulated couple of weeks here with the holidays and I have to say that he's been great. Better than great- DH and I both feel this is the best holiday of our lives. Our friends and family cant believe how far he's come.

It took time, but we've come a long way and we feel very blessed to have him in our lives!

Christina
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  #14  
Old 01-01-2007, 07:26 AM
Chris3148 Chris3148 is offline
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We also adopted bio siblings...22 months and 3.7 years old. We were weary about attachment and emotional issues adopting a child around 4 years old BUT we did it.

The first three months home were SO HARD with her. She had many tantrums, tested every rule, and didn't want any part of Dh. But once she learned our home was safe, that she would be there forever, and she learned to talk in English sentences it was a quick turn around. She became a happy, fun, loving little girl. And as for the firsts, she has been home almost 10 months now and still is experiencing so many firsts.

I agree with others that they may be 3 and 1/2 but are emotionally younger than that. I would say our DD now 4.6 is probably about 3.5 emotionally. But is on target or advanced in everything else! We also did regress the potty training at nighttime and put her on a sippy cup. We dressed her, bathed her, brushed her teeth, fed her...she fought all of this because she wanted to show us how independent she could be. But now it justs comes natural to her.

And to be honest, I think I have formed an attachment with my oldest at a deeper level than my youngest. (And youngest was a fairly smooth transition.) I think it's because she understands sooo much and really can communicate her thoughts and feelings, but still act like a little girl. When I say I love her to pieces it doesn't even come close to explaining how much I love this little girl. So, of course I would recommend adopting this age in a minute, although the beginning will be rough. We actually talk about one day maybe going back to adopt an older child, around 6. Funny, since we started the adoption process wanting an infant under 12 months!!!

Good luck to you...and I agree bio sibs are great!
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  #15  
Old 01-01-2007, 08:33 AM
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RainyInGA RainyInGA is offline
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First I have to say to BeckyWW...WOW!!!!! little Julia has just blossomed!! she caught my eye at the embassy, her dark eyes and sweet face,, funny how that day seems surreal now and is playing with your other girls as if she'd been her forever!

Ok here is my two cents worth! I completely agree with all that has been posted. Summer was 3.3 yrs when she came home. Didnt even need pull ups!! She hit the ground running LOVED LOVED LOVED the book My First 1000 words (a lifesaver!)ate anything offered and took a 2 hr nap daily!! Language issues were so non exsistent, you'd swear I was lying! I handed her a milkshake the other day and she said very seriously
"DRINK RESPONSIBLY!!!"
they soak up every darn thing they hear! The firsts are even more fun!
Forget walking and saying mama!
Watching her on Christmas morning opening a pile of presents or holding a little love bird or "wearing makeup"OMG it's such a hoot.The returns emotionally from an older child are huge & immediate.
I stubbed my toe the other day and despite tears running down my face (trying not to swear loudly!) she came up and hugged me and said
"shh... its ok mommy I got you. Im here and I will never go away. then Are you happy?
her goal in life is to make sure everyone around her is happy!
Their characters and personalities as kretz said are simply amazing to watch.
For our family her age was perfect (remember we went in search of a much older child!) We hit the ground running and my older boys adore her in ways I NEVER saw coming. Am I rambling?? LOL can you tell I want to do it all again???
good luck but I say go for it!! Older children have so much to offer.
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