What to Know About Adopting an Older Child from Foster Care

At FCCA, we specialize in helping families adopting an older child from foster care in California — otherwise known as our “fos-adopt” program.

There are more than 58,000 children in foster care in California, and many of them are in desperate need of loving and supportive families. Just because a child is older doesn’t mean they don’t need a family just as much as a younger child; in fact, older children who are adopted from foster care are more likely to finish high school, go to college and be more emotionally secure than their peers who remain in or age out of the foster care system. Families who choose to adopt an older child from the foster care system, therefore, make a huge difference in the life of a child who has likely been looking for support and love their entire life.

If you’re considering adopting an older child from foster care in California, our adoption professionals can explain more about the fos-adopt process and important things you should know before moving forward. You can always contact our offices for more information.

How the Process Works with Our Agency

Unlike other foster care adoption agencies, FCCA’s fos-adopt program focuses solely on placing children in your home that you can adopt. We will never ask you to “just” be foster parents to a child, and our low-legal-risk, adoption-focused program helps us make your older child adoption happen.

As a prospective adoptive parent, you will always have the chance to specify exactly what characteristics you wish for in an adopted child, including exactly how old you want them to be. We believe that there is a waiting child in foster care that is right for every family, and we will work with you through the process to find the adoption opportunity that’s best for you.

In general, here’s how the process of adopting an older child from foster care works with our agency:

  1. You’ll attend information sessions to learn more about adopting an older child from foster care.
  2. You’ll complete the adoption home study and foster care approval.
  3. You and your assigned social worker will search for a waiting child in the foster care system who meets your adoption goals and preferences.
  4. Once you find a child you’re interested in, you’ll submit an inquiry to the county social worker.
  5. Once approved, the child will be placed in your home, and your social worker and county social worker will visit you at least once a month.
  6. Your adoption will be finalized after a minimum of six months in the home and after all parental rights are terminated.

FCCA’s adoption professionals will guide you through every step of this process, making sure that you understand what is happening and that you are comfortable with your choices at all times. And our assistance doesn’t end after placement — your social worker will be available to help you find the resources you need as you and your child adjust to your new life together.

Advantages of Adopting an Older Child from Foster Care

With so many adoption processes available to prospective adoptive parents today, why is adopting an older child from foster care a good choice?

Perhaps the biggest advantage of choosing to adopt an older child rather than an infant from foster care is the low legal risk associated with this kind of adoption. As mentioned, FCCA’s fos-adopt program focuses on low-risk placements, in which it’s highly unlikely that an adoption will be disrupted after a child has been placed in a home with prospective adoptive parents. Because these older children are in such need of a supportive family, it’s rare than a planned adoption will fall through.

In addition, choosing to adopt an older child from foster care often results in a much shorter wait time than adopting an infant from foster care or completing a private infant adoption or international adoption. Because there are so many children in the California foster care system, most families who work with our program receive a placement within six months. What characteristics you desire in a child will always determine how long you will wait for a placement but, generally, the older a child you are open to welcoming to your family, the shorter that wait will be.

When talking about child characteristics, know that adopting an older child from foster care will also give you a greater variety of children to choose from — so you can find the exact one that’s right for your family. While families who want to adopt an infant will select from a smaller number of available children, those who are open to older children will usually have more choice in gender, race and background of the child they adopt. Your assigned social worker will work with you throughout your adoption to help you find the right adoption opportunity for your goals.

Finally, while adoption is always a life-changing process for every adoptee, adopting an older child from foster care in California gives a new life to those who most desperately need it. Older foster children have often spent years in and out of the foster system and are at the critical age of identity development where they need a supportive, permanent home. No one ever outgrows the need for a family, and adopting an older child makes a huge difference in that child’s life — letting them pursue hopes and dreams that may have been impossible to them before.

Things to Consider About Adopting an Older Child from Foster Care

The benefits of adopting an older child from foster care certainly inspire many families to pursue this kind of adoption process, and our professionals at FCCA are honored to help you complete this journey. Along the way, we will also ensure that you understand some of the more challenging aspects of adopting an older foster child, too.

Bringing an older child into your family will require respect, patience, and unconditional love. Children in foster care have already been through trauma in being placed in foster care, including any trauma they experienced in their birth parents’ home that may have led to their placement. When you bring a child with this kind of history into your family, there will be an adjustment period as they learn to trust and love you as their new parents.

When you work with FCCA, you will receive education and training to help you prepare for adopting an older child from foster care, whether that’s a history of trauma, emotional and behavioral challenges or other special needs. We will support you throughout the process. Know that more than 99 percent of families who receive an older child placement with our agency successfully complete their adoption and are happily thriving in their new roles.

With the right commitment and preparation, adopting an older child from foster care in California can be a fulfilling and successful way of adding to your family, and our adoption professionals will always be there to help. To learn more about our fos-adopt program, please contact our agency.