Are you looking to adopt a teenager? Let’s take a look at the process you’ll need to go through. The average age of a child waiting to be adopted is seven years old. However, children of all ages are available for adoption. These children may have special needs based on their age and medical history.
Adopting a teenager is possible through domestic or international adoption. Teenagers can also enter into foster care, though this requires the birth parents’ permission, and not every teen in need of a home will qualify as a candidate for foster care.
If you’re interested in fostering, there may be programs that will allow you to adopt the child once he or she turns 18 or 21 depending on state law [if they were abused during their time in foster care].
If you know you want to adopt a teenager, it’s important to understand that the process of adjustment will take several months. In addition to the regular adoption process, you may need to plan for a transitional period before and after your teen moves in with you.
Teenagers who age out of foster care often return home after high school when they aren’t ready for college or employment. You can help them make these transitions by having available resources they can draw on.
Depending on their needs, consider offering financial support, health insurance, job training/placement services, counseling, supplies (especially if they didn’t bring any possessions when they moved in), clothing/shoes that fit properly, backpacks, and other school supplies like binders at the start of the school year. Also, be aware that many programs designed to help teenagers adjust don’t end when they are of legal age as they continue to need support.
So, how do you adopt a teenager?
It’s easier than adopting an infant or young child because teenagers are old enough to make their own decisions and they tend to be more responsible, mature, and open-minded. However, it can still take some time to get approved by the state even if the teen agrees that this new arrangement is what they want.
Depending on your local laws, you’ll have to follow certain procedures in order for the adoption to go through. This means studying up on these processes before you contact any agencies or courts so that there are no delays when it comes time for an actual hearing. Once again, be prepared for potential resistance from some teens who don’t understand why this process is necessary as they may be content with their current situation.
The teen may feel that you are trying to replace their parents. While this is not true, it’s important to recognize the feelings of inadequacy and fear while putting things in perspective. It can help to explain why you want to adopt them so they understand your motives.
One important thing to remember is that even though this process takes place quickly because of the urgency, once it’s completed the teen should be able to experience other benefits such as health care coverage, tax exemptions, and other perks reserved for legally adopted children.
The Costs Associated With Adopting A Teenager
When contemplating adopting a teenager you must understand the potential costs involved. The average cost of the process will vary depending on which state you live in and how much time is needed to complete it. The median range is $2,000-$3,000 according to private adoption agencies such as Adoptive Families and Children’s Home Society based in Florida along with other personal resources based in Florida.
The Process Of Adopting A Teenager
There are a few steps involved in adopting a teenager that may help alleviate some of the uncertainty experienced by couples interested in providing a loving home for teenagers who need one. These steps are outlined below.
– Meet With An Agency To Explain Your Situation
Agencies exist for this very reason–to help people adopt children from difficult situations or without having them fall into child trafficking. Ask an adoption agency how you can get started.
– Create A Support Network For Yourself And Your Adopted Teenager
Since this is a new experience for everyone involved, it’s important to create support around yourself and the new family member that has joined your home. Take time to talk with friends or relatives who have adopted teenagers themselves, read books on the subject, and ask others if they have any advice for you.
– Map Out A Future For Your Home As You Know It Today
Some people are already parents when they decide to adopt while some are not yet parents. Once you’ve decided on adopting a teenager, you’ll want to map out where things are going in terms of your family member(s) doing chores, and the basic rules of the home.
You’ll also want to sit down and talk with your existing kids about the changes they can expect. If this is a second or third child, you may have rules already established for how chores are handled and who does what. It’s important to let the new member of your family know what those rules are.
Do You Have Support?
People often think that once they bring their new teenagers into their home, somehow everyone will magically help out more than before – after all, it’s “the right thing” to do. Unfortunately, most teens don’t come with training manuals on how they’ll act in the home you’re providing them with. You will need to sit down and talk about family roles and with everyone involved so there is a common understanding.