It took me almost two years to get pregnant with my first child, my daughter. During that time, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to have children and we briefly considered adopting. Like most couples, the first thing we thought of was adopting a baby. Thankfully, I did get pregnant and adoption wasn’t something that we looked into. But, for many couples, adoption is a way to bring a child into their home. I’m sharing this information with you today because it’s important to me.
Help Children in Foster Care for National Adoption Month
There are 428,000 youth in the U.S. foster care system and 112,000 are waiting to be adopted. AdoptUSKids’ maintains a national photo listing service for children waiting to be adopted. Since the project launched in 2002, more than 26,000 children who were once photo listed on adoptuskids.org have been adopted and nearly 39,000 families have registered to adopt through the website. Nevertheless, older youth are disproportionally represented – approximately 43% percent of children and youth photo listed on adoptuskids.org are between 15 and 18 years old, but only 17% of those adopted have been in this age group.
Older teens have lower adoption rates than younger children, and they often wait longer to be adopted. But no matter their age, all kids need a supportive, loving home, and the teenage years are a critical period.
Why Older Youth?
- All of us – and that includes older youth in foster care who are waiting to be adopted – need and want families throughout life to support us and to share important life events. Learning to drive a car, applying for higher education, and birthday and holiday celebrations are just a few examples of the times in life we need and want to share with family.
- Older youth generally wait longer to be adopted, and have lower overall adoption rates.
- On AdoptUSKids.org, roughly 43 percent of the children and youth actively photolisted are between the ages of 15 and 18 years old. (Most recent stats as of September 30, 2016)
- Families who adopt older youth are providing them with the support and stability of a family during a critical period of normal adolescent concerns and additional self-identity issues.