Adopting Older Kids Takes Patience, But It’s Worth It

Tween girl depicts adopting older kids

I wanted to share my experience with all of you, so you can get a look at adopting older kids.

When I first met my new family, I was excited. It all happened in about a month, so I didn’t have much time to think about what was really going on. It was all new and exciting, having these two people come and visit my brother and me at the orphanage. They brought us food, games, and books to help us learn some English.

Once in America, I started to act out

When we finally flew to America, my behavior toward my new parents completely changed. I started to rebel and not want anything to do with them. They made rules for us, which I wasn’t okay with. Aside from a few rules in the orphanage, I never had any growing up. Even in the orphanage, I ran away several times so I didn’t have to follow any rules. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do, especially people who were not my birth family.

Of course, our parents continued to enforce those rules even when I acted out and didn’t want to follow them. At times, I wished I would be sent back to the orphanage in Ukraine. I wanted my friends back. My brother and I weren’t getting along that well and we fought constantly, which made everything worse.

I know adopting older kids is a huge challenge, which is why I am thankful everyday that my parents had the strength to do that. My brother and I both had so much baggage from our past. We were old enough to remember, so it was harder for us to adjust to our new life. I didn’t want to accept my new mom because in my mind I felt like I was replacing my birth mom. I wasn’t going to let that happen. I had so much guilt because I felt like I was letting my birth mom down because I wasn’t back in Russia with her and providing her with food and money.

I’ve come a long way since my adoption

The most amazing thing about my parents is that they never gave up. My brother and I both put them through a ten-year roller coaster ride, which to this day hasn’t slowed. They continue to be by our sides through absolutely everything. That takes two incredibly strong people.

I would say “patience” is the biggest thing with adopting older kids. At times, my parents had no patience and neither did I, but somehow we went through it. There have been so many times when I just wanted to give up on this family, but I knew these people really cared about me. I remember telling my mom the most horrific things when I first came to America. I told her she wasn’t my real mom, that I hated her, that I would rather be back in Ukraine. I know it hurt her more than anything because she just wanted a daughter to talk to and do things with. My brother would also use hurtful words toward both of them and talk back when more rules were enforced.

My brother and I have both come a long way since the first day we stepped off that plane in United States. Today, we are both extremely close to our parents. We tell them absolutely everything. I have so many friends who don’t tell their parents any of the stuff I share with my family. I am completely open with them about my life and what I am doing. Even when I know it will disappoint them, I tell them because they share their wisdom and good advice. They are always there for me.

When adopting older kids, many worry about bonding

I have met a few people who are worried about adopting older kids because they think they will never have a close bond with them because they remember too much of their childhood somewhere else. I don’t think this is true because I spent half of my life in Ukraine and Russia, and the other half in United States. I have the closest relationship with my parents than with anyone else I have ever had in my life. Not many people can say that their parents are their best friends, but mine truly are. They are honestly the most amazing family I could have ever asked for. I give them so much credit for the courage they had to adopt my brother and me. I have gone through a lot in the past, and they helped me become the person I am today by providing me with care, unconditional love, support, getting me through school, friend trouble, relationships, and even to this day, they are helping me grow and become and independent young woman.

Because of my parents and how much my life was changed, I myself, want to adopt kids someday. I wish I could adopt every child out there and give them hope like I was given, but I can start with at least one. I want people to know that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies; it takes a lot of commitment when adopting older kids, but it is worth it. My parents inspire me every single day and I cannot be more proud to say I am adopted.