02/09/2022 AWFC

The Benefits of Adopting a Teenager in Foster Care

Embracing the unique reality children bring into any home is an unexpected journey. Adopting a teenager in foster opens the door for a wealth of new experiences, opportunities to learn, and transformative growth.

Often, teenagers aren’t included in talks of adoption due to myths that create negative feelings around their possible adoption. In this article, we’d like to provide a roadmap to dispel those myths and offer information to support potential adoptive parents in their journey to supporting teenagers in the foster care system.

Getting Started

Since 2010, the number of children ages 12–17 in the Texas foster care system has increased every year. Opening your home to a child as an emotional and physical support is one of the many ways to advocate for children in transitional living situations. But, how do you get started? Let’s start with the basics to begin your adoption journey.

Basic Requirements

Remember, you are bringing a child into your home, and as with many things, there are a few basic requirements you need to meet before continuing the next steps in the adoption process.

  • Be at least 24 years of age, financially stable, and responsible mature adults,
  • Complete an application (staff will assist you, if you prefer),
  • Share information regarding their background and lifestyle,
  • Provide relative and non-relative references,
  • Show proof of marriage and/or divorce (if applicable),
  • Agree to a home study, which includes visits with all household members,
  • Allow staff to complete a criminal history background check and an abuse/neglect check on all adults in the household, and
  • Attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children.

How Does Adopting a Teenager Work?

As a potential new parent to a teenager, knowledge is a powerful tool. We’d like to help guide you in your research with these simple steps to pave the way for successful adoption.

Step 1: Preparation

Preparation is simply to make room for what is coming. Many adoptive parents feel pressured to reach perfection before considering adoption, however, that is not what foster youths need. Physical safety, socio-emotional connection, and unconditional support allow children to thrive. As a possible parent, consider in what ways you can give this to children who may not have experienced it at full capacity and then ask yourself, am I prepared?

Step 2: Meet Basic Requirements

As a potential parent, make sure you are meeting the basic requirements before continuing the adoption process. This includes enrolling in Parent Resource Information Development Education (PRIDE), a curriculum to prepare parents for welcoming a child into their home.

Step 3: Consult an Agency

The final step involves connecting with a foster or adoption agency such as A World for Children (AWFC). Spend time discussing their foster-to-adopt program and how to connect with a child who needs your love and support. Teenagers in the foster care system are resilient and should be matched with families who empower them to explore other aspects of their personality, interest, and dreams– an adoption agency has all the tools to support this pursuit.

Benefits of Adopting a Teenager

When making the decision to adopt a teenager, there are a handful of benefits that you should consider. These include:

Open Communication

Adopting a teenager grants access to better communication. Instead of trying to understand the babbles of a baby, a teenager can more clearly communicate their needs. You can hold conversations with your adopted teenager regarding expectations or help them through their experiences.

More Information

There is a lot of misinformation about adoption, including which children deserve to be adopted. As a new adoptive parent, it is your job to dispel these myths and open your home to a child who would benefit from your relationship. Your job is to reframe the narrative of finding the “best” fit but connecting the right fit for the child. Teenagers in foster care need the same love and support as any other child. Consider Mikki’s success story when starting your journey.

Fortunately, there are ample resources available for new parents. You can find online or in-person assistance for understanding these myths yourself and learning how to dispel them.

Guidance and Support

Both you and your adopted teenager can benefit from the guidance and support that comes with adoption. You have the support of your chosen foster or adoption agency and your adopted teenager has your support and guidance. As a group, you, your teenager, and the foster agency can work together to create a secure and welcoming environment.

Start Your Adoption Journey with AWFC

Adopting a teenager in Texas is a rewarding experience for everyone involved. At A World For Children, we’ve made it our mission to connect abused and neglected children across the state with secure and loving homes. From Amarillo to Dallas to Round Rock, we can help you through the adoption process no matter where you are. When you’re ready to start this journey, reach out to our foster-to-adopt professionals at A World For Children.

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