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Things Parents Need To Consider When Adopting Older Children

family in the sunset
Photo by Mike Scheid on Unsplash

There are roughly 100 thousand children every year, in the United States alone, who are awaiting adoption.

And not just babies or infants.

This includes children in their teens and pre-teens.

They often need to be adopted owing to sad circumstances, like being taken out of homes where they were neglected and abused.

Sadly, the transitions into their new life are often turbulent, and while the eventual outcome is often happy, that sadly isn't always the case.

Redditor ComplexPick was curious to hear the first hand experiences of parents who adopted older children, as well as any advice they might offer those considering it, leading them to ask:
"Parents who have adopted a older child (5 and up), how has it gone for you? Do you regret it or would you recommend other parents considering adoption look into a older child?"

If You Want To Do It, Be Sure You Want To Do It For Them.

"Adopted a child who was 11 when I was 21."

"He was my wife's younger cousin and his household was marred with substance abuse, filth, instability, and mental health issues."

"Knew it was bad but didn't know how bad."

"Took him (11) and his brother (14) for a summer once, just to give them a break from, what we thought was, a dirty house with an overwhelmed parent."

"Until I took them back the week before school started and saw the filth first hand, the smell and the random people coming in/out, the wreckage we were about to have to leave them in, the fact that in this time his Xbox and games, I had hand-me-downed him, has been sold along with their TV."

"The two had 1 mattress on a floor and the younger one said 'I can't wait for school to start back' and when I asked why, he said 'Because then I get to eat every day, like when I'm at your house'."

"I told them to just get back in the car."

"His mother never even called to ask why he or his brother didn't come home until tax season, to make sure we didn't claim them on our taxes, etc."

"Never wished him a happy birthday, Christmas, nothing."

"My wife and I grew up very quickly."

"We worked hard and got full custody about a year later when he was 12."

"He grew up healthy and happy, successful with great grades and a good head on his shoulders."

"His brother who was 14 lived with us for the first year then would go back and forth trying to help his mom get her life together before returning again, but for the most part during those years, the younger child we had full custody of and the older child came/went as he needed."

"It wasn't until years later when the younger of the two moved out with his friends, instead of taking our offer to go to college right after school, and began having substance abuse issues of his own that we learned the extent of the abuse he had endured at home for nearly his entire childhood and kept inside."

"Sexual and physical for years starting when he was about 5 from his mothers 'friends' and boyfriends and even a family member due to their terrible situation."

"It was heartbreaking."

"He ended up going through a pretty severe addiction period in his early to mid 20s and regardless what we've tried and how many small successes we've worked with him to reach, he always ends up in a severe depression and turning back to drugs again."

"The last time I talked to him, about a week ago, I told him I loved him and would help him get into a very nice rehab community when he's ready and help him get a good job and place for himself, but only when he's ready to be clean and until then, we simply can't do anything with/for him..and it was hard to do."

"I am in the 2nd half of my 30's now, have 3 children in grade school who need me like he did then who also love him, our oldest looks at him like a big brother, but unfortunately we have to keep our distance a bit so they don't have to see close-up the ugly side of addiction in someone they love."

"Now that he's an adult in his mid 20's himself making these choices, we can't have any real relationship other than the occasional call or letter until he's done."

"He loves them too, but he's got some demons that we cannot possibly understand and until he's ready to get help for them or help for his addiction, we don't have much of a relationship."

"His brother worked hard and straightened their mother out over the years into a functioning adult and mother, got her life together, a job, a place, everything and as adults, never left her."

"In fact, due to him, his brother spent the last year of his teens sharing our household and hers back/forth which wouldn't have been possible without him."

"The older brother and her are roommates now and we are very proud of him for the man he's become, what he's persevered, and the incredible progress he's made with their mother and how he's stuck by her side now providing as equals."

"I never realized it, but he and I really grew up together, only being 5-6 years apart in age and were best friends for years as young adults even after his younger brother moved out."

"One of my biggest regrets is somehow letting those days end."

"He loves his brother too, but his and his mother's relationship with his brother is the same as ours, the delicate balance between helpful/love vs enabling due to understanding the pain he's probably trying to understand/repress, until he's able to beat this, and he will."

"Nothing is perfect, just what you make of it I suppose, but it has highlighted to us how important the early years of a child's development are and how damaging all forms of abuse can be, regardless how much effort you put into trying to change things afterward, and also how important it is for a child to have an adult who genuinely cares about them, since sadly many don't."

"Would I recommend it?"

"Yes, but be honest with yourself why you're doing it and know what you're getting into."

"You're not getting a good/bad kid, you're getting an opportunity to be a good/bad parent."

"Children this age need you as much as a baby does, they bring happiness the same as a baby does and also present their own unique challenges the same as parents do, which is what they're signing up for too without knowing, and most importantly the reason you should be adopting is for them."

"You get to give your love, time, affection and a portion of your life, and heart, too."

"Would I do it again?"

"Every single time."- saaatchmo

Be Prepared.

"My wife and I adopted an older girl from our state's foster system."

"The girl was 13 when we adopted her and we were told she had a rough childhood full of abuse and she had been diagnosed with 'general mood disorder'."

"Little did we know that the psychological assessment was done by an unqualified state doctor and this little girl had severe issues that required more care than my wife and I were prepared for."

"We spent 5 years dealing with fighting, arguing, run away attempts, drug use, alcohol abuse, constant emotional manipulation, constant lying, stealing, etc."

"She was also in constant contact with her schizophrenic birth mother behind our backs, the woman kept feeding our daughter conspiracy theories and lies and constantly making the situation worse for all of us."

"We tried the best we could for 5 whole years, trying various different therapists, trying different parenting methods, seeing different doctors, all to no avail."

"It wasn't until about 5 months before her 18th birthday that we had to have her committed and we finally got a proper diagnosis."

"She was diagnosed with bi-polar and BPD and we finally had an answer to the years of hell we all had to go thru."

"We did our research and learned the proper way to parent a child with these conditions and things began to improve over the last few months she was with us, but on her 18th birthday she bailed and we haven't seen her since, that was 5 years ago."- Dragonace1000

The Love They Never Knew

"I feel I got lucky."

"He was 9 when we adopted him, but he was just grateful to have a home and people who loved him."

"My wife and I love him dearly as he does us."- TyrannoDragon

Have Absolutely No Doubts.

"My pre-adoptive son just moved in 6 weeks ago."

"He’s almost 10."

"Him getting here has been a bit of a long and wild story but he’s been in care since he was 6."

"It hasn’t been easy but there’s SO many older kids who need families."

"My biggest thing is just to make DAMN sure you’re committed."

"Know your limits."

"Be honest with yourself and your adoption coordinator."

"And demand honesty from the social worker as well."

"Ask for psych evals and treatment histories."

"Because if you convince yourself 'oh I can handle this' and you change your mind?"

"You are re-traumatizing that child."

"My son has complex trauma from years of abuse but the thing he talks about most after his meltdowns?"

"Having to leave his first pre-adoptive home because he kept losing his temper and throwing things."

"He’s been in 4-5 placements and a PRTF since then."

"I work with girls involved in juvenile justice so I felt uniquely prepared for this situation and even for me, it’s been physically and emotionally exhausting."

"I’m a single parent and we’re in the middle of a global pandemic so I’m sure that’s a factor."

"But if you choose to adopt there shouldn’t be any 'changing your mind' or 'this just isn’t working out'."

"That kiddo is part of your family."

"My son and I have a little mantra 'together forever. Even when things get hard, even when things get sad'.”- camilouwhooo

Not Everyone Is Meant To Be A Parent

"I adopted a 7 YO from foster care in 2017."

"It was an absolute failure."

"My wife pushed me to choose this child even though I didn’t feel the 'sparks' everyone talks about when meeting or hearing about their kids."

"I separated from my wife in 2018 and we shared custody for about a year."

"I asked her for a short break, and she took the child and never returned him."

"I can’t say I’m unhappy about her choice."

"I didn’t really fight for her to bring him back."

"I have seen him only a few times since then."

"I care for him as a human being and of course wish no harm upon him, but I’m not his parent."

"It’s one of the most difficult things I’ve been through."- bearbearbare

Older children who are hoping to be adopted need love above all else.

Sadly, love can't solve every problem.

But any parent committed to loving their children, no matter how difficult things might get, will ensure that they will somehow, in some way come out on top of all their troubles.

Even if it sometimes takes more love than you can possibly imagine.

People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.