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Putting a Child Up for Adoption at Age 5 or Older

A Breakdown of Placing Older Children for Adoption by Age

If you’re considering placing an older child for adoption, you’re not alone. It may come as a surprise, but many women in America ask questions about placing their older children for adoption. We hear questions about putting a child up for adoption at age 5, how to put a 7-year-old up for adoption and putting a child up for adoption at age 8 and beyond.

There are resources to help you during this time.

We don’t know what exactly you’re going through, but we do know the situation must be difficult. There are a variety of circumstances that could lead you to asking about people that want to adopt an 11-year-old, or people that want to adopt an 8-year-old. No one knows your specific context, and no one should pass any judgement on you for asking the question.

However, before we get started, it's important to note that American Adoptions primarily specializes in the placement of newborns and infants. Please know that American Adoptions is unable to provide adoption services for children over 4 years old. 

While we are able to work with women placing older infants and toddlers up to a few years old on a case-by-case basis, our agency is not the best-equipped professional to assist with the placement of children ages 5 and up. 

If you are considering the placement of a child older than 5, there are many professionals that may be better equipped to handle your particular situation; we have listed some of these options for you to reach out to below.

That being said, we want to provide answers to your questions, regardless of your reason for considering adoption for your older child. Understanding the resources you can access, the options that are possible and the professionals who can help will inform your choice.

We've done our best to outline helpful information in this article to help point you and your child in the right direction moving forward.

Can I place my older child for adoption?

Creating an adoption plan for an older child is more difficult than placing newborns or younger children for adoption.

As children grow older, there are fewer adoption agencies and professionals who are equipped to handle the adoption process in an ideal way. Additionally, the transition that comes with adoption is much more difficult for a child to cope with as they age.

To help answer questions you may have about adoption, we’ll walk through several different ages and look at some of the unique challenges to consider about placing your older child for adoption.

Steps to Putting a Child Up for Adoption at Age 5

At 5 years old, a child is near the top age range of what most adoption agencies are capable of placing. Unfortunately, there are fewer families who are looking to adopt a 5-year-old child through private domestic adoption.

At the age of 5, adoption will be a more difficult transition for a child than if they were younger, as a 5-year-old has had time to form significant attachment and patterns in life that would change when he or she was adopted into a new family.

How to Find an Adoptive Family for My 6-Year-Old

Finding adoptive families for older children can be a unique challenge. Many adoption agencies are unable to provide service at this age, and the best route available could be speaking with a social service professional about local resources that could improve your situation and allow you to continue parenting your child.

How to Put a 7-Year-Old Up for Adoption

We know that, as a parent asking this question, you have the best interests of your child in mind, and so does American Adoptions. That’s why it’s important to understand that many adoption agencies will not be able to provide the specific services you need for this process.

As a 7-year-old, a child is likely to have sensitive relational, behavioral and social needs that must be considered in any attempted adoption.

Putting a Child Up for Adoption at Age 8

By the age of 8, a child is relatively far along in their development. They are likely reading and writing; they have friends at school and a pattern to everyday life.

Adoption can cause a disruption in this pattern and development that will be difficult for a child to handle. If you are thinking about putting a child up for adoption at age 8, there may be other options to improve your life and the life of your child.

Adopt My Child at the Age of 9

We may think of 9-year-olds as just kids, but their mental development is more complex than most people realize. At 9, a child is piecing together a conception of the world — trying to understand what’s happening, explain problems and cope with emotional pain.

At this stage of development, transitioning to a new family can be difficult for a 9-year-old to understand. Even though your motivation is coming completely from a place of love, that fact can be hard for a child to grasp.

Can I Put My 10-Year-Old Up for Adoption?

It’s a question more people ask than you think. There are very few adoption agencies able to work with voluntary placements of children who are 10 years old.

Local social services and your department of child services are likely the professionals most equipped to help.

How to Put a Child Up for Adoption at 11 Years Old

At 11, a child is reaching the beginning of adolescence. Developmentally, this is already a sensitive time for any child.

If you’re experiencing problems because of this and it’s led you to seek to adoption, there is a chance that local resources can be of significant help to your family.

Families Looking to Adopt a 12-Year-Old

Every child needs a safe, loving family. Although it is difficult to hear, there are much fewer families looking to adopt a 12-year-old than families looking to adopt younger children.

Don’t lose heart — you can reach out to local professionals who can provide resources that will aid in your situation.

The Importance of Sibling Groups

In any of these cases, there is one factor that must be taken into consideration: the importance of sibling groups.

If you are considering putting a child up for adoption at age 5, or at an older age, you may have younger children as well. Many mothers we hear from in these situations are seeking adoption for all their children.

Research has shown conclusively that maintaining sibling groups through adoption is incredibly beneficial to a child’s development and health. Adoption can be a difficult transition for a child, especially a child who is already 5 years old or older. A sibling is a constant familial presence, and this consistency can be an anchor when everything else is changing.

If you are seeking to place both your older and younger children for adoption, it is important to be clear about this with an adoption professional. A sibling group adoption can change the circumstances of an older child adoption.

Resources for Parenting

As we previously mentioned, there are many resources available that may help make parenting easier for you.

These resources will vary based on where you live. Some states and cities are more generous with their social services support networks than others.

We highly recommend seeking these resources out in your area. Parenting may seem impossible right now, but it could become much more feasible with some extra help.

Some places to start looking are:

Speaking with a Professional

This is a lot of information, and it may seem overwhelming. The best step you can take next is to contact a qualified professional. This could be your state's department of social services, one of the parenting resources listed above, a local attorney, an organization like Safe Families for Children, or even a local priest.

Seeking guidance during this difficult decision can be helpful in understanding what your options are and how you can find the best solution for yourself and your child. Although American Adoptions may not be the best professional to assist in placing your child, there are many organizations that are ready to help women in your situation. 

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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