In China, countless children over the age of three years old have been waiting to get adopted for more than 20 years. In India, children below eight are more likely to get adopted. Other developed countries in Europe and America also struggle more to place children older than eight for adoption than those who are under the age of three.
As you can see, this is a universal issue. The older the child is, the more difficult it is for them to get adopted. And even after children are adopted, the breakdown rates in Europe are sometimes as high as 27%.
So, why are adoptive parents so hesitant to welcome older children into their lives?
Older children are already molded
Children’s personalities are defined by their experiences. And as you can guess, foster children don’t always have the best experiences. The psychological traumas, struggles and emotional distress they witness form a concrete part of their personalities.
As a result, they develop personalities and viewpoints quicker than other children their age, which can sometimes make it difficult for adoptive families to adjust with them.
Babies have fewer emotional issues
Older children observe more, absorb more, experience more. The psychological effects of being separated from their primary caregivers, who they have bonded with for most if not all of the early parts of their lives, may have immense consequences on growing up.
Younger children, on the other hand, don’t have enough experiences or the mental bandwidth to form permanent emotional responses to issues. Therefore, they are chosen over older children.
How can we help?
All kids deserve a happy home - regardless of their age. Rather than waiting for the Balkan government to make arrangements for foster kids, we should all do our bit. Families that are financially well-off, especially, should consider providing foster kids with a shot at a better life.
There are hundreds of older babies in Western Balkan who are waiting for someone to open their forever home for them.
With a little love, care, and lots of patience, adoptive parents can support foster kids in finding enough comfort in their new homes.
All you have to do is reach out to them!