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If you’re considering older child adoption, one of the best things you can do is seek advice from other families. Families who have worked through many of the same fears or concerns you’re now grappling with, and who have gone through the experience of helping an older child adapt to a new country, culture, language — and, in many cases, to life in a family instead of an institution.

Families who have learned how to help their child heal from trauma and long-term institutionalization, and how to build a loving, trusting bond with a child who may have never experienced that kind of bond with a caregiver or family member before.

View the slideshow above to hear from a handful of Holt families who have adopted children at older ages. You can also read more in-depth stories about these families below and, if you would like more advice, you can contact an adoption service specialist to get in touch with an advocate family directly!

The Story Behind the Photo: A Journey Toward Peace and Bonding

For Holt adoptive mom Riann Schell, one photo — taken while bringing her 9-year-old son home from China — is one she cherishes as a big moment in their adoption journey.

Family Foundations

One adoptive mom shares the lessons she and her husband learned as they helped their children overcome the effects of early trauma.

What I Have Learned

Adoptive mom Karen Barnes shares what she has learned over the years as she and her husband, Mike, have welcomed 11 older children into their family.

Older Child Adoption: An Expert Adopts

Holt’s director of clinical services — Celeste Snodgrass — shares about adopting her son Max from Thailand at 9 years old. While an adoption expert by profession, Celeste affirms that no older-child adoption goes perfectly smoothly. But it’s the perfect option for many families, and for children who have been waiting so long.

The First of Many Firsts as Family

Adoptive dad Keith Guess shares about his family’s experience with older child adoption, how it differs from adopting babies, and how Spencer and Leo — two teen brothers from Vietnam — have adjusted to their new home, and their new life, in the U.S.

Waiting for So Long

As 16-year-old Van Dai prepares to meet his adoptive family, and his adoptive family prepares to meet him, they share what they’re nervous about, what they’re excited about, and why they are so eager to finally meet one another.

How Our Family Became the Subject of a Documentary

When a documentary filmmaker approached Elizabeth and Jud Curry about filming their lives as a multiracial, international adoptive family of 12, they hesitated. But then their 9-year-old daughter, recently adopted from China, asked a question that so surprised them, they decided to say yes — welcoming viewers inside their lives and home.

A Father Speaks for Older Child Adoption

Adoptive dad and first-time parent Tom Court shares about deciding to pursue older child adoption, his son Eric, and how adopting an older child may be right for you and your family.

smiling adoptive parents holding son adopted from thailand and baby girl

Older children are waiting for families!

Many children wait longer for a family simply because they are older in age. Could you be the right family to adopt an older child? Meet some of the children who are waiting!

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