Adopting an Older Boy

Article written by Heather Matthews on December 11, 2014

Our adoption story started nine years ago when my husband and I decided to create our family through adoption.  After a lot of research we decided that China was the right country for us, and later moved to China’s Waiting Child Program.  Seven years ago we brought home a beautiful two year old daughter.

A few months later we were ready to begin the paperwork for our next child when I was diagnosed with cancer.  After treatment and hitting the all-important five year survival mark we began to consider adoption again.  After several starts and stops, we were introduced to Children’s House Internationa(CHI).  Through our first email exchanges and calls, we knew we had found our agency.  I am very grateful for CHI’s encouragement and support.

Early on we learned of the current state of adoption in China.  Everyone thinks that only little girls are available for adoption, but in reality 75% of the kids on the shared list (adoption-ready but not assigned to an agency) are boys.  Many have conditions that are easily manageable here in the U.S, many more have had their health issues addressed and are completely healthy – their biggest challenge is being an older boy.  The fact that an older boy has nearly no chance of ever having a family is sobering.

Fairly quickly we learned about the 9 year old boy that would become our son.  The China team at our agency answered countless questions, and shared his medical file as well as photos and videos.  They gave us the time we needed to make our decision to move forward with adoption.  We felt that our agency prepared us for the steps ahead, answered questions, reviewed paperwork, quickly got each document submitted and offered encouragement.

We’ve been home for a short time and already I cannot remember what life was like without our son.  I encourage everyone reading our story to consider the joy a son can bring to your family!

Having been through the adoption and adjustment process two times, I can honestly say that for us one was not harder than the other – just different.  The challenges are different when you bring a child with his own life experiences and expectations into your family, but it was also hard to have a crying toddler in my arms and guessing what she needed!

We bonded with our son through games on an iPad instead of play dough.  When our daughter came home, we were excited about small milestones like sleeping through the night and her first words. I cried the first time our son rode a bike – it was amazing to see that smile on his face.  My heart melted when he said “I love you” for the first time.  I was so proud of this incredibly brave little boy on his first day of school.

Our home is definitely full of noise and activity these days.  Boys bring that – and that’s a good thing!  I am constantly amazed by my son.  I cannot imagine what it would be like at age 10 to leave behind the life and language you knew to come to the U.S. with a family you just met.  Our son, like every child wanted and needed a family and he stepped forward in faith.  And we did the same.