Fourteen got me thinking.
My son Sam, adopted at age 6 from China, turns 14 today. He is an amazing boy and I’m so very privileged to be the one he calls mom. He is sensitive, sweet, funny, thoughtful and so much more. He also has some developmental delays and learning disabilities. We didn’t know that last part when we brought him home at age 6 but we rolled with it and found him the help he needed.
He has enriched and blessed all who know him. At school, in the neighborhood, and at church he is well known and loved. I can’t imagine life without my Sam. So we have been celebrating his birthday for the past few days, keeping it low key though no big party. Dinner with the family one night, cake at school last Friday, and today his regular activities with a little extra attention. All happy events marking his 14th birthday.
For an orphan living in a Chinese orphanage turning 14 is not as happy an event. Fourteen marks the age you are no longer eligible for adoption. Most of the children who have not been adopted by age 14 have either physical or cognitive special needs. They are allowed to stay in the orphanage and continue their education or seek employment but life is not easy. The stigma of the orphan follows them out of the orphanage. They are considered unlucky or cursed.
This article on the Love Without Boundaries website explains the difficulties for the older orphan who is no longer adoptable who must stay in China. It’s hard to fight the cultural stigma and come out on top.
Sam may have had someone else step up to adopt him had we not but there are still lots of children who don’t get adopted before their 14th birthday. Below I am highlighting different adoption agencies and the advocacy work they are doing for older and special needs children.
If you have a heart for the orphan or have considered older child adoption please check out the links below and the sweet children available for adoption. Adopting is not the only way to help the orphan, if you are not able to bring a child into your home there are still ways to help. Advocacy and financial donations so that others can adopt are just two.
If you’ve adopted older children I’d love to hear your story please comment or contact me. Or if you know of other organizations advocated older child adoption let me know.