Adoption: Teens Need Families, No Matter What


I have to admit that I didn’t fully appreciate my parents when I was a teen. It wasn’t until moving out of the house for the first time that I realized just how much I really needed them! When I burned French toast and set off the fire alarm, I called home. When I had roommate issues, I called home. When work or school seemed overwhelming, I called home. Suddenly, my parents were more valuable than ever.

But what I didn’t realize is how blessed I was to have them as a teenager. My parents supported me in school and extracurriculars. My mom stayed up talking with me about my emotional struggles. My dad helped me prep and practice debate cases. They were just there for me.

Unfortunately, so many teenagers today don’t have parents to rely on. They don’t have a place to call home, let alone someone they can call when times get tough.

Thousands of teenagers across the nation need homes, and maybe you can be the one to help!

Teens Need Families

According to data from the Children’s Bureau, in 2015, there were 671,000 kids in the foster care system. In that same year, only 53,500 of them were adopted (1). That means that just over 92% of kids in foster care didn’t get to end up with a permanent family that year (2).

Not having a place to call home, not having a mom and a dad, can be especially hard for teens. And unfortunately, adoptive families are often less likely to take on a teenager.

You may be thinking, “Well that’s really sad, but once they’re that old, hasn’t the damage already been done?” While many teens do have difficulties because of their backgrounds, they still benefit from having a permanent family. According to AdoptUsKids, “Older youth who are adopted from foster care are more likely to finish high school, go to college, and be more emotionally secure than their peers . . . without a permanent family” (3). The saying “better late than never” really is true!

If you think you may be able to open your homes and your hearts by adopting a teenager, here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Don’t worry about being perfect.

Adopting teens can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t already raised a child through the teenage years. This clip shows just one of the many challenges of raising a teenager:

But as AdoptUsKids reminds us, You don’t have to know it all to be a perfect parent. Thousands of teens in foster care will love you just the same” (4).

2. Do your homework.

Adopting, and especially adopting older kids or teenagers, can bring its challenges. But thankfully, plenty of resources are out there to help! The Child Welfare Information Gateway has some great information to help you make the adoption decision (5). You can also take time to learn about the adoption process itself, whether it’s just getting started (6) or finally receiving a placement (7). For information specific to adopting teenagers, check out this website from the Children’s Bureau on how to prepare (8).

If you take time to do a little extra research and use available resources, you can be prepared to bless the life of a teen who needs you.

3. Realize that adjustment takes time.

According to Dawn Davenport, executive director of The National Infertility & Adoption Education Nonprofit, “for every year of age of the child adopted,” parents should “add an extra month of adjustment” (9).  That means that adopting a 13-year-old could take about 13 months to adjust to.

While adjustment takes time, the more time you invest with your teen, the easier it will be. Make sure to plan on spending some quality time with the new teenager in your life so they can really become a part of the family.

No Matter What

You may or may not be able to welcome a teenager into your life or your family. But understand that you don’t have to be perfect in order to make a difference! If you do a little research, you may find that you could be a teen’s parent after all.

It can take time to incorporate a new child, especially a new teenager, into your family. But no matter what challenges you face, remember: teens really do need families, no matter what.

» Click to show references

Picture retrieved from


1. Children’s Bureau. (n.d.). National adoption month 2017: Teens need families, no matter what. Retrieved from

2. Children’s Bureau. (2016, June 30). Trends in foster care and adoption. Retrieved from

3. AdoptUsKids. (n.d.). Teens need families. Retrieved from

4. AdoptUsKids. (2017, September 21). “Morning time” adoption from foster care PSA [Video file]. Retrieved from

5. Child Welfare Information Gateway. (n.d.). Making the decision to adopt. Retrieved from

6. AdoptUsKids. (n.d.). Getting started. Retrieved from

7. AdoptUsKids. (n.d.). Receiving an adoptive placement. Retrieved from

8. Children’s Bureau. (n.d.). Preparing to adopt a teen. Retrieved from

9. Davenport, D. (2015, April 6). 7 key ingredients for successfully adopting a tween or teen. Retrieved from

» Click to hide references

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Agree? Disagree? Or just want to share your own experience? Leave a comment. We love to hear from our readers!