If you're considering domestic older child adoption, your only option may be to adopt from within the foster system. The average age of a foster child is around 10, but there's an estimated 424,000 children in U.S. foster care system, ranging from 0 to 20 years old. The average time these children spend in foster care is just over two years.
Many foster children have special needs and tumultuous pasts and home lives. Some children are runaways or have been removed from their parents' home and are pending reunification. But about a quarter of them are waiting for adoption. In 2009, about 55,000 foster children were adopted, 14 percent of which were already living in their pre-adoptive home.
While not ever public adoption requires a family to foster a child before adopting him or her, many do as a way to ensure the child's integration into the family is smooth and will work long-term.
Finding foster children for adoption requires a quick search through online photolistings or a local newspaper.
If you're not looking to adopt but want to foster waiting children, check with your local state agency for more information on becoming a foster parent. Foster parents that are looking to adopt, but want to foster a child first, must meet both foster and adoption eligibility.