I've been considering adopting an older child. I'm still considering agency vs. county and a lot of other things... Anyway, I've built this picture in my mind of what I want and I'm trying to figure out how realistic it is. So, honest experiences, are my hopes even possible or should I consider other options or adjust my expectations to match reality a bit more?
I know there will be paperwork and a home study and classes. I get that it probably won't be easy. Specifically, I want to do straight adoption of a child who is already legally free. Perhaps age range of 9-14 years. I don't know how long it will take, maybe 12-18 months from the time I start paperwork or is that time guess too short?
I expect the child to be wary about me. I remember how my little (Big Brothers, Big Sisters) was when I first met her. So wary and unsure of me. I had to forge a bond with her and it took a while. I'm guessing that a foster child will take as long or even longer than that. I expect at 9-14 years, they will probably remember their bio-family and maybe not fondly. I expect that there will be trauma from being in the system itself. I expect there to be behavioral issues that need to be addressed.
I don't feel prepared for serious medical issues though I'm sure that I can deal with more minor ones and I have a major hospital only 10 minutes form my house so if a specialist is needed, they're here. I am prepared for there to be slight learning delays or schooling issues...but I don't want to deal with a child with significant developmental delays or one that can never be expected to be a functioning adult.
I would prefer a girl, though I would consider a boy if he was at the younger end of the age range. And I would prefer a child who needs to be an only child for whatever reason rather than deprive a child of siblings if they would benefit from having them. I'd prefer a child who shares my love of animals and of the outdoors. One who likes learning and hopes to aim for higher education of some sort. I'd love to home school or use a cyber charter school if one of those options fit the needs of the child.
So what do you think? Based on your experiences, are my expectations realistic?