Anyone else an older foster child?

Just asking because I know several Dopers were adopted as infants, but to my memory I’ve never seen anyone mention being adopted or fostered as an older child. Due to factors outside my control, I was deprived of my mother for a long time. It could’ve been much worse than it was – I was too old to be cute and adoptable, too young to care for myself – but I was fortunate enough to be taken in by my aunt and uncle, who already had a foster son.

I was just remembering a conversation I had with a friend in college. We were watching “White Oleander” and she wondered aloud why people would want to adopt older children. “They’re all messed up and stuff”, she said.

I guess the look on my face must have said it all because she quickly began trying to explain herself, saying that lots of foster kids are abused and so forth. Finally I said, “I was a foster child. And I wasn’t little at the time, either. Would you consider me messed up?” It just hurts so bad to hear stuff like that. First off, you know you’re not as desirable as a baby. Then people talk like that, saying there must be something wrong with you if your real parents don’t want you, that your foster sibs aren’t your “real” sibs.

A couple of years later, in Americorps, I got to work with foster children and it broke my heart all over again. There was one little girl in particular, 12-years-old, who’d been living at this home for over a year. I wanted to take her home with me so much, but I knew it was impossible at that time. One day I definitely want to adopt or foster older children, though.