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Are We Too Old to Adopt?

The Parents Network > Advice > Adoption > Are We Too Old to Adopt?

We have 2 teens - are we way too old to adopt a third?

Feb 2005

Maybe I'm insane. We have two girls -- one 15 and one 13. I'm 45 and my husband is 46. I keep wishing we'd had a third child (we tried without success). Are we just way too old to try to adopt? Would the addition of a baby throw our lives into chaos? Would that be bad? Has anyone done this? just wondering

Re: considering adopting a third child: I am an adoption professional for an agency in Oakland and want to share that you are definitely not too old to consider adopting. Most certainly, your family as you know it will go through an initial upheaval of some kind. There are many important factors to consider: are both you and your husband/partner equally commiteed to the idea, what do your two children think/feel, do you have a good support system in place, are you stable financially, emotionally, and otherwise. You don't mention what kind of a child you are thinking of adopting: if you are considering an infant, then you will be raising that child almost as an only child due to the large gap between it and your current teens. If you are considering an older child, then you will definitely have adjustments to make and will likely have a child with special needs-emotional, educational, abuse history related that require extra attention and understanding from everyone in your family. Any type of adoption is a process and takes quite a bit of time, so I'd advise you and your partner to begin talking these areas out. Best of luck! Melanie
I know a woman, who, through wide age gaps, ended up parenting from birth to age 18, for 32 years. She was tired and falling apart at the end. She had been ready to finish her parental obligations when the youngest was 12 or 13, and it was quite difficult to trudge through it - she ended up far more permissive (or resigned) with the youngest's behavior because she simply didn't have the energy to fight or enforce rules. Children suck the life outta you. To add... 18 is ! not a magical age where kids stop having needs. Quite the contrary, and she still has an older one she really wants out of the nest - but that one can't manage to get a job. I know many will disagree with me, but I think it is a little unfair to the potential 3rd child to begin their life in the parent's waning years. There simply isn't the same energy, in many cases, to keep up with them. It is usually embarrassing for children, as they progress, to have parents that are ''grandma age'' as well. That said, there is the beautiful other side of it, where you are wiser, with more experience, more secure in who you are, and hopefully more relaxed as well. Seems there is a larger push in the 20s and 30s to make a name for oneself professionally, whereas in the 40s and 50s, one has reached a nice comfortable point in the career. So there would likely be less financial stress, and perhaps more focus available for childrearing.

If it is just wanting another person... there are many non-babies who get ignored in the system and never adopted, because everyone wants a cute baby. Perhaps you would adopt an older child, who is still younger than your current kids, thus extending your parenting years. If you get a child a good 6 or more years younger than your two, they will be doted on and the older siblings will likely enjoy their roles.

If you really have baby fever (which is understandable, so many women have it), why not become the neighborhood mom-helper? I'm sure there are plenty of parents nearby who would love to let you coo over their little one while they get a well-needed break. Could be as little as a couple hours here and there, or for a weekend getaway for mom and dad. Could be on your terms, never more than you can handle. You can continue this role, picking and choosing the families/children's ages, for years on end. Then, (hopefully) many years from now, when you feeled tapped out energy-wise, you don't have a whole other child you're obligated to full-time. Good luck with your choice.

In general, the adoption world prefers that the difference in age between the child and the parent is no bigger than 50 years. So you are all right on that aspect. I'll let others answer the rest. good luck
I can't answer your questions about the affect on your family of having a third child, but I can tell you that when my husband and I adopted our first (and only) child, we were (respectively) ages 43 and 46. And the birthmother chose us happily. In independent, open adoption of an infant, the birthmother usually chooses the adoptive parents. And birthmothers have all sorts of reasons for the choices they make--they're not all looking for the same type of family. As far as having a baby at our age (now I'm 50, with a 4 year old)--well, I find parenthood wonderful and frustrating, exhilarating and tiring. If we hadn't become parents at our age, we'd probably be travelling more and planning an earlier retirement--but we'd be missing out on things that are much more important to us. It's absolutely worth it to me, but anyone making the decision need! s to think about what they're giving up, too, so they don't regret it later. (That's true of anyone planning to be a parent, but remember the pattern of your life is going to be different from the patterns of many other people your age--how much does that matter to you? If you stay around here, you'll definitely come into contact with plenty of other ''older'' parents of young children, too.) Good luck in your decisionmaking! Happy about my choice
I can't speak to the issue of what effect it will have on your family to adopt a third child, but I can tell you that we have a number of friends who have adopted infants at the age of 50. I have also recently been to an adoption orientation with Adoption Connection when we were considering adopting again (I am 48) and they said that there are LOTS of people around that age who adopt and that it generally wasn't even an issue in terms of whether a birthmother would pick you or not. I realize that is not your question, but thought I'd throw that part out at least. The people we know who adopted infants at age 50 are also both generally very energetic people. So, it works for them. Best of luck whatever you decide! Older adoptive mom
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