Older Parent Adoption

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There are many reasons singles and couples arrive at the decision to adopt in their 40s and even later. These include:

  • Putting off starting a family until careers and/or financial security are established;
  • Many years of infertility treatments;
  • Creating a "second" family when children are grown;
  • Creating a family after remarriage;
  • Grandparent/kinship adoption;
and there are certainly others.

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Adopting After 40

Sharon Kaufman adopted from China as a single parent when she was 51. She writes:
...I had a brief, childless marriage when I was in my early 20s. When that marriage ended, I assumed that I would someday remarry and have children. In fact, I had some fine relationships, but never did remarry - and having thrown myself into my career, I woke up one day and found that I was 47, no longer in possession of my uterus, and childless. And suddenly, it all mattered a lot...

Domestic Adoptions

In the past, the upper age limits for adopting parents followed by domestic private agencies was set by a 40-year "rule of thumb": adopting parents shouldn't be more than 40 years older than the child they wanted to adopt. Today, that age limit is creeping up as the Baby Boomer generation changes definitions and perceptions about age, health, physical limitations, and life span. More and more agencies are encouraging older persons to consider infant adoption.

Many older persons with grown children are encouraged to adopt from the foster care system, and especially urged to consider older children and/or children with disabilities because their past parenting experience has equipped them with skills to meet challenges.

International Adoptions

While opportunities do exist for domestic adoption by persons over 40, they can involve long waits and be quite expensive if arranged privately. For these reasons, many older persons turn to international adoption and take advantage of the age flexibility offered in many countries. For example, China recently lowered its minimum age from 35 to 30, but has no published upper limit, and certain areas of Russia have set 60 as the upper age limit. Each country has its own restrictions, so before settling on a particular location, check the requirements.

In-Family Adoptions

Grandparent, stepparent, or other kindship adoption may result in older singles and couples becoming parents - again, or for the first time.

Focus on the Positive

Older individuals have much to offer, and adoption opportunities do exist in all types of adoption. When selecting an agency or attorney, be sure to ask about policies and experiences with older parent adoptions. And remember, you can do it!

Advantages of Being Older
  • Emotional maturity
  • Financial stability
  • Stable values
  • Stable marriages/partnerships (for couples)
  • Time and patience
  • Healthier and more active than ever before
  • Extended life expectancy allows longer active parenting years
  • It isn't important to look like a young parent. More and more people are putting off starting a family until their 40s and what you look like isn't important. The love and commitment you give to a child are what's important.

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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.

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