Older Parent Adoption

When we started looking into the adoption process some 12 years ago, the information we received form the local department of social services, specifically mentioned that families over forty years of age could not adopt infants.

My friend Wendy (an adoptive Mom) says “you spend your 20’s trying not to get pregnant, your 30’s trying to get pregnant and when you hit the 40’s, decide to adopt.”

Thank goodness times have changed. It is now common place for couples in their forties to adopt- both domestically and internationally. While there are no statistics available, my educated guess would be that older families favor international adoption 55-45% or 60-40% especially for families in their upper forties.

Domestic adoptive parents include those who adopt infants as well as those who adopt through social services. Domestic Adoption is an excellent choice for families who want to adopt older children. (over the age of 5) Caucasian families who are open to adopting an infant that is biracial or African American may have shorter waits than those who want to adopt a child of the same race. With Domestic Adoption families are waiting to be matched with birthparents. This takes time, and time is the one thing that works against older parents. There may be long waits and marketing –both which may be unappealing.

With an International Adoption the estimated time frame to complete an adoption may be a bit more structured than domestic adoption. Intl agencies are matching families with waiting children, so the process is not contingent on being selected, but rather proceeding though the steps. In addition, International Adoption may be more affordable to older couples. Most children are toddlers age 1-3 which may work great for active forty something’s. My husband always appreciated the fact that our three-year-olds were potty trained and slept through the night. The downside: overseas travel may be more harder for business owners.

Whether a family chooses International or Domestic Adoption, there are certainly some bright spots to parenting at an older age. Canadian researcher, Dr. Elinor Ames, who has done extensive research on children adopted from Romania, concluded that younger parents experienced more stress than older parents. It should also be noted that the children in her studies children who had "few, if any difficulties" were in the group who had the older parents!

Advantages to older parent adoption include:

1. More life experience provides a better foundation to advocate for children’s needs.
2. What you lack in energy you make up in smarts.
3. More financially secure.
4. May be more emotionally stable.
5. More patience- you don’t sweat the little things as much.
6. It keeps you in shape, picking up- carrying around, or chasing a toddler

7. Parenting keeps you young- you have to keep up with the latest in electronics -   texting, tweets, and more…

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