At over 50, what is the best age of child?
Originally Posted By Martha

My husband was a childless widower when we married 6 years ago - me for the first time, no children. We are 53 and 59 (!!) But, I am from a large family and want desperately to parent, and so does my husband.

What would be the very youngest age of a child, realistically, for us to adopt? How young can/should we go? We are looking for a child with normal to bright intelligence, but mild to moderate medical condition would be acceptable. (I would love to adopt a child as young as 5 or 6. Is this wrong for the child? We are financially secure.) We do not want to be selfish, yet we prefer a younger child (of course, a baby would be inappropriate.) We are even open to two children together (siblings).

Thank you.
Re: At over 50, what is the best age of child?
Originally Posted By Sofie

I am a single woman age 51; and I am working through an agency to adopt internationally, prob. a child under 2 years old. If you are in good health, and financially secure, you should follow your heart.
Re: Re: At over 50, what is the best age of child?
Originally Posted By Martha

Thank you so much for your reply. It really means a lot to me as we are just starting out and nervous!

I wish you the very best in your search for a little one! God bless!

I was nearly floored when I learned from the admin assistant at our local domestic adoption agency (a non-profit which handles children in State care) that even at our age we could be considered quite seriously for a child well under 10 years old, even though my husband says he only wants Caucasian (I could adopt any race). I got the distinct impression that she was talking about age 5 at least.

This makes me both happy and more nervous (happily nervous).

We are in good health and are of modest means but secure and very well educated and have a strong family "back up".

Thanks, again!
Re: At over 50, what is the best age of child?
Originally Posted By Susan

I adopted my first child at 45, my second at 50. Both were infants. Now, I am 61 with a 15 and 10 year old. Both are beautiful, healthy and bright, and I am very, very proud to be their mom. Was I too old to adopt them? I think that's a question that each individual or couple must make for themselves. I am more tired at the end of the day than I would have been were I younger, and I have some more aches, pains and worries. But could I imagine life without my kids? No way!
Re: At over 50, what is the best age of child?
Originally Posted By Martha

Martha, This is the first time I have entered this site or ever responded to a note like this. I am 51 and my husband is 50. We are also anxious to adopt, but have concerns that agencies, etc. may feel we are too "old". I was wondering if you have received any responses to your posting. My e mail address is I would love to hear from you. My name is Goldie.
Re: Re: At over 50, what is the best age of child?
Originally Posted By Susan

Your response to Martha was most encouraging. I am 51 and my husband is 50. Do you have advice as to how to find out what countries don't consider you too "old" to adopt. I hate that we even have to think this way but society does have its foibles! Goldie
Re: At over 50, what is the best age of child?
Originally Posted By Trish

My husband and I are over 50 (just). We began foster care 5 years ago. We are almost ready to adopt our last placement of 3 siblings ages 5,5,6. We, too, have had our doubts but feel up to the responsibility. They are the first to respond that we are their parents not their grandparents to unsuspecting strangers when they tell us how cute our "grandkids" are. That is probably the hardest thing about older people adopting.

One thing I know for sure is that they are better off with us than they were before we got them.

Good luck with whatever age child you end up with. They all need loving parents.
Re: At over 50, what is the best age of child?
Originally Posted By nashlove

Just thought I would let you know there are agencies who will adopt to families over 50. I have been searching for quite awhile and applied recently to some of the places who accept older parents. Just look in adoption agencies and write to them or call and they will let you know your chances.
Many overseas adoptions are vietnam Haiti Africa China
check out many sites!
Re: Re: At over 50, what is the best age of child?
Originally Posted By jennifer

if you do a private adoption some birthparents will pick older couples. i will only consider an older couple. not that younger couples are bad its just that i want an older couple for my child. i feel they make better parents.
I adopted at 51...
My daughter was 18.5 months old at the time. She was born in China.

I am 57 now and my daughter is 7. We are having a wonderful time. I'm a single Mom, and feel younger than ever.

China used to be comfortable with people in their 50s, but now does not permit people 55 and over to adopt. People in their early 50s are expected to be open to a child 3 or over; however, some have gotten slightly younger children.

Guatemala is probably the country that is most open with regard to age at this time; unless the agency you work with will not refer babies to older parents, you can request a very young child. Some other countries will refer toddlers and older children to older parents.

Older parents do need to ask themselves some hard questions, such as:

1. Can I reasonably expect to live long? What risk factors do I have? At what ages did my parents and close relatives pass away? Did they retain their faculties to the end, or did they become highly dependent on others for basic care?

2. Will I have sufficient income to provide for the needs of a child, and, simultaneously, also to prepare for my own old age? Raising kids and caring for an elderly person are rather expensive propositions.

3. Are there people whom I can name as guardians for a child, who will assume parental responsibilities if I die or become disabled? Will they be willing to take the child even if he or she turns out to have a previously undiagnosed medical condition?

4. What happens if I acquire an illness or injury that is temporarily disabling (since older people do seem to have a higher rate of these occurrences)? Do I have the financial resources to pay people for the short- or long-term care of myself and my child? Do I have a social support network that will help me and my child?

5. How energetic am I now? Is it reasonable to assume that I will have the energy to care for a healthy, active young person for up to two decades?

6. What happens if my child turns out to have a previously undiagnosed medical or mental health condition? Is it reasonable to assume that I will have the energy and the time, as well as the money, to care for such a child?

7. Do I have adequate life insurance? Health insurance with good coverage? Long term care insurance? Can I afford these things?

8. How modern am I in my thinking? Will I be able to deal with the fact that my child will be heavily influenced by contemporary culture? Will I be able to pass on the best parts of the traditional value system in which I was raised, without being hopelessly old-fashioned and out of touch? Will I set the right limits, and give the right degree of freedom? How will I handle the tough questions about sex, drugs, alcohol, and so on?

9. If I had to work and study hard as a younger adult, without adequate time for recreation, will I find myself frustrated if I can't use my retirement or older years to travel, pursue hobbies, or just relax? Remember that having children often involves sacrifices of personal time, as well as money.

If you really think through some of these things and still want to adopt, I would urge you to "go for it". Older parenting is great in many ways. I know that I have more patience and better parenting skills now than I would have had in my 20s!
When deciding what age child, ask yourself if you can do this five years from now? In 10 years can you handle a teenager? Lots of people over 50 can. Unfortunately, two of my kids ended up with me when their 50 year old adoptive parents decided they didn't have the energy to do this anymore(one child had been with his family five years). I love these kids and am so glad to have them, but their pain at this loss is overwhelming. Just something to think about.
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