To me, choosing to become a parent was not that difficult. I was born to the role. I had known since the age of 19 I was infertile, so deciding to adopt when I met my husband at age 37 was not too challenging a choice. That said, deciding to adopt our three little ones at the age of 51 was much more difficult.
Dear Hubby, in particular, was worried about saddling them with such “old” parents. I told him it was just the other end of the spectrum– they had started out with very young parents. Why not try the other side?
I was making light of a difficult decision. We actually did take several things into consideration which might be helpful for someone else contemplating “older parent” adoption.
- Health. We are both robust, active, and healthy with no serious issues like past cancers, heart disease, or diabetes
- Our parents’ health: We are blessed with 5 active, healthy parents, who will probably not be needing us as caregivers for many years
- Our finances: We are building up a healthy retirement fund ,and Dear Hubby is still about 15 years from retirement. I will likely return to work myself to help grow that fund once my two “Bigs” are in college
- Our general outlook: I’m a multitasker by nature. I like to have a lot going on. I cannot recommend sibling groups for anyone seeking peace and tranquility. A single child would be a safer bet, but even then, watch out. A couple of mine are spitfires!
- Our flexibility: New kids mean a disruption to your lifestyle… for about 18 years. Are you willing and able to change the way you do almost anything? Are you willing to develop new interests and set aside some that won’t support your growing family? If you are thinking, “No, no!,” older parenting is not for you!
- Our reasons: Our first two adoptions were about us. I admit it. This time was about the kids. I think an altruistic nature definitely helps. Let’s face it: child-rearing at any age is challenging, and it is definitely more challenging at older ages.
- Our “Inner” ages: People are always shocked to find out how old I am, and Dear Hubby too. Being “young at heart” definitely counts when it comes to adopting over 40.
I would not dissuade people from adopting based on their age. I think it is completely a matter of being honest about your own limits, looking at the risks and making sure it is something you truly want to do. If your answer is still yes, enjoy the ride!