According to the sources in the article found here, more people are adopting later in life. While this trend is neither good nor bad, in my opinion, it is worth noting. It is not surprising that people are choosing to work longer and adopt children later. Financially, it makes sense. There are some considerations, however, that I think people who are just starting the process of expanding their family should keep in mind.
1. Do adoption research while pursuing fertility treatments.
IVF and fertility treatments can mean couples are spending more years trying to become pregnant, which usually happens after a year or two of trying on their own. Because IVF is no guarantee, some couples may turn to adoption afterwards.
What I’d like to point out here is that you can start thinking about adoption while you’re going through IVF. Some agencies will say you can’t enter their pool if you are doing fertility treatments out of fairness to other waiting families, but there are other ways you can simultaneously consider adoption and IVF.
If your heart is set on IVF and adoption is the backup plan, then consider doing adoption research while you do IVF treatments. Look online for agencies you like, in case you need them. You can join Facebook adoption groups to get a sense of what the community is like. You can even do things to help prepare your home in case you need that home study, like buying outlet covers and a bassinet. If you don’t do any adoption research until you are completely done with doing IVF, there could be months of time that add to your overall wait for children.
2. Don’t hesitate to see a doctor.
We are in a great time of medical advances. Doctors will tell most couples to try on their own for a child for a year before considering getting checked out. I say, do what you want. We were a couple years in before we got checked out, and all that time was essentially wasted because we had male factor infertility. I always wonder how things would have been different if we had known from the start that we couldn’t get pregnant naturally. If you’re having trouble and it’s only been 6 months, I say so what? Just make an appointment and get a semen analysis. For the man, it’s quite an easy process. Then you’ll know. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and I’m glad our timeline was as long as it was, because now we have the most beautiful son via adoption.
3. Consider adopting before all your biological kids have arrived.
I know many people who say they want to adopt after they have kids biologically. My suggestion would be to just realize how fast time passes. You may be on kid #3 and it’s ten years later and then suddenly adoption feels too hard, especially one from another country that may take 3 years (or more).
Is there a perfect age to have children or adopt children? No. But with all the information available, I think more people should consider using a broad brush to paint their family picture. Going into family planning, don’t have such a narrow vision that you only see biological children and only see newborns. Consider international adoption or foster care. Consider arming yourself with the knowledge of what you and your partner’s conception chances are. Most of all, respect that everyone is different. It may be perfect for us to have adopted at 31 while it is perfect for someone else to get pregnant naturally at age 41. Family is a blessing no matter how it comes to you.
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