In the last post I introduced myself to you, but I forgot to include an important part of my adoption story: my parents were over forty when they adopted me. For the most part this was not a big deal but as I do some research it seems they were ahead of the curve as older adoptive parents. This is now an accepted practice rather than an exception.
First let me give you some background. My dad was a veteran of WWII and worked as a supervisor in a garage for a large trucking company. He wasn’t the typical management type…he just knew more than the rest of the mechanics. My mom was a stay-at-home wife who took great pride in her home. They married in their late twenties. My dad was in his mid-thirties when he enlisted in the army. (There is a theme here.)
From talking to my parents I understood that I was their last chance to adopt, because of their ages. My birth mother kept me for nearly a year- surrendering me after she learned she was pregnant with my brother. More on this later. My parents were thrilled when they were approved, and I was about a year old when they picked me up.
Through reading I’ve learned that older adoptive parents are not unusual today. Generally speaking, older parents (especially those over 50) do not adopt infants, but it isn’t uncommon for them to adopt a child under 5 years old. In my case, my parents were in their late forties and early fifties when I was in grade school and high school. Most of my friends had much younger parents, but I can’t remember my parents being mistaken for my grandparents. As an only child with older parents, there were perks. I played ball in grade school and my mom was always available to drive the players and often stayed for the games. Many other moms had babies at home and could not be part of a car pool but my mom was always there. I think she took as much joy in our wins as we did.
I’m interested in hearing your comments about older adoptive parents. While they may not have the energy of a 30-year-old (for example) they do offer lots of wisdom and in many cases have a more secure home life, both financially and emotionally.
I always worried a bit about their health and how I could help them when they got older. But, sadly, I lost my dad when I was 21 and my mom when I was 35. I did not have to deal with issues of elder care.
I did worry about being sent back to the orphanage. I guess that is a common concern of adoptees. My concerns were real to me. My mom had the phone number of a local home for “wayward” girls in her phone book and often threatened to send me there so they could straighten me out, but she never once threatened me with a return to the orphanage. For that I’m grateful. Perhaps this was not a great approach but I was not damaged psychologically.
I’d really like to hear of your experiences as a child of older adoptive parents, or your thoughts in general. I often thought about my parents when dealing with my own kids. While they were in high school I was pulled in four different directions at one time. I was in my late thirties then. I can’t imagine dealing with these issues while in my late fifties.
Those are my thoughts from the cabbage patch…