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How old is too old to adopt has been a search term that has brought people to our website and although it is a difficult question, I’ll make an honest attempt to answer it.
I was fifty- two years old when I brought my daughter home from Guatemala. I felt perfectly competent to raise an infant and give her all the love and support she would need to thrive. My desire to raise another child was strong and my commitment unwavering. With a high energy level and excellent health, I considered myself a good candidate to adopt. My age was relevant only in that a guardian had to be identified to the social worker for the home study in the event that I passed away, obviously a realistic consideration when adopting a child when you are older.
When trying to decide if you are too old to adopt several things must be taken into consideration in my opinion, not necessarily your chronological age:
1. Your reason for adopting. If you want to adopt a child because you are lonely and want a child to keep you company in your old age and care for you, this is a terrible reason to adopt. A child should not be adopted to be a caregiver and companion; this is selfish, irresponsible and unreasonable.
2. Your general health. Although there are no certainties in this area, if you are of poor health you are probably not a good candidate as a parent, and may not be allowed to pursue an adoption because of it.
3. Your energy level. If you prefer spending most of your day sitting down and don’t enjoy a lot of activity, you probably shouldn’t start parenting a child of any age. No child wants an “armchair parent.”
4. Your financial situation. The fact is that you will not be in your child’s life as long as you would like and may very well head into retirement while your child is still in school. Can you provide financial security for your adopted child?
5. Children of older parents become only too aware of their parent’s mortality and it is not something they relish. Moreover, they may also be embarrassed of having an older parent while their peers have much younger ones. People will probably think that you are your child’s grandparent. How will you handle these situations?
6. You will probably not have the support system that younger parents have. Your own parents will be elderly and your siblings and friends may not be interested in helping out since their own children are grown and gone.
If you are older and considering adoption, take your time making the decision. Be totally honest with yourself about your capabilities and go in with eyes wide open. Regardless of the age of the child at the time of adoption, you will need energy and commitment. It is never easy to raise a child.
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