Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Too Old for Adoption?

A few friends have asked whether they’re too old to adopt or foster. Their heart is for children, but they wonder if, now that their own children are grown, they are too old to serve in this way.

Photo courtesy (jamiesrabbits)
Are you too old to adopt? Probably not. While age restrictions vary from State to State, the most common requirement is that a foster parent be at least a certain age (I’ve seen 21 and 25), and that an adopting parent has to be at least ten years older than the adoptee.

Your luck might not be so good in international adoptions; countries sometimes have “caps” on how old an applicant can be. Foster care and domestic adoptions don’t generally have such a cap.
It probably helps to have some real numbers. Two of the strongest foster parents I’ve worked with were single women in their early 70’s. Each had raised children (maybe even grandchildren), but still had the energy, the health, and the desire to provide structure, love, and nurturing to children and teens. Their life experience helped them navigate the difficulties involved in foster care, and I think their ages might have helped them avoid battles with social workers. We all knew that they had more experience than us!

The oldest adopting parent I’ve worked with was a few years short of 70, and was married to a late 50’s-year-old. They were foster parents to a young boy and when it turned out that he needed to be adopted, they volunteered and were approved.
If you’ve got some energy to spare, decent health, love of kids, and joy in life, then you’re not too old for foster care adoption.

Did you know that the question “too old for adoption” gets applies to kids, too? Dave Thomas Foundation has put out a powerful, two minute video:

So what do you think? Why not adopt an older kid from foster care, and prove that neither of you are too old for adoption.


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  1. This is a good notice for some and reminder for others, that age along should not be considered a disqualifier.

    The video is powerful!

  2. Thanks, Lori. I was struck by the video, too!


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