It’s no secret that parents, on average, are older today than they used to be. Many people are waiting until later in life to get married and start a family. However, biological parents aren’t the only ones getting older. It’s also becoming increasingly common for people to adopt later in life, often past the age of 40 or even 50.
If you’re thinking about adopting a child later in life…Congratulations! Adopting is always a courageous and compassionate decision, no matter when you decide to undertake it. However, as an older parent you’ll have to consider some extra details that younger parents don’t often face. Read on to learn more about adopting as an older parent and see how you can help the process go smoothly.
Why People Adopt Later in Life
Every couple’s adoption journey is unique. Some people reach the decision early in life, but others might not come to the choice until much later. Here are a few of the factors that lead many older adults to consider adoption:
- Biological Barriers – As women get older, being pregnant and giving birth become riskier for mother and child. Adopting is a safe and loving way to create a family without battling against biology.
- Abundant Resources – Every young parent knows how stressful it is to balance the needs of a child with a fledgeling career or continuing education. Older adults often have more time and financial resources to devote to parenting and their lifestyles are more secure and stable – in other words, perfect for kids.
- Emotional Desires – Sometimes the only reason an older couple considers adoption is to experience the sensations of parenthood again. Adopting is a good way to help children in need while also regaining the satisfaction of parenting.
- Helping Family – Occasionally, older couples will adopt a child from within their own family in order to provide a safe home for their blood relatives. For instance, if a couple’s biological child has psychological or substance abuse problems, they could adopt their grandchild in order to provide for them and ease any legal struggles.
- Desire to Protect and Help Children – Finally, many older adults simply have a desire to help kids in need. Often older adults who adopt were previously foster parents, so they experience the struggles of foster children first hand. If they grow close to a certain foster child, they may choose to adopt rather than seeing the child go to another foster home or an orphanage.
Thoughts for Older Adoptive Parents
No matter what your reason is for choosing to adopt, as an older parent there are several things you’ll need to consider before deciding whether adoption is truly right for you. Here are a few of the biggest things you’ll need to think about when considering adoption as an older adult:
- Time and Energy – While the financial aspects of child rearing aren’t often a big struggle for older couples to manage, the time constraints and energy requirements can be. If you’re considering adopting, and especially if you’re considering adopting a younger child, make sure you have the energy and time to devote to them. If you aren’t sure, you can always consider older child adoption or speak to an adoption counselor.
- Other Parents – One of the most difficult aspects of parenthood as an older adult isn’t interacting with your child – it’s dealing with other parents. Many of the parents you meet who are your age will have children much older than yours, while your child’s peers may have parents much younger than you. This can make social situations difficult and can be alienating in situations like schools and parent groups.
- Behavioral Difficulties – While some older adults do adopt infants and young children, it’s more common for them to adopt older children out of the foster system or from other family members. Unfortunately, many children who come out of difficult family situations have some degree of behavioral or psychological difficulty. Caring for a child with special behavioral needs is never easy, but it can also be rewarding to provide a loving home to a child in deep need of care.
- Waiting Time – Adoption is a process, and every step takes time. Whether you’re waiting to be matched, going through the approval process, or signing the final papers, you should be aware that adopting is rarely a rapid process. Ensure you have lots of time to devote to the adoption process from the start and be patient as you progress through it.
If you live in Oklahoma City and you’re considering adopting, call or visit us today at Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption. We provide adoption placement, counseling, and a variety of other services to couples seeking to adopt in Oklahoma. Call (405) 949-4200 to talk to one of our adoption specialists today, or visit our Facebook page for more helpful tips and inspirational stories.