How old is too old to adopt an infant ? This is going to be a tough one for me to have a balanced perspective on. I came across a plea by an older retired couple for any woman to give up her infant so they could adopt the child as they now have the money and time to devote to the child.
After 10 years of marriage, my husband surprised the heck out of me by saying he decided that he actually did want to become a father. When we married, he was glad I had been there, done that, and no pressure on him. I have a grown daughter I birthed at the age of 19 who has made me a grandmother twice. It is true that I do believe that men who are ready to be devoted fathers are actually better fathers.
My own father, when I told him we were going to try to conceive at our age, told me he questioned my sanity. That has come back to me repeatedly. I was 47 when my oldest son was born and 50 when the younger boy came along. At the age of 60, when he was 10 years old, it really hit me that when he turns 20, I will already be 70. Oh my.
Adoption is a special circumstance that imposes stricter considerations than assisted reproductive medicine but when I wanted to conceive that second child I was put through a battery of tests to determine if it was actually a good idea to let me. I passed and the rest is as they say “history”.
Truth is that none of us have a guaranteed length of life. We are all born to die and not all children’s natural parents live to see them grown. I know this personally since both of my natural grandmothers lost their own mothers at a young age. My mom’s mother when she was 11 years old and my dad’s mother at 3 months.
So, I have to believe given my own circumstances and family history that there are more important considerations than longevity. Financial resources are an important one. Can the parent provide a safety net for the child if the parent doesn’t live to see the child mature ? Is the parent responsible enough to make arrangements in a will or trust for their child when it is not yet a mature person. We have done both.
With the 2008 financial collapse, our business took a significant hit that we have yet to recover from. Thankfully, we continue to get some business and manage to stay afloat. Given that our sons are now 19 and almost 16, we do have that hope that we can live a while longer to see the youngest reach the age of 21, at least.
In my own philosophical belief system, children choose their parents before birth with a full knowledge of likely outcomes, though I also believe there is free will that affects trajectories and outcomes. So I do believe my sons knew what their unique genetic/biological make-up would be and that we would be parents that were old enough to be grandparents.
I don’t regret having children at such an advanced age. Becoming parents has deepened our life experience as a couple. Our sons are a joy to share life with. I don’t think I can be objective about whether older, retired couples should adopt infants.