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Older Parents

"Is 60 too old to adopt a newborn?"


Has anyone read this? If so, what are your thoughts?

The link is http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100914084904AA7yETs.

Some of the comments are:

Yes, it’s not fair to the child. AP could die.
Yes, 75 is oo old to wrangle a teen.
Yes, AP can’t remember details.
Yes, AP are too tired.

I encourage you all to read this! Suerte! (Good luck)

Replies

I think it depends what you are really asking. I can see two separate questions in this question: 1) Is 60 too old to be PERMITTED to adopt a child by outer authorities who regulate adoptions (whether foster care or other) and 2) Is 60 too old in a person’s actual physical ability to parent an infant?

From what I’ve seen, 60 would probably be too old for it to be highly likely that you would succeed at private adoption.  I do not know about foster care. That may be a possibility.

In terms of the actual reality of being a parent to an infant at 60, I think that is highly specific to the person.  Some people are out of gas by the time they are forty.  Some people are just hitting their prime.  I think you yourself would be the best judge of that.

Thanks for having the courage to ask the question!

http://www.adoptiongoddess.com

Posted by adoptiongoddess on May 15, 2012 at 11:51pm

To the original poster, what are your thoughts?  I see that you are in a unique situation after reviewing your profile.  Are you worried about adopting?  Personally, I believe everyone is different.  I’ve met people who act old who are in their 30’s and those in their 70’s who put me to shame. I was 44 when we adopted my daughter and sometimes I worry I was too old back then.  That was 7 yrs ago.  It’s all about how you feel and how you approach the adoption.  Regardless of age, we should all do estate planning and name guardians in the event of our deaths or illness.  We need to make contingency plans for the event we can no longer parent or have difficulty parenting. 


There is also the question of whether it is fair to the child.  That is difficult to answer.  I don’t think there is an easy answer to that.  I would hope that there is a large, loving family/friends that can embrace the child if something were to happen where you could not parent any longer.

Posted by over40mom on May 15, 2012 at 11:59pm

My husband and I could have adopted nearly a newborn.  We were in line to adopt a young as possible child and stepped out and adopted 3 young children.  We will have a child under age 6 at 56 and 60!  I did not want to go any younger.  I do believe their is an element of responsiblity that you have and need to be wise and yet no one can tell the future for any age.  We do find that we have more and more issues with health than we did even a few years ago.  It can start creeping up on a person nearly over-night.  I think there should be a limit, but I do think the age range should be very wide.  To the people who had older parents and not a good experience, believe me you could have that with young parents as well.  There are good and bad parents of ALL AGES!

Posted by Karen59901 on May 16, 2012 at 12:06am

As far as I’m concerned matters of the heart - you are never too old.  Now, when it comes to ‘physically’ able.  That is a whole other topic.  I was 44 when we were placed with a newborn.  I am now 46 and I’m feeling it a bit.  Realistically - it is a challenge some days.  We started the process 7 years ago (trying to have our own).  We wanted to adopt 2 children, but we are stopping with one.  Not for primarily this reason but for many reasons.  I wouldn’t change a thing!!

Posted by kaarestakj on May 16, 2012 at 12:10am

Depends on how ‘old’ a 60 year old you are. I am 64 soon to be 65, parenting a ten going on eleven year old. I am still working full-time (my husband is retired) and I can see situations where I just don’t have the energy to do all our son wants to do. Thank God for grown children who will step in and take him to do fun things…it also gives us a breather to rest for a little while. Our son came to us just before his 5th birthday through the foster care system and we could not imagine life without him! Our #1 daughter and her husband will take care of him if anything happens to us. You do need to have a contingency plan because the future is uncertain. We have six children, 3 birth, 3 adopted. Two out of the group would be fine taking on our youngest son’s care if need be.  He loves doing things with our #2 daughter who is 24 and not yet able to hold a job or be out on her own, they have lots of fun together since she likes the same things he does. She was 11 when she came to us through foster care and needs some more time to be a kid before she can find her way to adulthood. You can do it if all the aunts, uncles, and cousins are supportive!

Posted by Shirl on May 16, 2012 at 12:34am

From the AP’s perspective, maybe not, but from the child’s perspective, perhaps. I was adopted by my grandparents and they were in their late 40’s. Their health wasn’t great, and they were the typical grandparent type people by the time I was cognizant of age and the fact that my parents were different.

Even though I loved them dearly, I will admit to being a little embarrassed by them when I was in school. All the other moms were young and wore cute clothes and my mom had to have shoes with velcro because of her arthritis. It sounds cold and selfish, but that’s how I viewed the world when I was little. I was asked if they were my grandparents so many times I lost count. (Yeah, they were biologically so that helped me to explain their age)

The worst part for me though, was losing them. Because their health was poor, and in my mom’s case because of random events, they both died while I was a teenager. They didn’t even see me graduate from high school.

I know that there are no guarantees, and any of us could fall ill or have an accident at any time, but it was hard to constantly explain their relationship to me, and unbearable to lose them when I was so young.

Posted by monica.h on May 16, 2012 at 3:28am

To “over40mom”, Yes, I am worried that EP may change her mind and lose a lot of money-but, who isn’t?  Yes, I have drawn up a will which states that any child adopted by me will inherit my estate, and yes, I have appointed a guardian for the child and stated in the will how the child is to be cared for.

I have had one false start. I backed away from a 2nd situation because the expenses, est$27k+ were nonrefundable, nonreimbursable, non tax deductible, and not eligible as expenses for adoption tax credit, should EP change her mind AND a long match-5 months.

I don’t have any health issues.  I do have a large extended family.  Both my attorney and social worker are supportive.

Posted by jtwinkle,http://www.jkpadopt.yolasite.com on May 16, 2012 at 3:59am

We are 59 and 75. We have 13 kids at home including 9 teenagers. Our youngest is 7 and all our kids have one or more disabilities. We are much better parents than we were 20 or 30 years ago!

Posted by beckyg on May 16, 2012 at 5:42am

If the parents are healthy, of course it is not too old.  I am so surprised at some of the age discriminatory comments that are posted here, to be honest. No one knows when anyone is going to die, younger or older. And the health research actually shows that the older one gets, the more likely you are to live a healthier lifestyle all around. 60 is not old for many in this day and age. If a baby needs a family and you have a loving heart and home and can provide for the baby and are healthy, of course it is not too old!

Posted by Ava on May 16, 2012 at 8:33am

I am also surprised at how much discrimination there is.  I know a number of adults who died at age 20 or so, some in their 30’s who are slow, weak and sickly, then there are many out of shape 40 and 50 year olds.  I also know some in their 80’s who walk 8 miles a day, joyously take up new activities like drumming with vigor, or run ultra marathons, and the like.  I even saw a newspaper article recently about a man who was doing well, and celebrating his 115 year old birthday…probably not looking to parent (!) but still it does give one pause to think about how long he has been carrying on with a healthy,full, life.

I have one very active friend who raised a mentally challenged step child with many problems when he was in his 40’s, adopted and raised her newborn abandoned, baby at age 58, and now in his late 70’s he has welcomed this child, now a single mother in her 20’s, home to help while she raises her own newborn child, his great grandchild.  He still is more active than many half his age, as well as being a wonderful, compassionate parent.

What many people forget is that the issue is not what the person judging would feel comfortable or able to do, but what the parent is able and capable of doing.  Really no different for any age parent. All children benefit from having capable, emotionally present, loving, parents, who have sufficient health and energy, financial savings or income, a decent home, a guardian appointed, a will in place, and close friends/family who will be there in times of need for them and their children. There are websites and programs devoted to estimating lifespan based on research rather than stereotypes and fears. Often older parents are wiser, more financially well off, and more experienced and capable as parents. The important thing is a reasonable assessment of the parent in question as to whether the child will benefit.

In many societies it is traditional for the grandparents to raise the children since the parents are working or absent.  More and more countries are open to no upper/or higher age limits for parents.  (They look at each case individually to determine whether this may be a good home for a child.)  US agencies unfortunately however, often seem to feel its just fine to discriminate against parents by setting lower age limits than are required and making rulings that are irrational and based only on fears and ignorance. A real shame, in my book, which only punishes the children left without. 

I am sorry for your loss Monica of your parents when young.  I can’t imagine how painful that must have been.  I also have friends and relatives who have lost their parents at a very young age, but many of these parents were in their 20’s and 30’s.  I have to say too, most teenagers find something lacking in their parents!  If it isn’t their age, it will be their clothes, the songs they like, the expressions they use,  the way they sing in the shower, or whatever!! 

Parenting as an older adult is not for many.  Those who choose this route generally have a much better idea of what they are in for than younger parents!  Thank you for posting this discussion and the excellent, thoughtful comments of all above.  I hope it brings some light to the stereotypes and discrimination we all are better without.

Posted by Happy Camper on May 16, 2012 at 11:06am

A couple points… you can be embarrassed by your parents at any age. My parents were 30 and 38 when I was born (the 3rd of 4). But my dad who was 38 had grey hair early and was a an off-beat absent minded professor type so I was totally embarrassed by him as a kid and teen.
My DH was born to a 48 and 56 year olds (yep his mom mom had him at 48, no ART involved!) It is hard since his mom is now 93 and DH is only 45. It is what it is. His dad died at the age of 68 due to a heart attack and he did not take care of himself.
You just never know!

Posted by babydreams on May 17, 2012 at 1:30am

Let me clarify. Having parents who looked like grandparents was an additional reason to be embarrassed by my parents. I know that every kid is embarrassed by their parents in some way; it’s expected. It just seemed like I got one extra reason. My parents were not spry 60 year olds. They were elderly 60 year olds. I may have felt differently if they were healthier, more fit etc.

I also know that people can die at any age but the older someone is, the more likely they are to die, right?

That being said, I don’t think that parenting at 60 is automatically a big deal but from a child’s perspective it could be a really big deal. They could already be dealing with issues surrounding adoption and feeling out of place because of that (as some adoptees in this forum have expressed), then add older parents, and then add the fear of losing a parent that some children may develop when they realize that their parents are the same age as their friends’ grandparents. These are just things to consider.

I’m not saying that my experience will be anyone else’s experience either. I’m just saying that it’s possible.

Posted by monica.h on May 17, 2012 at 2:16am

No.  If the child needs a family, and you are healthy enough, what a wonderful thing to adopt.  You have to take it case by case. Yes, you may die before they turn 40, but you can provide a stable childhood and perhaps stable extended family. What you lack in energy, you make up in wisdom.

Posted by as on May 17, 2012 at 8:16am

Adoption, as an institution, is intended to serve the best interests of the child, and not to provide children to adults who want to become a parent.  With that in mind, expressing opinions about whether or not older individuals or couples are good candidates to adopt young children is not at all “age discrimination!”  Its about being CHILD-centric rather than prospective/ adoptive parent centric. 

    Whenever these discussions arise, I do not see folks even attempting to see the issue through the eyes and experience of the child.  ALL of the discussion is about justifying why its OK for older people to adopt, in the face of what is common sense, regarding how problematic that is for the CHILD. 

    It absolutely stuns me to read the comments addressed to Monica, who did y’all a big service by revealing what it was like to BE such a child—one whose adoptive parents died while she was still very much needing them to be there, as she was in the throes of identity-building.  One who has the courage in a forum like this one where y’all ARE older prospective or adoptive parents—to tell you how she felt about having old parents.  Yes-but responses convey that her experience and her feelings don’t really count because you can counter what she says with stories that are different. Stories that justify why its OK for you to be adopting young children at an older age.  INSTEAD of asking questions—asking her to share more, so as to be able to anticipate how it might be for any child you adopt or have adopted, and deal honestly with that with the child, or re-examine whether your plans are a good match with a child’s needs. 

    Some of you told remarkable stories—stories that are remarkable because they are NOT the norm—of people who parented well into their later years, or are/were very healthy well into their 80’s, etc…. Few, if any of you/us will be outside of the norm, however!  Denying or challenging the statistical norm—that its more likely for older people to be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and die—is not a good way to justify adopting young children when you are really too old to be able to see that through satisfactorily from the CHILD’s point of view. 

    Of COURSE no one wants to think that their children might not be well-served by having them be old enough to be their grandparent instead of their parent, or that their child is teased, or that their child spends lots of time secretly worrying that they might die before they grow up.  And our kids know that. They are NOT going to volunteer that information—out of loyalty—most of the time, not even if we give them the chance TO tell us how they really think.  That is WHY it is such a valuable opportunity to hear from someone like Monica, and why its such a bad idea to be dismissive of what she says. 

      The types of comments and the huge volume of negative comments—reported in the link:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100914084904AA7yETs

is WHY most of us/you are subscribed to this forum. Its why I don’t see us asking such questions in forums for parents, in general, or even in other adoption forums that are not specifically designated as ones in which older parents congregate.  Again—I think it is essential that we read things like this because it is what the children hear and then have to try to protect us older parents from.  That is burdensome. 

    The fact that the courts have determined that biology trumps all in matters of child custody so that many grandparents are raising their grandchildren—standing in for the parents who abandoned them—doesn’t mean that adopting at an advanced age is justifiable—a good thing for children.  There are lots of problems with family adoptions, and age is sometimes part of the problem.  “Everyone is doing it,” doesn’t make IT (whatever IT is)  right! 

  Someone said that they believe older parents have more wisdom, even though they do not have as much energy.  Sorry, but I disagree with that justification for adopting young children as older prospective parents.  While we may have more general life experience, we do NOT have more adoptive parenting wisdom attributable to our advanced age!  We only have greater adoptive parenting wisdom if we have parented adopted kids who are now older teens, young adults, or adults.  More general-life experience does not yield the specialized skills or type of experience that is called upon in raising adopted kids.  Most older adoptive parents have no more than do their younger counterparts.  That opinion is drawn from my professional experience in working with the thousands of adoptive parents and youngsters I’ve seen in my practice over the 4 decades in which I’ve worked as an adoption therapist. 

    If you are sixty or even fifty, I encourage you to think about fostering or adopting older children, rather than babies, toddlers, or preschoolers.  Its just not fair to a younger child, when he/she could have a parent or set of parents who are in the same age range as most of the parents of their age mates.  If we don’t want to adopt an older child, and we really want to do something terrific for a young child that will best insure that HIS or HER needs get met—donate your money to a younger candidate or couple.  Offer to be a grandparent to a child whose grandparents are now deceased.  Volunteer with an organization that serves children.

Posted by Jane Brown on May 18, 2012 at 4:56am

Thank you, Jane. I appreciate that very much.

Posted by monica.h on May 18, 2012 at 7:31am

My afather was 39 when I was adopted. He came home from work every day and fell asleep in front of the TV, exhausted. I’m at 45 now, so I have some idea how this happens. wink

When I started grade 1, I could read and write at a grade 6 level (Sesame Street!!!) and could use a sewing machine. I couldn’t catch a ball and didn’t know anything about baseball. First time I had to I missed and caught it in the face. I wasn’t just the last boy to be picked for teams in PE, I was the last in the whole class!

You may come to your own conclusions from this as to how old I think is too old. I know many people have needed their family home long past the age of 18. I know many people needed family help buying their first homes (the earlier the better - rent is throwing money down a drain). I know that my retirement would not be a good time to try and help my child start a home - better to have earning years and the ability to support if needed.

Posted by ScottK on May 18, 2012 at 8:41am

My personal opinion is that 60 is too old to parent a newborn.  Biology stops allowing people to have children at a certain age for a reason…because they’re in a different season of life not conducive to raising a baby.  My 65 year old MIL watches our son on Saturdays, and while she’s fantastic about it, she fully admits it wears her out, and she would not be equipped to do it full time.  And she still works 5 days a week otherwise and is quite active.  My parents are likewise in their early 60’s and same thing.  While they are very active and always have been, they are pretty worn out after being his primary caregivers for a day.  And due to some mild back issues my mom has, she can’t even pick him up, because he’s on the big side. 

At any rate, I know everyone is different, but as Jane noted above…this is about the child, not about the parents.  And I don’t feel like it’s fair to a very young child to potentially have to be making end of life decisions for their parents while still in their teens.  (And yes, I have a family member that needed someone to care for them FT in their late 70’s.)

Posted by Mels on May 18, 2012 at 9:33am

“Biology stops allowing people to have children at a certain age for a reason…because they’re in a different season of life not conducive to raising a baby”

Good point Mels.

Below are the mortality and cancer rates by age and also an article about dementia:
http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=587

http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/incidence/age/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071030112105.htm

Hopefully, for your children’s sake, I do hope all the older parents on here make it to 80 without dying, getting cancer, needing hip/knee replacements or dementia.  I dealt with my dad’s dementia when I was 40 or so - if I had been adopted when dad was 60, then I would have been 14.  I know a lot of elderly people (through work, my amom’s retirement home friends etc) and even though many of them are pretty fantastic for their age, they would all admit that they are not what they were. 

As for the dismissal of Monica H’s experience, I do note this a lot from APs.  If an adoptee has a negative experience about anything to do with adoption or their adoptive family, they seem to be automatically deemed to be not worth listening to.

Posted by katiesue on May 18, 2012 at 10:47am

Nytimes.com-Woman age 70 gives birth
Psychology today—40 is the new 20 for haviing babies
Wikipedia- from 1997-!999 there were 194 births to women over 55

I have to admit it makes me queasy to think of a 70 year old giving birth.  So to be fair I would say 70 is too old to adopt.

I am suprised by the posters who think 35-45 is old.  ( I may have read some from the link Jane posted)  Sometimes I feel old at 35 with a 3 year old, but I live in an area where I am surrounded by young teen moms.  A girl I graduated high school with is pregnant with her first.  Several women at church are my age and currently pregnant with their 3rd or 4 th.  My friend in CA had her third last year and I expect she will have one ot two more.  When she was pregnant with her first in her late twenties people treated her like a teen mom because so few begin their families that young in her area.  She is always the youngest in any mommy group.  My husband is only a couple years younger than his uncle.

I think one lesson we can all learn from this discussion is to put down the remote, cell, computer, our work, and pay attention to our kids and be an active part of their lives.  This goes for parents of any age.  I heard somewhere ( to be honest I don’t know how accurate this is) but I heard on average Dads spend seven quality minutes with their kids a day! SEVEN!

I honestly do not know if 60 is too old.  We’ve heard some say yes that having older parents is hard and
we’ve heard some say having older parents didn’t
bother them.  Both should be respected and heard.  I
am wondering why you are asking.  Are you having second thoughts?  Are you looking for validation?  Wanting to spark a debate? Are you a grandmother yet?  I’ve read your profile and think you have a lot to offer a child.  Are you considering switching to older child adoption?  I wish you peace with your decision.

Posted by gqqfier15 on May 18, 2012 at 1:20pm

Thanks once again, areyouserious and Monica, for bravely sharing your views from an adoptee-perspective in a forum that doesn’t necessarily welcome that, but need that more than they could ever know.  Your opinions and those of adoption professionals SHOULD be weighted far more heavily than those who really have no expertise.  Yes, I agree, ggfier15 that everyone deserves to be heard, and everyone deserves respect ( it certainly would be a surprise to me if you are suggesting that someone has NOT been “heard” or given respect here, for I haven’t seen that).  I will not agree, though accord equal weight to everyone’s opinions. 

    I also do not agree that the most important issue is whether the authoress of the original post is entitled to peace over her decision.  If her decision would only affect her, I would agree. But unfortunately, the person who will bear the consequences most heavily and for an entire lifetime is a vulnerable, powerless child who has no say in the matter.  Just because there are plenty of unethical individuals willing to sacrifice helpless children for $$$, and so engage in barely-legal practises that are anything BUT about the child’s best interests—doesn’t make it right to pursue infant adoption as an oldster. 

    I too-frequently am in the position of trying to help adopted kids pick up the pieces after their adoptive parents—the too-old ones who insisted that they were healthy enough to adopt babies—and did—have died.  My colleagues and I are finding that no one really wants to take custody of these kids.  That the kids do NOT just transfer their love and loyalty and trust to new parents/guardians, but instead, are NOT resilient enough to recover and go on with good psychological health.  They’ve been robbed of the satisfying lives they might have had, if they had been placed with parents who were youthful enough to really give them a PERMANENT family. 

    This discussion is not about whether parents should or do or plan to spend quality time with their kids.  I sincerely hope that no one was implying that young parents are less likely to spend quality time with their children than old parents do.  I have never seen any adopted child who has lost a parent at a young age be comforted by the fact the parent who died spent quality time with them.  Nor did the good parenting that they got up to the age of 6 or 8 or 10 or 12 provide such a great foundation that they got enough to last throughout the rest of their lives. 

  In my work with the children left behind when their too-old parent dies at an early age, I see that they rarely just lose one parent.  More often, their lives are surrounded by death—they often lose BOTH parents within a short span of time, lose aunts and uncles, and many of their parents’ friends because those folks are close in age to their parents.  Often, they have to leave their family home, their pets, their best friends, their schools because whomever it is that is taking custody expect them to fit themselves into THEIR lives, and can’t or don’t move to where the kids’ lives are.  It is horrific, and the children do NOT recover. 

    If you are over fifty, please use common sense and do not seek to adopt young children. 

    Oh, I thought I would share a story.  I have an acquaintance who got pregnant—twice—via assisted reproductive technology, and birthed a single child and then twin boys—all born after she was fifty.  Her husband died.  Her siblings have all died in the last couple of years.  Now, she is dying.  The CHILDREN are taking care of her.  So, not only will they be without a parent in the not-so-distant future, but they have ALREADY lost the mom they had for she is nothing like the person she was before she got so sick.  She was a health nut—ran in many marathons until a couple of years ago, and lived to go to the gym.  She was very health conscious and ate no red meat—mostly veggies and fruit, plus some protein.  She often bragged about her terrific genes—how long-lived her family members have been for generations.  Her kids are not doing well in school—they don’t get much sleep, they are terrified, they are angry, and they are hopeless—at the tender ages of 14 and 16!  They are missing out on the things that most kids their age get to do because they are care-taking, instead.  There really isn’t anyone who lives close to them to look after them, and meet some of THEIR needs.  Neighbors do what they can, but guiltily mutter that they are busy and just don’t have the time. 

  How many of you have ever spent time with real kids (not theoretical ones) who are in this type of situation?  I would encourage you to put yourself there so as to make more informed decisions that are child-centric. You owe that to any child, real or still just a possibility, that you intend to adopt. To ask you to view adoption from a CHILD’s pov instead of your own is hardly age discrimination.  Its just what is fair and ethical for vulnerable children.

Jane A. Brown, MSW

Posted by Jane Brown on May 19, 2012 at 4:45am

Geez Jane,  i saiid ‘i wish you peeace in your decision ’  i did not say ‘i wish you peace in you decision thats the most impottant thing”.  I wish her peace because I think peace will come when she considers the childs best interest first.  I wasn’t the first person who mentioned activity level as an importaant deciding factor.  And yea some young people do not spend enougb time with their kids.  Ever watched an episode of Teen Mom?  I am so done with this.

Posted by gqqfier15 on May 19, 2012 at 5:45am
Posted by gqqfier15 on May 19, 2012 at 9:00am

My adoptive parents were in their 40s when they adopted me. I didn’t notice much difference until I reached about age 12 when both parents had mysterious illneses and were hospitalized for long periods of time. They had lots of relatives so everyone pitched in, yet, the older relatives were dying, too. There was not a time in my childhood that we were not going to hospitals and funerals. It was so common that I thought every child did this… went to funerals every few months. Death became normal for me—- and I felt saddness and grief for each relative who passed away.

When I got married, my husband told me the only funerals he went to were for his grandparents, and that broke him. I told him that funerals don’t bother me anymore, that I had already lost my father, and dread the day mother would die, but I was more worried for him, knowing that he did not have experience in death and would notbe able to handle when his parents or other relatives died. But that’s another story.

When I was a teenager, my father was in the hospital again and it was scary. He came out and then my mother went in again. The Dad went back to the hospital. I stayed with a teacher and she made me a gown for a Prom. At this point in time my parents were in their late 60s. I barely got out of college when my adoptive father died. He did not get a chance to see his grandchildren.

There are other points to consider than health issues and death, too. For me, my adoptive parents had a young-at-heart approach to raising me, for the first few years of my life, yet, they were out of touch with current lifestyle and culture for me growing up. I tagged along to adult activities, which I thought were normal, like bowling leagues. But what’s a kid to do when parents are bowling and there are no kids’ activies? Sure, my parents took me to amusment parks, but it was just me, by myself. Sometimes we took my friends.

By the time I was in high school, my parents were afraid of the music lyrics and wouldn’t let me buy records, or attend school dances on weekends. They listened to thier music and had a hard time adjusting to the new music of the 60s and 70s.

I wish I could have been adopted by younger adoptive parents who understood my needs better. The things I learned in school were so much different than what my parents were taught, so there were frequent clashes over values and content. I often felt so different from my parents because I couldn’t talk with them about current events or my studies or my feelings.

I remember going over to a friend’s house to tutor him when he fell and broke his leg. I gave him homework asignments. His mother cooked diner for us. She talked with me about school in ways my parents didn’t. She had a fresher approach and was able to relate.

I wish my adoptive father didn’t die in his late 60s when I was barley out of college. He really loved little kids and would have loved my kids who were born a few years after his death. At least my Mom knew her grandchildren.

No, I don’t think it is a good idea for older people to adopt.

Oh yes, one more thing as I think about this. While my friends in grade school and even high school had siblings and were excited when their parents were expecting another child, mine didn’t. I saw how my friends had younger siblings and how they played together. I missed that and felt alone.

Posted by KallyLB on May 20, 2012 at 8:35pm

(((KallyB)))

Posted by katiesue on May 20, 2012 at 8:56pm

I must add that my friend’s grandmother was 67 when she adopted her son’s child. It was a disaster. all of the other siblings (who were really her aunts and uncles but now were her siblings) were in their 40s and 50s because this grandmother was 17 when she got married and had her first child. Maturity levels were different in 1907! (I saw the photo of this mother and her year old child - beautiful Victorian dress, such love on her face for son! But today, teens are mocked for getting married and having children so young. I often wonder why it was okay back then and what happened to society that many of our young people today don’t have coping skills.)

So the adoptee in this family grew up with her grandmother as her mother. She was not only embarassed by the age of her adoptive parents, but by the fact that her natural parents did not want to parent her. Her mother was in and out of her life, and her father was, too. So, the grandparents were there to pick up the pieces. Yet, as much as they tried to be parents, the conflicts were evident. The adoptee had so many identity issues, became defiant, and ran away as a teen. She got married early and had kids early, and kept them.

Of course the older siblings (her aunts and uncles) died, leaving the adoptee to have her mother-grandmother live with her while she declined into complete dementia. This was happening in a household with very young children. At her breaking point, the adoptee called for help. One of the two remaining older siblings (aunt) then stepped up and housed the 93 year old mother in a hospital bed in the living room, with nurses, until she died.

So, not only do I think that grandparents should not adopt their son or daughter’s child, I don’t think any one in thier 60s should adopt. Or otherwise use technology to give birth. The child suffers.

Posted by KallyLB on May 20, 2012 at 8:57pm

Thnak you, areyouserious. Hugs back to you.

Posted by KallyLB on May 20, 2012 at 10:34pm

Many of us have learned so much from Jane’s thoughtful and educational discussions about racial discrimination.  I look forward to seeing her apply the same thoughtful consideration to age discrimination. Parents are chosen based on the specifics of each situation NOT general characteristics or stereotypes. If it were otherwise a computer could make the choice.

Who would the computer choose as the ideal parent?  A computer would have to rule out older applicants over 45 as if they weren’t dead yet they would be at some time.  Those in their teens would be out because of less money and less parenting experience, those 25 - 45 would not make the cut because they have less time for children, plus licensed drivers in this group have more than double the fatal car accidents of other age groups (including older ) so children would be at risk of dying, those in cities would have homes with higher crime rates and pollution, Jewish folks have a higher incidence of Tay Sachs disease, while Black/ AA parents have more Sickle Cell Anemia and higher incarceration rates, men have more heart attacks and prostate cancer, women more breast and uterine cancer.  Who would be left as our perfect parent???

The reality is that there are no perfect parents.  There are some horrible and abusive parents, for sure.  Most of us however are “good enough” parents, just doing the best we can.  Maybe you’ve heard of the expression “It takes a village to raise a child.”?  This is what that means.

There are 143 million homeless children.  There are NOT millions of potential adoptive parents lining up. I can guarantee you that the children who die on the streets would not care about the age of a parent, if there was one, to feed, house and care for them.  Do you think it would matter to the kids who die young in orphanages of diseases and conditions that are curable if the parent to pay for the treatment they need was over 60?  Do you think the many children who age out of orphanages without parents and die in their teens of suicide or prostitution or crime would rather that then a parent that met these standards of age perfection?  Let’s get a little perspective here!!

While we are at it, let’s hear no more of the myth that only the child’s needs are important in adoption.  No one spends this kind of money and time totally as a sacrifice for a child. This puts a horrible burden on any child to be told this lie. Parents who claim this are either kidding themselves or lying. I would be the first to jump in front of a car or sacrifice if a child’s life or welfare was at stake.  Still,  a family that is build solely around the needs of one of its members to the exclusion of all others is not healthy.

I have seen adoption forums that have one post every few months.  This one has some fantastic conversations that are so much more thought provoking informative and helpful because they include so many different viewpoints and posts. If the posts degenerate into a rant or criticism of people, or a childish diatribe about whose view point counts more, no one is safe or feels comfortable to participate openly and honestly and we all lose.  We benefit from ALL these thoughts and experiences in choosing what helps each of us be better parents, to choose a family that is right for all concerned and flourishes, and to heal and balance our own lives.

Posted by Happy Camper on May 21, 2012 at 12:19pm

I really wanted to adopt again and Im 51. I went back and forth and painfully i’ve decided to focus on our Adopted Daughter to make her life as good as we can and give her a full life.  I don’t know what the future holds. I hope to God I stay healthy like most of my relatives and parents. I hope our daughter won’t resent our age as a teenager - but if it is not age it will be something else. I read the comments of all the things my “parent didn’t do” with me because of age. I smile. My parents were in their 20s and early 30s when they had us. They didn’t do a lot either. They hated sports but loved the arts…guess what I;m creative. They didn’t play on the floor or throw a baseball. Guess what, I learned to draw on my own, learned to write on my own. Shared experiences iwth friends my parents didn’t want to do…like turning upsidfe down on a fair ride.  I wasn’t embarassed by my parents as a teen as they didn’t intrude on my teen life.  I had to be home on time and follow safety rules but really, they weren’t part of my teenworld. Now I get to the fun part. when I was 21 my mom became depressive psychotic. I lost her mentally. She was only 50. I LOVED my mom and it was hard to lose her to mental illness. We finally got her stabalized when I was 40 and then dementia began to hit. She was only 32 when she had me.  I love her tremendously. I regret she became ill but I can’t blame her. Nothing like maturity to see that.
My dad is 81 and for the first time having health problems. I didn’t get along with him as a kid because he came to parent hood angry from unresolved issues of his childhood. As an adult I marval at his mind and his experiences and the person he is now. I see how generous and relaxed he is with my daughter that he wasn’t with me.  Lastly, I know a 13 year old gilr. Her mom was mid 30s when she got pregant her dad is in his 60s. Well guess what, her mom had an anurysm (I can’t spell it sorry) and died when the girl was 11.  She is terrified her dad who is healthy and active and 70 will die now as well.  But her mom was only in her 40s. I’ve known several mom’s who passed in their early 40s and left teens behind. You can NEVER predict the future. You can NEVER predict what your child will think of you. Young parents screw up and cause hurt. So do older parents. Some moms feel embarrassed to play with their kids because they have to prove they are adult. Older parents dont’ give a damn.  My mom always took naps. Occasionally I do. It is the cards given to you in life you learn from and mature wtih. I would never adopt a baby at 61 and right now I’m not adopting at 51.  But I am sooooo glad to be a parent. I rise to the occasion and will continue to. As long as health wins out I will continue to try to be on the ball, knowing that I need to keep up by reading, trying to new activities, and trying not to embarrass my daughter. There is no real answer to this. For mer personally I wouldn’t adopt a baby at 61. I would foster if I really need to love a child.  but I won’t attack a parent over age. I see 20 year olds screw up as much as an older parent might. My daughter will be embarrassed by my absent mindedness but then I’ve been that way since I was 16. I am like my aunt and proud of it. Someday I hope my daughter will be proud of me.It won’t be in her teens or 20s. It will be later.

Posted by KRM on May 22, 2012 at 11:32pm

I really wanted to adopt again and Im 51. I went back and forth and painfully i’ve decided to focus on our Adopted Daughter to make her life as good as we can and give her a full life.  I don’t know what the future holds. I hope to God I stay healthy like most of my relatives and parents. I hope our daughter won’t resent our age as a teenager - but if it is not age it will be something else. I read the comments of all the things my “parent didn’t do” with me because of age. I smile. My parents were in their 20s and early 30s when they had us. They didn’t do a lot either. They hated sports but loved the arts…guess what I;m creative. They didn’t play on the floor or throw a baseball. Guess what, I learned to draw on my own, learned to write on my own. Shared experiences iwth friends my parents didn’t want to do…like turning upsidfe down on a fair ride.  I wasn’t embarassed by my parents as a teen as they didn’t intrude on my teen life.  I had to be home on time and follow safety rules but really, they weren’t part of my teenworld. Now I get to the fun part. when I was 21 my mom became depressive psychotic. I lost her mentally. She was only 50. I LOVED my mom and it was hard to lose her to mental illness. We finally got her stabalized when I was 40 and then dementia began to hit. She was only 32 when she had me.  I love her tremendously. I regret she became ill but I can’t blame her. Nothing like maturity to see that.
My dad is 81 and for the first time having health problems. I didn’t get along with him as a kid because he came to parent hood angry from unresolved issues of his childhood. As an adult I marval at his mind and his experiences and the person he is now. I see how generous and relaxed he is with my daughter that he wasn’t with me.  Lastly, I know a 13 year old gilr. Her mom was mid 30s when she got pregant her dad is in his 60s. Well guess what, her mom had an anurysm (I can’t spell it sorry) and died when the girl was 11.  She is terrified her dad who is healthy and active and 70 will die now as well.  But her mom was only in her 40s. I’ve known several mom’s who passed in their early 40s and left teens behind. You can NEVER predict the future. You can NEVER predict what your child will think of you. Young parents screw up and cause hurt. So do older parents. Some moms feel embarrassed to play with their kids because they have to prove they are adult. Older parents dont’ give a damn.  My mom always took naps. Occasionally I do. It is the cards given to you in life you learn from and mature wtih. I would never adopt a baby at 61 and right now I’m not adopting at 51.  But I am sooooo glad to be a parent. I rise to the occasion and will continue to. As long as health wins out I will continue to try to be on the ball, knowing that I need to keep up by reading, trying to new activities, and trying not to embarrass my daughter. There is no real answer to this. For mer personally I wouldn’t adopt a baby at 61. I would foster if I really need to love a child.  but I won’t attack a parent over age. I see 20 year olds screw up as much as an older parent might. My daughter will be embarrassed by my absent mindedness but then I’ve been that way since I was 16. I am like my aunt and proud of it. Someday I hope my daughter will be proud of me.It won’t be in her teens or 20s. It will be later.

Posted by KRM on May 22, 2012 at 11:32pm

The answer will always be in your heart.  Listen to it.  I believe the universe has a plan for us and we may not see the pieces fit together for years to come.  I am 55, my husband is 64.  Our daughter, our Miracle, is 8 years old.  We still can’t believe the family we have!  My daughter is definitely a “Daddy’s Girl” and I have said, since the moment they set eyes on each other, that my husband was put on this earth to be Michaela’s Daddy!  Like any family, we have things about our family that we love and things we wish were different.  Michaela lost her last grandparent, Nan, who was 88.  She realizes she doesn’t have any grandparents now.  But, we’ve grown our family by choice, by adding significant people that nurture her like a grandparent would.  We are preparing her to be independent and take care of herself.  Hopefully, my husband and I will both live to a ripe old age.  Michaela has many friends from school and another group of friends all adopted from Guatemala. 
There is no simple answer to this question.  Like many things in life, you just have to take a leap of faith and we are so happy we did!

Posted by DoreenQ on May 23, 2012 at 1:10am

Here is our situation. I am significantly younger than my husband. He was 60 when we adopted our 30 month old and 65 when we adopted our 18 month old. I remember in our home study being asked the obvious. If he died, given his age, how would I manage. I have professional skills and would be able to single parent. How has it worked? He is turning 75 this year, but no one thinks he is that old. He has good health and is enjoying parenting very much. As for dealing with the teen years, that is a tough time for every parent. He is a very involved parent, providing some of the taxi service to activities and also very hands on with care and discipline. Our older daughter was self-conscious about having older parents UNTIL she got to high-school. Now in grade 10 and 2nd year of high school, she has discovered that there are some big problems with some of her friends parents, and their lack of support or interest in their children. She has literally stopped complaining about having older parents. It is difficult for our children as we live in an area that has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in our province. Not only are we older than many of the parents here, even I am older than many of the grandparents. One important thing we did was to consider very carefully, who would be guardians for our children, because of age, there could be a higher probability of having to parent our children. We did choose significantly younger guardians, who are wonderful parents as we wanted our children to have wonderful parents who we knew would love them forever if we were not able to.  A key point of being an older parent is your health. Not all older adults will develop Alzheimers, need surgery or have a stroke. And as an older parent, you have a responsibility to maintain your health as much as you are able to.
In part, age is a state of mind!

Posted by JaneBB on May 23, 2012 at 1:12am

Some people do die young, but more people die old. I’m sorry, but I think it’s a bit selfish to seek a newborn at that age. If you want to be a parent you can parent one of the MANY older children in the foster/adopt system who desperately need someone to love and guide them before they reach adulthood. If it’s truly about the child, then use your additional wisdom and maturity to help a child who would otherwise languish in some form of institutional care.

Posted by wasingerl on May 23, 2012 at 2:51am

I believe 60 is too old for a newborn unless it’s a bio relative. As a nurse and 40something year old, I’ve seen first hand spry 60 year olds die—or worse yet, be devastated and debilitated in a heartbeat. I’ve lost count of how many patients have advised me to live it up while I can.  Obviously anything can happen to anyone, but odds are higher for a 60 year old.
The chances of one living to see this child married is pretty slim. I hv several friends who hv lost parents young and it really effects them. Those with elderly parents struggle taking care of their parents and their young while working FT.  And I’m talking Bout those who were in their forties when they gave birth, not twenty years later…
The second facet here is a healthy newborn will not go Unadopted. PAPs are waiting in droves. I’m all for older parents adopting those kids who would otherwise not be placed. 
I understand the desire to adopt but the child’s best interest has to be first.
Perhaps my view is skewed since I work with sick people, but it’s also reality…

Posted by Lymbo4y on May 23, 2012 at 3:37am

“While we are at it, let’s hear no more of the myth that only the child’s needs are important in adoption. “

Believe me, I know that too well after being in online adoption community for over 2 years.

It is also one of the reasons I first decided to join this community - because I was seeing examples of when the child needs seemed to be way down the list.

Posted by katiesue on May 23, 2012 at 4:10am

areyouserious nailed it. Adoption is firstly about the needs of the adopters, second about the needs of the business/organization supplying babies, third about the natural parents and the children’s needs are somewhat below the clerks, secretaries and government agents who process the paperwork. They’d be out of work if they had no industry to service. There wouldn’t be a website and a printed magazine if money weren’t being made on it. I mean no disrespect to the fine editors and moderators of this forum, only to state a fact.

Someday your children will be in their 40s with the life experience to put their childhood in proper perspective and the ability to understand for themselves what it means to be a father or mother. I guess if you’re in your 80’s or 90’s it won’t matter much in practical terms what they think of you, but if you want them to be with you then you’d better be able to spend the time with them now.

Posted by ScottK on May 23, 2012 at 7:02am

Although I have enjoyed reading many of the posts on this obviously controversial discussion topic, I still continue to be amazed at some of the judgmental attitudes and continued age discriminatory comments. It scares me that there are so many adoptive parents who think so negatively, for one. And as a career social worker and family/parenting educator, so many of the opinions here are not based in global reality or in scientific evidence either, but in individuals’ subjectiveness. That is fine as long as you recognize that you are writing from your own opinion & experience rather than a true representation of the general reality of adoptions. For example, there are many advantages to children who have been adopted by older parents and many disadvantages to having younger parents, generally speaking. Yet the reverse of this is ALSO true. There are MANY older parents who do an outstanding job of raising their kids all the way into adulthood, and yes, they do live that long in good health and they are not too tired to do activities with their kids either. But of course, the reverse of this is also true too. I personally have witnessed this with my own clients but have also been both an older parent AND younger parent myself.  There truly are disadvantages and advantages to both.  But to think that JUST BECAUSE someone is older, they should not be able to adopt a baby, THAT is very judgemental and discriminatory. Remember that for all those children who complain about it,  there are also many babies who have been adopted by older parents who grow up to be very happy that they had such loving families and great lives and they do not find that the older age of their parents was much of an issue at all. In fact I just talked to someone the other day who told me this exactly! Anyhow, everyone has a right to his or opinion, of course, but just be careful not to judge based on age alone, just as you would hopefully not judge on race or religion alone either.

Posted by Ava on May 23, 2012 at 8:23am

I don’t think people are discriminating against older people, we are just concerned about health issues. 

Also we are talking about adopting newborns (whom are already greatly in demand by others). 

Why not adopt or foster older children from foster care.

Posted by katiesue on May 23, 2012 at 9:27am

But when you assume that because a person is older they have health issues you ARE discriminating.  The meaning of the word is to base judgment on derogatory stereotypes, not the specific facts in the situation.  It is no different than discrimination against adoptees, Blacks, Jews or anyone else.

You are also assuming that those “others” who want the babies ARE healthy - also NOT necessarily true.

If your true feeling was concern for the babies and for the health and suitability of a person to parent them you would NOT be making suggestions like this based only on stereotypes, but on the actual health and suitability of the person involved.

Posted by Happy Camper on May 23, 2012 at 9:45am

Curious as to why you are wanting to adopt a newborn at the age of 60?

Posted by aayundt on May 23, 2012 at 10:38am

Oh please.  Legally, adoption is about the best interests of the child.  The minute it makes the legal transformation to satisfying the needs of adults who wish to acquire unrelated infants, it becomes illegal.  No one, and I mean NO ONE has the right to have a child by any means other than producing one with his or her own body. 

If a child is placed with an older couple who are biological family members allowing that child to maintain the natural bonds of family, that’s a pretty good argument in favor of the best interest of the child.  Family is a constitutionally protected institution. 

If, however, the older couple is unrelated strangers, it’s really hard to imagine how being placed with someone who will be past average life expectancy before the child graduates high school and/or college is in that child’s best interest.  Average life expectancy in the US for men is 76 and for women is 81.  Anyone adopting an infant at the age of 60 should expect to be dead before the child graduates college. 

I am so tired of hearing people whine about discrimination when it comes to adoption.  You want adoption discrimination?  Be an adoptee.  You want age discrimination in adoption?  Again, be an adoptee.  Try being too young to remember who you are and where you came from and due to that transient, age-related deficiency, you are stripped of your identity and permanently, legally prohibited from accessing your own records.  Try that and get back to me.

Posted by Jeanne on May 23, 2012 at 11:15am

I am 64 years old. My husband is 51. My youngest child is 3 followed by a 4 year old, a 6 year old and a 10 year old, all adopted. The youngest two we had a court battle over as the social worker for them did not want to place them with us. The judge decided in our favor after a total assessment of our family.We have another adopted daughter of 15, a birth son of 19, and 8 other birth children that no longer live at home. Our older son and daughter are both disabled. I am far better organized than when my birth children were young, I am more patient, hopefully wiser as I have learned what to worry about and what to let go.Our children are happy and we believe that we are giving them a secure and happy childhood. I think that each case must be decided on its own merits and that there should be no universal rule about adoption. Some children are perhaps better off in a single parent family, others who might do better as an only child, etc. Let us start to see people not as stereotypes but as individuals and judge them not on the basis of age , race, religion or income, but on the ability to be a good parent.

Posted by agnes on May 23, 2012 at 5:07pm

wow, hard to sit on this one. Happy Camper you said it for me, Agnes and all the older parents (including me), grandparents raising kids, etc., stay strong. 

There is not a crystal ball about any of us or our kids.  Anything could happen at any moment to anyone of us that could impact our children or us.

I too have a MSW and went to school with future social workers, and surprisely there were a few that were judgemental just like the rest of the world. However, when you live in a reality where everything is negative perhaps it is not hard to view an adoption by an older parent as negative (or apply those experiences to any situation).  Said that I don’t know any of you and can’t really make that judgement anymore than you can truly judge if I am too old to adopt a newborn or any child. 

So, should my parents have given me up for adoption (and my siblings) since they died at 45 and 51? I was 17 and 19 when they passed away; my father unexpected and my mother from breast cancer?  My little brother was 13.  I have a cousin that lost her mom at 4 (her mom was 28). 

I have such incrediable postive memories of them - and I miss them to this day.  Sure I couldn’t have gotten involved in some kind of bad behavior like my best friend with 2 parents that are still around today or been pretty messed up.  Most parents build the best foundation that they can. I feel it is an individual decision on whether to parent at any age. AND in adoption it can also be the decision of the fire marshall, social services, police and dmv reports, references, medical providers, income, your house, potential birth parents, case worker and ultimately a judge.

And gee my grandmother had her first child at 13, had 8 more and lived to be 83.  That was the 1920s, If that were today, many would think she would be too young to parent. 

Just another comment - There are alot of us out there. Please don’t assume we are the grandparent or say in front of our child or to our child “is this your grandmother” and then give us looks when you realize we are indeed “mommy” or “daddy” (just like the APs that have posted about judgements because of your bi-racial family).  If you have to ask - then ask if we are the mom/dad, aunt or uncle, don’t assume… we will correct you. Those assumations (frequently made by other adults - and utimately through their kids) are what really hurt our children. 

Embrace us, support us and please don’t judge us. There is enough judging and descrimination in this awesome world of ours. 

As always the discussion is interesting with many diverse opinions and of course thought provoking.  I’ve learned somethings that will help me on my parenting journey.

s

Posted by sls on May 23, 2012 at 9:25pm

I’m sorry Jeanne that you feel so bitter about adoption. I am guessing you an adoptee and your life was not that great after all and that you long for the family you feel was taken from you. I would also guess maybe you are fairly young? Or you have a lot of unresolved grief.  But I have a question. Do you really think your birth genetic family wouldn’t have made their own mistakes? Would they have been the Brady Bunch for you?  There are NO perfect families. I thought mine were imperfect for years but then over time I saw many families were screwed up in some way or other. A bullying sibling. A disconnected stressed out parent. Stressful times. Really, you could kept by a parent who resented you. You could have been raised in poverty because your birth mother was unable to support both of you. Why do you think she gave you up?  Not every adoptee is unhappy. Not every child likes their parents.  A family is a family. Most people go through being angry at their family. With time and age comes appreciation. I hope you find peace with your adopted family. they gave you everything they were capable of. If they treat you badly, then they probably treated themselves just as bad. But don’t attack families. I love my adopted daughter whether she is genetically connected or not.  Ims ure will she will go through times of alientation…as we ALLL do in our life. If only, if only…..but at some point you come to find peace and appreciate what they tried to do. My parents weren’t perfect but they did their best.

Posted by KRM on May 23, 2012 at 10:04pm

KRM,  you are making an assumption that is not only presumptious TO make, but likely wrong, wrong, wrong.  If you imagine that any child you adopt or have adopted WON’T yearn for information about his/her first family, WON’T have inner conflicts—be glad to have grown up with the family he/she had while ALSO grieving for the one he/she lost, WON’T feel angry that he/she is not entitled to what EVERYone else takes for granted—his/her ORIGINAL birth certificate instead of receiving a falsified document,  and WON’T be quite resentful of not having full and complete access to his/her medical history—then you are going to be in for a rude awakening. Jeanne’s thoughts and feelings—those that she expressed in her post—are NORMAL for most people who are adopted, irregardless of whether she had a wonderful childhood and dearly loved her adoptive parents, or not!  They are not evidence of someone being bitter about the family they were raised in, but about the way that adoptees are treated, which DOES constitute discrimination and which we should ALL be angry and upset about!

      I am absolutely appalled and disheartened when I see adult adoptees have the courage and heart to speak out in a forum of adoptive parents (irregardless of whether they are also adoptive parents, or not)—teaching us what we need to know, and are judged and belittled and marginalized.  Folks, your children may and probably will hold similar opinions someday.  Why not take a deep breath, consider why you are so intensely reactive, consider that you may NEED to see things from a different point of view- that of your child when he or she reaches adolescence—and resolve to be WITH adoptees instead of taking an adversarial role. 

    Finally, I want to thank happy camper for having complimented me on many prior posts.  Discussions like these that are controversial can and often do set individuals up as adversaries.  I appreciate it mightily when someone recognizes that potential, communicates to the other person who holds a different opinion that they realize that they think similarly about many other things, and politely disagrees.  Happy Camper, I do, vehemently disagree with you over the statement that adoption is supposed to be about all of us, and that stating that older people should not be granted permission to adopt newborns or young children is “age discrimination.” 

    I work with the children.  I see and hear thousands of times over their pain, fear, sorrow, and sense of being different—and how adoptive parents and others fail to really grasp how deep and abiding those feelings are. How that experience shapes them.  How fearful they are due to their sense of abandonment to reveal their true feelings to the very parents who love and cherish them.  That is WHY I am so passionate about giving voice to what they share with me.  That is WHY I think its so important TO make them the priority—both when they are needing a new family, and again, as they are growing up.  We are, after all, adults.  We CAN’T put our needs ahead of those of the children, or even on the same level.  We are adults.  They are the ones who have most at stake. Not us.  My opinion does not constitute discriminatory attitude—it is informed by the needs of the children.

  Again, I would like to express my gratitude to Monica, areyouserious, Jeanne, and ScottK, who are willing to share with us, from the perspective of being adoptees, how differently adoption looks from their point of view.  I feel angry when others make assumptions—regard and treat you as the “bad”  and “angry” adoptees—assuming that you had unhappy adoption experiences and that THEIR kids will never share those views because they are doing such FANTASTIC jobs as parents.  Wow!  As an adoption therapist and veteran adoptive parent with many adult sons and daughters, all I can think is that they have a great deal to learn!  They could learn what they should here, from you, so that they will do the good job that they want to do, or, they can learn the hard way, which, unfortunately, is often at the expense of their children. 

Jane A. Brown, MSW

Posted by Jane Brown on May 23, 2012 at 10:51pm

Ok, I’m going off topic (sorry, moderators!) because I don’t have much to add to the conversation.  People with more experience, both professional and personal are weighing in, so my comments would just be bland, ill-informed opinion. 

But, KRM, I can’t let your comment stand without some challenge.  You may not agree with Jeanne, but she is under no obligation to explain her situation, age, or background, and it is inappropriate for you to make such broad, sweeping assumptions about her. It smacks of defensiveness and it attempts to undermine her arguments by undermining her as a person with her own experiences, training, etc.  We each come here with our own backgrounds and stories, and while knowing such things is interesting and can add some perspective, ultimately we need to be able to read the words that are there, the thoughts and arguments people put forth, and evaluate those ideas. To do that openly and honestly, we need to start from the assumption that someone we disagree with initially has thought at least as much as we have about the topic, cares at least as much as we do, and has educated himself or herself at least as much as we have. Growth and development of opinions comes from being challenged, and that means being open to being stung once in a while even if you eventually find you still hold your original views. Your statement boils down to: “you’re wrong because you probably had a bad time of it and don’t understand what I’ve been through or how I feel”, and that does not demonstrate respect for Jeanne or respect for the consideration she has given to her perspectives. You’re stating that your experiences should trump hers.  You don’t have to agree with someone to acknowledge that we each have a right to our own views, and you’ll learn more by assuming that Jeanne has valid reasons for holding them, even if you never learn what those reasons are.

Posted by kickabout on May 23, 2012 at 11:00pm

Yesterday, our daughter and her husband happily announced that they are expecting their first child.  This baby will be our seventh grandchild.  Our oldest grandchildren are now fourteen and sixteen years-old. I am fifty six.  Because we’ve been embroiled in this discussion, I have had pause to consider the role my husband and I have played in the lives of our grandchildren, one of whom is asleep upstairs even as I write, and their parents—my sons and daughters.

      While our adopted sons and daughters needed us in a more hands-on, everyday way while they were growing up, they have needed us more recently, too, and I am VERY glad that I am able to be here with them.  That I am in good health, and mentally together enough to be able to see and respond to their needs.  Some of those needs are quite different from the psychological and emotional needs of our adult children who were born to us (two of those born to us are now adults). 

      Pregnancy was a very wonderful but stressful and emotionally-loaded time for our adopted sons and daughters.  They felt closer to the experience of their original parents than ever before—for they could really grasp, for the first time, what it was like to be SO aware of an unborn child and SO aware of the comittment they were making on an everyday basis to prepare to birth and raise them—something that went wrong for their own biological parents.  Pregnancy, for each of them, was bittersweet, and something their non-adopted friends, co-workers, peers could not see or understand.  Each of them, in their own way, expressed once again that sense of feeling different and alone—poorly understood by others, and sad or angry because once again, their life experiences are always tinged with sadness and loss and questions about what might have been. Each of them has expressed how very glad they are that they can reveal these thoughts and feelings to us, their parents, and have us try to empathize, but admit that we cannot ever know exactly how they feel because we did not grow up adopted. 

      Our sons and daughters have many friends who are also adoptees.  They have shared with us (as have those friends, and as have other adult adoptees I have counseled, through the years) that their relationships with their adoptive parents too-often became strained during pregnancy.  Their parents—if they had been infertile—either tried to live vicariously through them and became intrusive because they wanted to try to experience pregnancy through them, OR they were so jealous that they distanced at a time that their sons and daughters deeply and dearly needed their emotional support and understanding.  Again—this made me very aware of how DIFFERENT it is to live as someone who was adopted, and how MUCH we need to be there and not just be a memory, or a burden our kids have to take care of at a time of their lives that is so intense. 

      Our sons and daughters have each had lots of things stirred up as they watch their own children grow and develop, and think of the parents from whom they were separated.  They have leaned heavily on us to listen and “be there,” for others care, but not enough to listen and really grasp how different their parenting experiences are, as a result. 

    I will never forget being in the newborn nursery as my adult son met HIS son for the first time. He gazed at him for what seemed like days, finally seeing what he was searching for—the resemblance to himself—something he had waited his entire life for.  His face showed his enormous joy.  The next milli-second it was awash with a far different emotion—grief.  In-the-moment he could not say why, but was deeply grateful that I was there to just put my hand on his shoulder to let him know that I saw and was there for him.  Later, he was able to tell me how he suddenly realized that we were all there celebrating this baby’s birth, while no one had celebrated HIS birth. It had been a stain on the birth family’s reputation and honor.  And it had been his LOSS-day, rather than his BIRTH-day.  Immediately after making that connection in his mind, he said that he felt very angry—angry that on even this, very special day—a day that should be nothing but joyous, his child’s birthday was overshadowed by loss and grief.  Again, he was VERY glad that we, his parents, were there with him—to catch and share the gain and loss, the joy and sorrow. 

      Our children are able to put into words how terrifying for them in some deep place inside of themselves, to know that we will probably die long before they do.  That while their friends, siblings, cousins, and spouses also dread losing their parents, that there is a different intensity to their fear that comes out of the feelings of abandonment that they have carried because they were separated from their original families.  That it is comforting to them to be able to say that to us.  One of them said that we are like sponges in his life—always there to absorb some of his feelings, and that that is extremely helpful.  He can explain if and when he wishes to or needs to, or not.  He can express his feelings without being judged or hearing “yes, but” from us—which NO one enjoys or feels good about.  That because he has extra issues that others do not easily or readily sense or understand, that is very very important to him.  Again, it makes me very glad that we are not only alive, but young enough to “be there” without having already traded roles so that he is OUR caretaker instead of the other way around. 

    Knowing how important a role we still play in the lives of our adult sons and daughters makes me feel even more sympathy and concern for the many adopted youngsters I know whose adoptive parents are already dealing with chronic illnesses, dementia, or have died.  They are irreplaceable people in the lives of their sons and daughters, and their children are just WAY to young to be dealing with that. I would not knowingly put ANY child in a situation where he or she is more likely to experience that, than to have their parents with them well into adulthood.  That is not discrimination towards the adults, it is a pro-CHILD stance. 

Jane A. Brown, MSW

Jane A. Brown, MSW

Posted by Jane Brown on May 23, 2012 at 11:23pm

I can’t help but think that if any adoptee were to say what Jane Brown - the therapist - says, we’d be banned from this site.

Thank you, Jane, for stating our position. Again, if a person in authority says it, it’s okay, but let an adoptee say it, we are insensitive, combative, arguementative, threatening, and abusive. We’d also be accused of “having a bad experience” and “being ungrateful” and “being angry”.

Our anger is justified. Those of us who were adopted by people who were old enough to be our grandparents know all to well what happens. Kids tend to mock other kids who don’t fit in, so when your parents aren’t “hip” or “cool” or can’t swim in the pool with you, they just send you to the pool by yourself or with a friend, there’s plenty of feelings you don’t belong. Or being lonely.

And the being frightened when your parents get sick. Like when my mother took me along to her doctor and I waited in the waiting room, alone, only to overhear some of the conversation when she returned. There was concern over healing and how long would it take? So, when I asked what was wrong because I was worried, I was told to be quiet. Some things are not discussed with a 10 year old child whose mother is 50-something.

Or when my father threw up blood when I was 13. Rush him to the hospital. Wait around the hosptial waiting room because a kid is not allowed into the rooms and there was no babysitter.

Sorry, no, no older parents. This isn’t agism, this is looking out for the kid who has to cope with older parents’ illnesses.

Yes,, kids who are born to the parents who raise them also might have this in their lives, but to willingly put a child t risk, no.

About the angry adoptee stuff, as Jane Brown says:
“KRM,  you are making an assumption that is not only presumptious TO make, but likely wrong, wrong, wrong.  If you imagine that any child you adopt or have adopted WON’T yearn for information about his/her first family, WON’T have inner conflicts—be glad to have grown up with the family he/she had while ALSO grieving for the one he/she lost, WON’T feel angry that he/she is not entitled to what EVERYone else takes for granted—his/her ORIGINAL birth certificate instead of receiving a falsified document,  and WON’T be quite resentful of not having full and complete access to his/her medical history—then you are going to be in for a rude awakening. Jeanne’s thoughts and feelings—those that she expressed in her post—are NORMAL for most people who are adopted, irregardless of whether she had a wonderful childhood and dearly loved her adoptive parents, or not!  They are not evidence of someone being bitter about the family they were raised in, but about the way that adoptees are treated, which DOES constitute discrimination and which we should ALL be angry and upset about!”

and

“I am absolutely appalled and disheartened when I see adult adoptees have the courage and heart to speak out in a forum of adoptive parents (irregardless of whether they are also adoptive parents, or not)—teaching us what we need to know, and are judged and belittled and marginalized.  Folks, your children may and probably will hold similar opinions someday.  Why not take a deep breath, consider why you are so intensely reactive, consider that you may NEED to see things from a different point of view- that of your child when he or she reaches adolescence—and resolve to be WITH adoptees instead of taking an adversarial role.”

I find it very interesting that adoptive parents and pre-adoptive parents have to hear this from an authority figure for these words to have meaning.

Angry adoptees have been saying this for many years, and said these words on this forum, but when we say it, adoptive parents complain that we are mean and insenstive to their needs. No, we are not. What is ours is ours. We HAVE lost a great deal and it is about time that adoptive parents rally together with us to make effective change.

That starts with empathy, putting yourself in an adoptee’s shoes.

Posted by KallyLB on May 24, 2012 at 2:23am

I said this a lot earlier in this post in regards to something else:

“As for the dismissal of Monica H’s experience, I do note this a lot from APs.  If an adoptee has a negative experience about anything to do with adoption or their adoptive family, they seem to be automatically deemed to be not worth listening to.”

Therefore KRM just made me laugh out loud when she too used the “I"m sorry you had a bad experience” argument to dismiss Jeanne.  Hopefully, she won’t invalidate her own daughter’s feelings. 

Btw I suspect Jeanne is of a similar age to me, i.e. a 60s/70s “baby” whose mothers relinquished us because there was little or no parental or financial support. 

“Really, you could kept by a parent who resented you. You could have been raised in poverty because your birth mother was unable to support both of you. Why do you think she gave you up?” 

Many of us older adoptees have discovered that our mothers were lovely ladies who had obstacles thrown against them and coercive counselling used, making them feel they had little or no choice but relinquish.  I’ve never understood why so many APs seem to think it is OK that birthmother feel so desperate that they feel adoption is the only way they can keep their baby safe (often “helped” to “see the light” by social workers early in a pregnancy).

The following was written by a very astute NZ adoption writer called Anne Else in 1988 about the 60s/70s:

“There was no need for overt pressure on the single woman, although this was certainly used on occasion. It was enough to ask her a question no other kind of expectant mother was asked: was she going to keep her baby or not? She was told to compare what she could offer the child with what a married couple could offer, and to decide, not according to what she wanted, but according to what was best for the child. It took exceptional determination for a young woman, pregnant for the first time, to resist that argument and insist that what was best for the child was the child’s mother.
In addition, almost everything that happened to her, from the day she revealed her pregnancy, was based on the assumption that her baby was going to be adopted. The history of the Motherhood of Man Movement shows how matter-of-fact and business-like the whole process quickly became, and how completely it was accepted as both normal and necessary, so that keeping a child could be described as ‘making a tragic mistake’.
‘We must cease once and for all’, writes Foucault, ‘to describe the effects of power in negative terms: it “excludes”, it “represses”, it “censors”. ... In fact power produces reality, it produces domains of objects and rituals of truth. The individual and the knowledge that may be gained of him [or that she may gain of herself] belong to this production. Examining what happened to pregnant single women in the heyday of stranger adoption, we can begin to understand how power did indeed produce reality for them, profoundly affecting both their own lives and the lives of their children.
However, as it became clear that the supply of babies for adoption was outstripping demand, reality was slowly re-produced. Those who worked most closely with unmarried mothers began suggesting that they might actually want to keep their children, and should even be assisted to do so by the state, if not for their own sake, then for the sake of the child. Sixteen years after the introduction of the Domestic Purposes Benefit, adoption is once again being presented as the best way to ‘rescue’ children from incompetent young single mothers.”

Posted by katiesue on May 24, 2012 at 4:50am

“Really, you could kept by a parent who resented you. You could have been raised in poverty because your birth mother was unable to support both of you. Why do you think she gave you up?”

A lot of it back in the day was also due to shame, certainly encouraged by social workers of the time.

I just discovered a biological cousin was in a very similar position to my own bmom, she was going to relinquish her child.  However, in her case, her mum and dad brought her home and the father ended up marrying her and they are still happily married to this day. 

In fact, my birthfamily are exceptionally nice people.  My bmom died young so I will never meet her but the rest are really lovely.  However, my bmom was like many girls in the same position - the combination of shame of being pregnant and being too scared to tell their parents/or just plain lack of support of many parents (many who drove their own children to the mother’s home), the fathers shirking their duty and it being extremely hard to raise a child at that time with no parental/financial support combined with counselling that would have made them feel that they would be selfish to even try, counselling that at no time supported any girl that wanted to parent, would have meant many girls were railroaded into believing that adoption was what was best for their babies, even if it wasn’t what their heart wanted.

Btw if you saw a drowning mother and baby, would you deal with it by:

a) throwing a lifeline and getting the mother to put a lifeline around both herself and baby (helping her to help herself and her baby at the same time) or:

b) getting the mother to hand the baby to you and telling the mother that she can try to save herself and then, if she drowns, just say, “well, if she really wanted to live, she would have survived somehow”.

or c)  getting the mother to hand the baby to you and telling the mother what a brave person she is to hand the baby over to you; let her drown and then tell everyone what a hero she is.

Posted by katiesue on May 24, 2012 at 5:08am

Areyouserious’s understanding of the dynamics of what her birth mom went thru brought back memories of the time for me.  It was definitely like that, and for people who became pregnant or were adopted who lived before that it was often even worse. Girls who got pregnant out of marriage or young just went away, and often were excommunicated from their families, children adopted had the truth hidden from them because it was considered so much of a stigma.  Thankfully things have improved at least somewhat.Though there is much more that can be changed for the better.

Kally B your childhood experiences with sick parents sound horrible and traumatic. (Though as you say it could have been the same if they were young and sick.)  For me it reinforced how wrong the out-of-sight-out-of-mind manner of dealing with pain is for children, or anyone really.  It used to be thought that this was protecting children, but children know, feel, and intuit more than we realize. I wish someone could go back and answer your questions and be there with you thru your totally valid concerns and feelings.

Like KRM I found that there is a perspective that comes with age, at least it did for me as well.  I I remember going to a workshop when I was young, and wondering why I was the only one with problems. Over the next several hours I heard stories of the other participants lives each seemingly more horrible than the last.  Stories of incest, and a young (yes young) mother who was dying of cancer and had to tell her children. I came to believe that most everyone has some major pain in life…that we are not as different or alone as we think we are with this and like KRM came to appreciate what good there was in my life. 

But back to the topic of the thread which we have drifted far from.  In the adoption literature on older child adoption statistics It is said -  one third of this group are healthy, well adjusted, and indistinguishable from any other child 3 years after adoption, another third have serious but improved problems, and the last third have serious, lifelong, problems which have in 3 years not shown any improvement or healing.  If a child or their parents ,in any of these groups spoke about their life, they would each describe quite a different situation.  ALL would be important and valid, yet if the perspective wasn’t wide enough to include all, it would be distorted.

Presumably Jane, the children coming for therapy (whether play or otherwise ) to a social worker, are having problems and not a representative picture of all adoptees.  That is NOT to say that they are not important, or their experiences not valid, just that this is NOT the whole picture. Jane BB, Ava, Sis and many others have spoken eloquently about raising children as older parents. Of all the 50(?) groups on this Adoptive Families Site, the “Older Parent” group is one of a handful that has the most members. This alone should cause one to stop and think before pronouncements that older parenting is defective.

Nowhere Jane, have I, or anyone else above said that a parent should “put their needs ahead of their children”.  No one is suggesting that a child be placed with a potential parent who has serious health difficulties, to “willingly put a child at risk” because it would be discrimination to not do so.  This is absurd!!!

What I said is that no family is healthy which only addresses the needs of ONE member. If you are in a plane, and the plane loses oxygen, parents are told ALWAYS to put their own oxygen mask on first.  This is not because the child’s need for oxygen is secondary, nor is it because the child is expendable. It is because if the parent’s need for oxygen is not taken care of first, the parents will be less able to help the child and the result will be that BOTH the parents and THE CHILD WILL SUFFER.  Families are a unit, what affects one member will also affect the rest.

Would I adopt an infant at 60 myself?  No. But this is not about myself, but some other unknown, generic, 60 year old.  If parent’s are chosen based on fantasy, generalizations, and stereotypes (including discrimination about age or any other characteristic) rather than reality, and the specifics of the individuals involved, NO MATTER HOW COMFORTABLE THESE STEREOTYPES ARE TO US, it is the CHILDREN who ultimately will pay the price.

Posted by Happy Camper on May 24, 2012 at 12:48pm

“Would I adopt an infant at 60 myself?  No. But this is not about myself, but some other unknown, generic, 60 year old.  If parent’s are chosen based on fantasy, generalizations, and stereotypes (including discrimination about age or any other characteristic) rather than reality, and the specifics of the individuals involved, NO MATTER HOW COMFORTABLE THESE STEREOTYPES ARE TO US, it is the CHILDREN who ultimately will pay the price.”

Perhaps your problem is that you are thinking of healthy 60 years and not projecting forward to 75 year olds.  The truth is, as someone else pointed out, is that the rates of death,disease and dementia are FAR HIGHER at 75 than at 35.  Yes, people die and get sick at all ages but at much higher levels the older we get.  Those who adopt newborns should at least consider those facts, not just dismiss them.  I am NOT saying that all older people have health problems but a FAR GREATER percentage do, so I do feel a person adopting shouldn’t just ignore that fact because it will be the CHILDREN who ultimately will pay the price if you get sick, which is far more likely at 75 than younger.

“Like KRM I found that there is a perspective that comes with age, at least it did for me as well.”

I also have a perspective that comes with age.  I accept my position for myself but don’t want others to be in the same position if they don’t have to. My sharing my bmom’s story is not me saying “woe is me” but pointing out that what happened to our mothers then shouldn’t be happening now.  To me, Kally B is sharing her story to let you know the downfalls as well.  Unfortunately, we adoptees know that when we share our stories, we get told we are moaning minnies and that we should stop our whingeing when all we are trying to is offer a perspective.

One thing that has been become clear to me over the last few years is that the only people NOT entitled to have an opinion on how adoptees might feel are adoptees themselves.  It seems many will listen only to adoptees who say what they want to hear.

Posted by katiesue on May 24, 2012 at 2:14pm

areyouserious said:

“One thing that has been become clear to me over the last few years is that the only people NOT entitled to have an opinion on how adoptees might feel are adoptees themselves.  It seems many will listen only to adoptees who say what they want to hear. “

Or, people will listen to the authorities who tell us what they see in the adoptees who come in for therapy feel or do, such as Jane A Brown, MSW.

It is fine that she defends us. Jane, please keep doing so!

It would be even better when adoptees are given their own dignity and worth as individuals with the personal experieince and knowledge to have a voice.

Posted by KallyLB on May 24, 2012 at 8:00pm

We can’t seem to have any discussion without it coming down to “I’m an adoptee or an adoption professional and I’m not being heard”.  I’m trying to listen but what I’m hearing from some is “I’m an adoption professional or an adoptee and I have spoken so the discussion should close”  In this discussion I don’t consider it a sign of not listening or disrespect if other posters want to share experiences of either being an older parent or being the child of an older parent.

To those participants of this discussion who have been adopted, I’ve conversed with some of you before.  So I don’t think I’m out of line in saying your adoption experience is different than the one my son is having.
I’m NOT saying bad as I don’t have the right nor is that the arguement I’m trying to make. But different.  As an adoptive mother I would be a fool not to listen to your
feelings and experiences and to consider the similarities.  Especially in regards to your own inner thoughts, identity, and feelings.  At the same time the differences seem obvious and hard to ignore.  I think that is what some adoptive parents may be struggling with when reading your posts.  If you look at nothing else but the internet, facebook, and technology, the world seems constantly and dramatically changing even within the last five years.  It’s going to have a change on the face of adoption.  Some of these changes are possitive and negative.  The internet has effected everything from the way we learn and communicate about adoption to couples being found or matched with expectant mothers online through
facebook.  I predict the role of adoption agencies to lesson as more and more couples match online.  I predict a closed or semi open adoption will be nearly impossible to have as it is so easy to find people online.  Especially young people.  I remember when I first left home having to monitor the minutes I spent on the phone with my mother.  Making sure I didn’t go over a certain amount or what I could afford.  Now with cell, text. Fb, skype, I feel almost as close to relatives out of state as I do with those near me.  I am just a text, call, instant message, fb status away from my son’s birthfamily.  As an adoptive mother in today’s world I can not only read “twenty things adoptive kids want you to know”  I can also join Sherry Eldridge’s blog, read extra info on her webpage, and follow her on fb.  I can join forums such as this, converse with someone in another country, and participate in discussions that include adoptive parents, birthparents, and adopted adults.  I’m not trying to brag or say I’m perfect but I know two woman who adopted whose children are my age and I know these resources were not available to them.  So I would say I’m having a very different experience than them and so is my son.  Some things that terrify me about the internet is that my son will be exposed to adoption hate.  Just read the comments after an adoption article or post.  Inevitably, one commentor will refer to a birthmom as a slut another will say something to the effect of” you made your choice you should have lived with it”  as if one a child is a punishment made to endure and two as if
adoption isn’t a decision that a birthmom has to live with for life.  The ignorance and hatred terrify me.

A more personal example of how my son’s adoption is different is because of open adoption. ( and many on here are in an open adoption.)  I know how important geneology is to Jeanne.  I know she had little or no information of her biological family.  I know my son
gets his firecracker red hair from his great grandpa.  I know his great grandpa taught driver’s ed, built model planes, and was a jokester.  His greatgrandma is still alive.  His birthfamily is very much into music.  I could continue but I won’t.

One last thing related to the original post.  I have stated that I have lost the majority of my relative’s to various causes at different ages. I remember watching ‘my girl’  with my friends after my grandma died and balling like a baby in the theater.  My friends teased and made fun of me for crying over a silly movie.  I remember thinking how lucky my best friend was because she had not experienced grief in the way I had.  She was mostly raised by her grandparents who are still alive and just now developing health problems.  Meanwhile I’ve already lost my father.  And thank God I still have my mom so I have a lot of sympathy for those who have lost both.  But my friend’s mom lied to her about who her biological father even was and she just discovered him and her siblings within the last two years.  So I now know I’m the lucky one, to have honesty in my life, and because I had so many people in my life to lose in the first place.  I would not trade
the grief I’ve experienced for the people that I knew
and loved.

So now I’m finished.  Attack away!

Posted by gqqfier15 on May 24, 2012 at 10:47pm

I know my comment will be one of the less “PC” ones but I do think that it is selfish for someone in their 60’s to adopt a newborn unless the baby has no other options. We were in our early 40’s when we adopted our son (he was 9 months old at the time). In as vibrant 40-somethings, we’re not as able to keep up with our son as most 20- or 30-somethings would be. Most importantly, it is on our mind that we will be much older when he is a teenager and he may lose one or more of his parents by the time he’s in his 30’s. We may never see our grandchildren, too…I very much hope that our aging doesn’t cramp the most vital years of his life!

Posted by drhillsmrs on May 24, 2012 at 11:24pm

I think you have to look at the bigger picture…  How sad it would be for a child to have to be raised by siblings (if there are any)  instead of a parent…  I know that people want to give more, but foster…  these kiddos when being adopted should not have to worry about going to all of the funerals that they will likely attend over their first decade knowing that their parents are “old”  and on an average…  what is the likelihood they will live to be 80and healthy…  I know I still needed my parents when I was 20, I needed mine when I had my first baby…  how sad it would be to do all those things alone…  Unless of course they are looking to have someone care for them…  My dad is turning 60 this year, and he is glad to be a grandparent…  he is tired by the time he is done playing with kids…  and my dad is a very energetic 60 year old.  I cannot imagine him having to be a full time parent on my schedule…  just my opinion.  To the Drhillsmrs post…  thank you for saying it… I thought i was just being insensitive…  I’m in my mid 30’s and sometimes am tired…  with all the business of a 3 year old and newborn…  but I wouldn’t change a thing…  I just think it is unfair to the child to place them somewhere knowing the likelihood of a parent passing…  my grandma passed at 65…  how sad would a 5 year old be to have their life uprooted like that?

Posted by bubblyutgirl on May 24, 2012 at 11:38pm

Just for the record, the children I see in my practice—the ones whose parents register them to participate in my program, Adoption Playshops, are not coming to me for therapy because they have problems.  My program is preventive—it helps adopted kids come together to compare and contrast what it means to/about themselves to be growing up adopted.  I have teen and adult adoptees participate as volunteers, so that the youngsters have the opportunity have role models who are older and thus, often better able to put into words some of the thoughts and feelings they have and had as they grew up.  We engage in hands-on activities: drama, small group discussions, non-competitive games (that have a point), puppetry, quilt-making (we make adoption quilts), debates, and any/all sorts of activities that make it less scary to reveal oneself to oneself, or to others, in order to NORMALIZE what it means to be adopted.  I see myself as the conduit—and the teen/adult adoptees AND the birth parents (also come as volunteers) as the experts.  In that way, I DO attempt in every way possible to create the opportunity for adoptees to find and use their own voices, and not depend on me/others as professionals to speak FOR them, INSTEAD of them.

    Anything that I think I have learned (and I do not know it all), I have learned from the experts who LIVE adoption.  My daughter—sixteen today—nailed it best when she said (at age ten):  “Mom. I love coming to Adoption Playshops and sometimes working as a helper (which the older kids can do with their younger counterparts).  You know a LOT about how lots of adopted people think and feel, and you do a good job of making fun ways for us to talk to one another. BUT (you all KNEW there would be a but—didn’t you?),  you DON’T have an adopted mind. I have one. You don’t. —and its that clear. We don’t, if we did not grow up adopted, and we ought to be listening to the experts—the adoptees.
 
    It has given me great hope to see how many adult adoptees have made the decision to get the education and training that, in our society, results in society-at-large regarding and treating them as the experts in adoption (that they already were, via lived-experience).  My work augments theirs.  I decided to shift my focus and do what I do because I observed that adoptive parents did NOT listen to them. I found, over and over, that adoptive parents were AFRAID to have their adopted kids interact with adult adoptees—fearful that the adult adoptees would infect their children with negative ideas and feelings and theories.  They will allow their children to engage in sessions with me, because I understand them, as well—because I am one of you.  My true goal, however, was to give the children and adult adoptees access to one another, without outsiders having to listen in and watch.  Also, to bring adoptive parents and adult adoptees together—in a way that they can and do work together for the children.  Additionally, to bring birth parents into the mix, so that I/we are not representing them to the children, but instead, given them the opportunity to speak for themselves. Both the adopted kids AND their parents benefit from that.

    Happy Camper—I am looking at what the likely risks are, and not at the current level of health for INDIVIDUALS in their fifties or sixties.  I would not gamble with a vulnerable child, who will have a more complex identity-formation process getting what he/she needs as far as getting parents who will be able to be present in his or her life, for the sake of an adult who, though healthy NOW, is at greater risk of not remaining healthy or alive well into that child’s life. 

  To KallyLB: I am with you.  I wish that adoptive parents would not deem you and other adoptees as less credible than an adoption professional or another adoptive parent.  It was a privilege to have learned what I think I have from you and others, including my own sons and daughters.  That privilege has multiplied my sense of responsibility to pass along what I think I have learned, even when that is most unpopular. 

    ggfier:  There is not a single post in which I have stated or inferred that once I have spoken as an adoption professional, or adult adoptees have spoken, the discussion should close, or that others should not or can’t express their opinions.  Its fine with me if someone wants to challenge my opinion, but it is NOT fine with me when anyone misquotes me, characterizes me negatively for expressing my views or sharing my acquired-knowledge, or attributes words, attitudes, inferences, to me that are inaccurate.  My belief is that we generally learn more when a discussion is two-sided, when people do NOT agree and share why.  As individuals share their thoughts, or opinions, or life experiences, it brings to mind thoughts, feelings, experiences for others—often more than one time, and they are free, of course, to share—there is no limit on how many times someone posts that I am aware of. 

    I make no apology for writing about my work experience and personal experience, which lends more credibility to what I say, nor should the adoptees feel obligated to apologize for their life experience (and in many cases, professional experience and/or educational background) that lend credibility to their opinions.  That others are positioned to only share their own, personal opinions with limited relevant life experiences is not the “fault” of the adult adoptees, veteran adoptive parents, and adoption professionals.

Posted by Jane Brown on May 25, 2012 at 12:55am

I apologize if I upset anyone with my earlier post. I meant it as a different way of viewing it but maybe the tone came out different.  I am very open to hearing from adoptees and I have looked for sites to find their opinions. I am a little worried about this trend of telling a child too young (my own daughter thought that I was going to give her up!) and making the birth parent who is not in her life into a fantasy parent who is not involved in her life.  I will answer whatever my daughter asks and tell her whatever I know. But sometimes I read stuff and I think adoptees are being told they are victims. They aren’t victims.  People did what they thought was for the best at the time.  Some people crossed a line. Some parents are held up as not being perfect compared to what might have been but they don’t really know. Please don’t take this as an attack. It isn’t. Just thoughts as I struggle with how to help my daughter in the future. She will know everything and answer everything I can. But I don’t want her to feel like she is a victim or lost out on something. Families are families, good, bad and indifferent. I would hate to think of my daughter thinking, My mom didn’t do this, I bet my birth mom would have!!! I’m so mad at mom for not doing that. That is why I pointed out what my birth parents didn’t do. Parents who adopt want to love and raise a child with no care whether they are geneticaly connected.  If a child has a happy secure childhood then constant talking of what they missed out on does not help any young person.  So I am concerned about us going to far the other way. not enough info to way too much at too young of age. I don’t want my daughter to feel alienated and told she lost out,while Im trying to give her the best life possible. I hope to god someday when she is an adult she will get to reconnect with her birth mom who at this time wants no contact. I really really do. If not, then I don’t want my daughter pining over someone she never met and who does not want a connection.  there is a lot of bias these days against adoption, yet what choice do we have if the child if given up because it is rape or abuse or parent is too lost in substance abuse? Foster care screws them royally.  better to have a consistent loving family, than never to feel wanted. It isn’t an easy answer. Im just saying, we are creating a situation of pain when maybe it could be handled better. I think the group idea for adoptees of all ages is EXCELLENT!!! That alone brings a kid a sense of belonging.  But I don’t want her to hear “YOU ARE MISSING OUT AND SHOUDL BE MISERABLE” That is what I’m getting reacting to. So apologies if my tone was out of line but my mesage is one of deep concern of how to do it right.  As to adopting a baby at 60. Not a good idea. you might live to be a 100. You might not. But women die of cancer at all ages and leave kids and teens at anytime

Posted by KRM on May 26, 2012 at 12:16am

KRM, it is best to tell a child as young as possible that he or she is adopted. If said in a loving way, this is much better than to wait to (what age?). When adoption is talked about with love and the adoptive parents reassure thier adoptee, and tell themm what they know, then the adoptee will have a better sense of self, have more confidence, and will not have a sense of shame (hopefully).

What choice for the child who is abandoned or comes fromm drug abuse? The answer has been said before in many threads on this website: family preservation, kinship care,legal guardianship and not adoption. WHY? Because adoption takes away the child’s true identity, the government takes the birth certificate and seals it, then issues a falsified birth certificate that indicates the child was born to the new parents when, in fact, the child was born to the parents named on the true birth certificate. This fraudulent practice must be stopped: an adoption certificate that states the facts of adoption is a much better alternative but that is not law in the USA. If enough adoptive parents complained about the falsifying of birth certificates and the sealing of adoptees’ birth certificates, then perhaps the laws will change. Adoptees have been fighting for our civil rights since the 1950s when the American Adoption Reform Movement began by Jean Paton, and lawsuits brought about by Adoptees Liberty Movement Association. It never ceases to amaze me that people enter into adoption without properly investigatiing the history of a discriminating system.

Posted by KallyLB on May 26, 2012 at 12:50am

Are You Serious, when you say that someone “has a problem” as you said I do, because they think differently than you do - you shut down conversation (In just the very same way you don’t seem to like when it applies to yourself). It is a mistake to assume we know what anyone has considered in their decisions or thoughts, since we really don’t know.  Surely you realize that the average life expectancy is just that - an average - it includes those who died at 90, 100, and 116 as well as those who died at 12, 2 and 1 day old.  If we all lived our lives based on what is the average - none of us would be adopting at all, because the average person does not adopt, nor would any of us who are adoptees have any home other than the streets since these are the average statistics. If you want to apply these to your own life and limit it accordingly, feel free - that is your choice, but please don’t attempt to assume or to dictate for others.

No one said to “stop your whining and moaning”, nor has anyone said adoptees are “not entitled to an opinion on how you yourselves feel”. We each are the authority and totally entitled to our feelings and perceptions of our OWN lives. But after all this is a conversation, not a blog.  If you see experiences and choices that are different than yours as an attack or an attempt to shut you up, you will continue to feel unheard and marginalized. 

Jane, when you assume a level of experience or lack of it,about other people, and assume an amount of thought or consideration on the part of others to decisions in their own lives it also does tend to shut down conversation.  Especially when the assumption is that the other person is somehow ignorant, inexperienced, or not giving the full thought to decisions in their own life that you yourself would.  You DO have a lot of very valuable experience to share and it is most helpful shared as just that, your own personal experience.  Than we all can consider and apply that which is most relevant in everyones experiences to our own situations and lives.

Conversations are “shut down” when people feel unsafe or uncomfortable speaking, unwelcome to do so, by repeating peoples words out of context, attacking others, belittling, discriminating against people because of age, race or any other reason, speaking as if one knows better for others than they do for themselves, assumptions about others, and insisting that anyone’s feelings or experiences are more valid or important than others. There’s a lot of this going around.  I’ll leave it to each of us to think about when this applies to our own posts.

What feeds a conversation is the space for people to voice our own varied feelings, and experiences, and the respect for each other to do so safely.  I have really found the personal experiences shared by all the older parents, all those who had older parents, and those with friends or relatives with older parents to be invaluable.  Thank you all for taking the risk and the time to clearly and honestly tell us your story.  I see it as a gift!

Posted by Happy Camper on May 26, 2012 at 1:00am

If my older adoptive parents were alive to add to this thread, this is what they would say:

My father: After almost 20 years of marriage and infertility, I’m glad that we were able to adopt. In many ways, I was unable to relate well with my daughter because we had different values. Perhaps that can be said of other families as well. If I could have lived into my 80s, I would have seen my grandchildren.

My mother: Enjoyed my daughter’s childhood, teen years were difficult. While our daughter grew out of our influence and left our religion, and some of our values, I regret that I wasn’t more open. I was fortunate enough to live long enough to see and be a part of my granchildren’s lives, but 90-some is too old. When you can’t enjoy life any longer, it’s not worth being here.

...

My mother told me how she felt in the months before she died. She regretted not being able to conceive, and she was envious of me when I was pregnant, but she moved beyond that when the kids were growing up. They were her only grandchildren.

...

If I were writing policy, I think I’d keep to the average age of parenting. There is also the reality of biology. A woman’s eggs begin to deteriorate at 35 and if a woman is pregnant beyond that age, she is at risk for health problems with the pregnancy, as well as risking health issues for the baby. In adoption, though each case could be argued separately, there must be a standard in place.

Posted by KallyLB on May 26, 2012 at 1:57am

Just saw an interesting dvd on http://www.theorphanfoundation.org.  It was of the Corrodi Family.  They have 16 adopted children of all different races.When they first started to adopt the agency they went to said “Don’t you think you are a little old to adopt?”  They were in their thirties at the time!  Seven of their children were adopted internationally, and the other 9 are US foster children. Twelve of their children are still at home.  The youngest child is 5.  The parents have just decided that they think it is time to stop adopting newborns.  They are ages 69 and 74.

Posted by Happy Camper on Jul 01, 2012 at 9:48am

I have not had a chance to read the above comments, but I think 60 is fine for adopting kids, until you think how old you will be when they are teenagers & pushing every button they can!
We were in our late 40s when we adopted & are finding the teenage years pretty difficult at the moment.
It would be lovely to see our grandchildren, but that’s not likely to happen because of health problems.
The important thing to remember is what is best for the child.  They have already suffered loss of their birthparents, siblings, culture (in some cases), etc., so the loss of an loving, caring parent could be pretty devistating for most children.
Just our thoughts on the matter…..

Posted by cairtmg on Jul 02, 2012 at 8:35am

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