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You are not too old to adopt

Marium phoned up her local authority to start the adoption process. When asked how old she was, the reply of 48 was met with scoffing , "You are too old". This of course is untrue and you should not accept that unless you are well into dotage.

Agencies are not to turn you away because of your age.

There is no upper age restriction on applying to become adoptive parents and a minimum age of 21 years.

There are plenty of children of all ages looking for parents. Social workers instantly assume that you want to adopt a new-born, when in fact in Marium's case she was looking to adopt a pre-teen.

Age is only one of the considerations to be taken into account when social workers asess your suitability to adopt. It is acknowledged that older and more experienced potential adopters, if in good health and vigour, could take care of older children and be able to meet their various needs. 

Potential adopters are assessed on general health, fitness and emotional well-being and some older potential parents may score high in this regard. You must be able to be fit enough to meet the many and varied demands and needs of adopted children as they grow up and be there as they enter into adulthood.

As more mature applicants you have a greater experience of life, may be better established in your careers and may have already have good parenting skills as may have already bought up children.

The agency’s medical adviser will be the person who will investigate your health and it is them who needs to be satisfied that you have the energy to provide a child everything they need to fulfil their potential.


Most countries do have limits on the age of potential adoptive parents in relation to the age of the child they are adopting. Sometimes these rules are fixed in stone and other times they are just guidelines. Some countries, for example China, limit the combined age of the parents ie. not more than 90 years between the husband and wife.

Most of these are put in place to ensure that the child has the most 'natural' up bringing.  It does not work with a 60-year-old mother and a 3-year-old child. A mother of 50 with a 3-year-old is pushing the boundaries.

Remember at all times international adoption operates to safe  guard the interests of the child.  And it is not in the interest of the child if one or both of her parents dies before she reaches her 20's.

You must establish exactly what is the criteria in every country before you choose that country. In Russian for example the guideline is that a mother (father's age is irrelevant) should not be greater than 45 years older than the child. this does not mean that if you are 48, you will not get a child as young as possible. It is just that they will look twice before referring a 18 month old and will probably find a 3-year-old to be a better match.

There are hundreds of thousands of older children waiting to adopt. I urge you to consider that these children desperately need a family environment before they age out of the system.  People are often put off older kids thinking that they might bring with them many issues, but with sensitive parenting these children are a joy will become a loving addition to your family.



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There is little wisdom in knowing what to do. There is wisdom in doing it.
(Matabele Wisdom)


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