Is adoption a realistic option?(5 Posts)
I see there are lots of experienced people on these threads and would be really grateful for some input.
I am (almost) 32 and my husband is 44. We have one son, aged 1. We are hoping to conceive another in the near future. As we plan and pray for our family to expand, we both want to consider adoption carefully and thoughtfully. We have gone a short way along that path but hardly at all in terms of research.
If we look into adoption, we would be looking to have a third adopted child rather than a birth child (unless we can't conceive this time around). Obviously we wouldn't start the process until that child was atleast 1 and we had got used to having two children in our family! As my husband is a fair bit older than me, then if we were looking into adoption at this season of life then it would need to be a younger child with not too huge a gap between the second and third. If it wouldn't realisitically happen like that then we may or may not try for a third birth child and when they are all a lot older consider fostering perhaps, if we feel we have something to offer children at that point in life.
Is it plausible that we could adopt a young child if we had two children already? And would we likely be eligible to adopt within say 3/4 years of having our second child? Would my exisiting child / children be considered too vulnerable at young ages?
I realise there are a lot of hypotheticals. Lots of people around me are having babies at the moment and for me, in a way, it seems like the easy option of expanding your family. We want to give adoption proper consideration.
Hi pastygirl. Adoption agencies will insist on an age gap of at least two years between your youngest birth child and any child you adopt - and often 3 or 4 years. I was approved to adopt a child (a girl, with at least one black parent - they're very precise!) at least 2 years younger than my birth child. In the end, we adopted a child 4 years younger and it has worked out very well.
Having two birth children would not in itself be an obstacle to you adopting, but agencies will want to be sure that have the time and energy to focus on an adopted child (who may come with a high level of needs) without depriving your other children.
I originally hoped to adopt a child close in age to my birth child, so that they would be companions. I have to say that I am now very glad there is a 4 year age gap. Here are the advantages:
- dd2 arrived just before dd1 started school, so allowing me to have lots of one-to-one time with her while on adoption leave (and also allowing me to be at home for dd1's first six months in reception, but that was lucky)
- there is often less rivalry where there is a wider age gap. dd1 is able to be more mature, understanding and generous than if she were younger.
- it is often hard for young children to adapt to a new sibling. Hard enough with a passive baby, but really difficult when the new arrival is a toddler who instantly starts grabbing their toys, invading their room etc. Add to that a fraught mother caught between the two, and possibly not yet bonded with the second child - I am glad I didn't have to go through this.
Hope this helps, and good luck with whatever you decide.
I remember very well, when DS was not quite one yo, I was thinking ahead about if adoption was going to be an option for us in the future (and posting on here too). Now, 2 1/2 years later, we are about to start the process. So what I'm writing is not so much from real experience of the process and of adopting, but rather simply from what I have learned from talking to agencies and reading forums (here and adoption uk).
So, regarding your questions:
- adopting a young child having two BC already: As far as I understand, there are no principal restrictions here. Though someone told us that a few years back, they would not have placed young children with families where there were birth children already, as it would have felt like cheating some childless couple of having a baby whereas you already had two (and could have more if you chose to). But nowadays there are many more young children needing families, so that is less of an issue. However, if things have changed since a few years ago, they might of course just as easily change again in the next few years!
- age gap to youngest BC: Our DS is now three, and some agencies wouldn't even discuss things with us until he is at least four, or even five. However, others have been enthusiastic about taking us on, so we might be approved before he turns four. So yes, you should potentially be eligible when your second child is 3 or 4. Take into account however that this is likely to be a few years from now, when the situation might have changed again.
The agencies we have talked to have required anything between 'at least 3 years' and 'at least 18 months' age gap between youngest BC and any AC, so having a young BC will limit the age range of children you can be linked with.
So far so good, but there is one thing I cannot help you with, and that is your husband's age. If your husband is 44 now, assuming your second child was to be born in a year or so, and you'd start the process when that child was three, your husband would be 48 then. There is no upper age limit for adoption, but if I understand correctly, agencies will want to place older children with older adopters, so that the age gap between adoptive parent and adoptive child isn't too big. They want to increase the likelihood that the parent will be alive and well throughout the child's dependent years. I can imagine that this might cause problems in your case: Your husband's age would mean that you'd only be 'allowed' to adopt an 'older' child, whereas your BC's ages would mean you could only adopt a very young child - therefore, in fact, ruling you out. I honestly don't know how agencies handle this, nor if 48 is seen as too old for adopting young children or not. But if I were you, I'd call someone, maybe your local authority, maybe First4Adoption, and discuss this particular issue with them. May be that it is no problem at all. But I would want to know, in order to be able to plan accordingly. Bearing in mind that things can change within the next 4 years.
That said, for now I'd take one step at a time! Enjoy your baby, and when you feel ready, try for number two, and worry about the rest when the time comes!
I agree that most agencies won't take you on until your youngest child is at the very least 3, but often 4 or 5. They will then need an age gap, usually 2 years or more. That's because adoptive children often come with additional needs and insecurities, so a child may need a great deal of individual attention. They want to lessen competition for attention, rivalry etc between the siblings, and if you have a bigger age gap you (theoretically) have more time to focus on the little time. Obviously if you already have children you have to think carefully about what kind of child you could adopt and what needs you could parent alongside your existing children - but that comes much later once you're in the process.
If you're comfortable with an age gap of somehwere between 2-4 years, and are happy to wait until your youngest is about 4 before starting, then adoption is almost certainly an option for you. There's no barrier if you have two (or three or four!) BC as well, as long as the age gap is big enough. Things are always changing in adoption, but right now a 6 month approval process in being implemented, so don't think that it takes years and years after you start.
Your own ages, depends where you live, but I think the majority of agencies would be fine with your husband being an older dad. A few years ago there was definitely an age bias and over 45's sometimes couldn't adopt babies, but IME now the majority of agencies don't start restricting the age of the child you can adopt until you reach about 50 or even higher (I know a couple aged 51 and 49 who have adopted a baby in the last year). Some agencies may still have age worries, but you can shop around agencies if necessary
All the best to you
Ah thanks so much for the responses. Amazing! Very useful.
Obviously a long way to go until we might be at the point of going for this, but really encouraging to know that it is a possibilty. Means I will keep thinking, praying and reading about it over the coming years. And I don't assume I will get pregnant with a second so who knows may think about even sooner!
Really appreciate your help.
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