Adoption Age Requirements

Jul 30, 2008
Stephanie Jackson
KARK 4 News

Wednesday, the Department of Human Services said they're changing some age requirements for adoptions.

Adoptive applicants must be at least 21 years of age and an adoption specialist will assess each prospective adoptive parent's ability to actively parent the child or children they want to adopt.

Also, DHS wants at least a ten-year difference, and no more than a 45-year difference, between the child and the adoptive parent. DHS regulations had said no one over 40 can adopt a child under the age of one, and no one over 55 can adopt any child in state care.

This change comes after a Little Rock couple challenged whether it was constitutional to limit who can adopt based on age. A federal judge sent the case back to state court because the couple's appeal was still being heard in state court. Also, the biological mother's rights had not been terminated.

DHS also says several other states have age requirements for adoption: Louisiana and Mississippi have a max age requirement of 65. Some other states recommend a maximum age difference between child and parent (District of Columbia, 45 years; Idaho, 40 years; Maryland 45 years; Massachusetts, 40 years; Michigan, 50 years; New Mexico, 40 years; Virginia, 45 years)

http://arkansasmatters.com/content/fulltext/news/?cid=92881

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Yes, age matters

Julie Munsell, a spokeswoman for the department, says the change comes after a recent court challenge by a 53-year-old woman and her 44-year-old husband seeking to adopt a child.

Munsell says the new rule states that, generally, adoptive parents should be no more than 45 years older than the child they plan to adopt. However, Munsell says local officials can make exceptions if they find the prospective parents fit to raise a child.   http://www.wxvt.com/Global/story.asp?S=8762616&nav=menu1344_2

I would hope the age of the child is considered, because I think it's cruel to have seniors adopting an infant. 

gawd, yet ANOTHER layer

yes, having older adoptive parents sucks. 

it sucks having it so obvious your parents took you on as a charity case from another country, and it sucks on top of that when they look and act like they could be your grandparents.  it also sucks that they don't have the energy or desire to play WITH you when you're a child.  it sucks when you're a teenager and your parents are worried more about their retirement than your college. 

if you believe in natural design, then there's a reason people are less able to have children when they get older. 

Flipping the many-sided coin

There are many things that amuse me about the age-factor in adoption, because it seems, once again, finances meet fertility, and the end-result is nothing but a messy pile of confusing questions.  After all, how many American women sacrifice their most fertile years, for a secure financial future, only to learn they have no more eggs in their basket to fertilize?  For those who can afford to fulfill their need to parent and nurture, they will find blessing through a resourceful adoption agency.

I hate to think of adoption as being the rich-man's family planning option, because this implies there will always be a supply/demand system that works only for those with money.  [You better believe it takes money or connections to buy a baby these days.]

Meanwhile, there is another age factor in adoption, the "older child", and this adoption-candidate keeps getting overlooked or dismissed because "too many problems come with the baggage". 

Uh, isn't  "dealing with difficult problems" part of the parenting-package?  [Apparently, in adoption, no one wants problems, that's why with the help of someone's money, a child can get moved from name to name and place to place, magically shifting all the problems into one big happy family!] 

A recent article addresses the problems adoption agencies are having with age and child interest:

The EDP reported that those who were put off adopting older children wanted a new-born baby because of the belief that it would not come with the same emotional baggage - and would accept them as mum and dad from the beginning.

But another adoptive mum, who also asked to remain anonymous, said: “All children placed for adoption will have a history. No matter what the background is of a child's adoption, including relinquishment at birth, these children by definition of being placed for adoption will potentially have issues surrounding their adoption.

“Adoption is no longer about providing childless couples with babies it's about finding suitable families for the children who need them.”

And an adoptive father, who with his wife has adopted two older children, said: “I would urge prospective adoptive parents to genuinely think about older children. Yes, some will have serious problems, but social services will give you the help you need.  http://new.edp24.co.uk/content/news/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=News&tBrand=EDPOnline&tCategory=News&itemid=NOED31%20Jul%202008%2008%3A46%3A48%3A990

Here's my problem with age and interest:  if social services works so well at helping people with their problems and needs, why are there so many children up on the adoption-block waiting to get help?

This quality of services given to families has nothing to do with money, does it?

 

if social services works so well...

Kerry wrote:
Here's my problem with age and interest:  if social services works so well at helping people with their problems and needs, why are there so many children up on the adoption-block waiting to get help?

Perhaps it's because in many cases parents who really need the programs offered by social services simply do not make use of them.  Or worse, parents actively resist them even when participation is mandated by the state.

The reasons for nonparticipation can be rooted in any number of reasons.  The parents may resent state intervention and consider it unwarranted.  Many times an underlying (and untreated) mental illness is the culprit.  Perhaps most common are addictions to drugs like meth, alcohol, heroine, etc.  Maybe it's a lethal combination of any of the above.

My son's mother lived in subsidized housing, failed to complete two residential drug treatment programs, repeatedly tested positive for meth and heroine, and was a binge alcoholic.  Even so, the state returned her son to her care...    twice.

As a nurse, I'm sure you've seen the carnage inflicted on families by chronic drug addictions and untreated mental illnesses.  A nation could have the best socialized medical assistance programs in the world, and still there would be patients who die because they avoid or mistrust the medical establishment.  Whom should we blame for their demise ?  Nurses?

Dad

I blame those who teach children

Let's look at what drives a person to drug addiction, because more than likely, I bet abandonment or betrayal from a loved-one has a lot to do with it.  [Pain relief takes on many forms... so the first question that needs to be asked is:  where is the source of pain?]

So, for the sake of discussion, where is the father in the situation of your child?  Where are the grandparents? 

In other words, where is the family responsibility in child-care these days?  That's the problem far too many people are facing these days.

When a parent has no family to help and assist during a crisis situation, where is that parent to go?  A hospital?  Only if that person is sick or wounded... and these are determined by the diagnosis made by a doctor, not by a nurse OR social worker.

Only through adoption has the healthy pregnancy become a crisis situation.  Who is teaching this?  Parents who don't want the responsibility of another mouth to feed. 

There is want and there is need... and then there is FAMILY responsibility.

Teaching "family values" means nothing if no one puts true value in the word "family".

 

 

where is the father...

 

Kerry wrote:
So, for the sake of discussion, where is the father in the situation of your child?  Where are the grandparents?

As did two other potential sperm donors, the records reflect that the man named as "father" on my son's OBC ultimately tested negative for paternity.  I'm not confident that this mystery will ever be solved, unfortunately.

According to our state file, there was no supportive extended family on his mother's side.  She was a foster child herself who entered state care after assaulting her own abusive father with a deadly weapon.  She served at least two short prison stints (drug possession) after leaving foster care.  Two of her children were removed by the state before my son was born.  :(

Both of my children had at least one parent who aged out of state care.

Kerry:
In other words, where is the family responsibility in child-care these days?  That's the problem far too many people are facing these days.

Let's remember that most foster children removed by the state are ultimately returned to their parents.  The 25% or so foster children who are subsequently adopted usually represent the worst cases of extended family dysfunction.

It's very sad.

Dad

Standing WAY back here....

I only take what is written in this forum as truth and use it to help me change, for my two young children...

When adopting at the age of 38, I did not feel too old to be adopting, but never gave it one thought as to what it would
be like at age 58.  I had older parents and HATED IT!  Why did I not think about that?  Because I thought I would be
a much better parent than my own were.  And so, joining the ranks of the selfish, I adopted late in life.

I look at my two 9 year olds and what they are suffering right now and wonder what I can do to make this right for them.
I can't just climb out of being their mom, so there has got to be a way to be a better  mom.    I believe that God is the God
of second chances.

I am faced with NO financial future!  I can not draw SS off myself or my husband: I chose to be an at-home mom.... and he is now in prison, and his 30 years with the company means nothing to the state; his SS is frozen for another 15 years.  But I did just find out that I can divorce his sorry butt and still keep the good insurance.  Small solace.

I adopted three older children who are medically Special Needs children.  Two are failed adoptions and one is my youngest.  Two came home, as a result of many lies and deceit, very abused children with severe medical problems and seemingly the inability to bond.  And my youngest is a HepB carrier with the most precious ability to survive all this hell and still love.  Age does NOT have to be a factor in choosing to adopt a child.

Kerry said, " Uh, isn't  "dealing with difficult problems" part of the parenting-package?  [Apparently, in adoption, no one wants problems,.........."

I understand this question.  IMO  I didn't want to adopt someone else's severe problems and come at them from square one; obviously, all my inquiries for help BEFORE adopting were mere illusions.

"[You better believe it takes money or connections to buy a baby these days.]"  
In 20 years we adopted 7 SN's children and the cost was $140,000.00.   The real cost is yet unknown... but it did cost
many people much heartache which will last a lifetime.  I do hope people are listening.

One Step Up From Bottom,
Teddy

The age of my parents

My adoptive father and mother were respectively 40 and 38 years older, which I experienced as a considerable age gap. My adoptive father would play with me, but always quit after five minutes. I don't know if that really was because of his age, or because having childish fun was too painful for him.

In Escape from Alcatraz, Clint Eastwood's character was asked: "How was your childhood", which he answered with "short". My father was certainly not as eloquent as Clint Eastwood's character in that film, but that scene always reminds me of him.

From time to time I would ask him to play soccer with me in the back yard and sometimes he would do so, but it was always over before it really started. He would claim to be tired after a couple of minutes, which back then, I related to his age and his smoking. Being in my forties now and being a heftier smoker than my father ever was, I don't believe that story anymore.

For some part his age did play a role. By his forties, he had lost all touch with the child he had once been, however short that period had been. The fact his childhood had been terrible played a more important role though. Whenever there was any fun around the house he would back-off, afraid to join in, afraid to be confronted with what he had never had himself.

Another issue I really had with my adoptive parents being forty years older relates to the passage of time. Being their first and only child, they had not picked up on changes in the world that happened between the time they were young and the time I grew up. They both were young just before and during the second world war, while I was a child in the late sixtees and seventees. Many of the freedoms that came after the second world war, they were simply unaware of, so as a result I was denied many of the freedoms most of my peers had. Their age played a significant role in that, but more so the fact they had no experience with children until in their forties.

The fact his childhood had been terrible...

Niels wrote:
The fact his childhood had been terrible played a more important role though.

This is really a huge factor.

Dad

Adopt a Cabbage Patch Kid or a Middleton Doll

My afather was 45 and my amother was 40 at the time I was adopted. My amother wanted to adopt an infant but because of their ages, they were given no other option than adopting an older child.  They asked for a child between 6 and 8 but they were given a child of 9 years old. I'm sure that my adoptive mother said that it was not fair for her. 

What's not fair is that older children are adopted by older couple who are still longing for a baby.  My mother played with me as if I was her living doll as long as  I was smaller than the kids of my age. Once I grew up and  had reached the normal size of a 10 year old child, I became less interesting to her. She should have adopted an infant or even better a Cabbage Patch kid.

Today, there exists  a better option than Cabbage Patch Kid.  I suggest PAPs to buy  Middleton Doll from Newborn Nursery. You can chose a child of any race . They last longer and it's less painful than buying a child, particularly for the child. You will still need to go through an adoption interview but age doesn't matter.

still longing for a baby...

Kimette wrote:
What's not fair is that older children are adopted by older couple who are still longing for a baby.

That would really suck, Kimette.  Older children deserve parents who want older children.  I'm so sorry this happened to you.

Dad

entitlement

OMG... I had never heard of the Middleton Doll or the Newborn Nursery, but I can easily tell how entitlement is being taught at an early age. I'd say visiting the store should be considered age inappropriate for everyone under the age of thirty years.

Babies buying babies

Niels, if you had never heard of the Newborn Nursery, then you never heard the story "Babies Buying Babies" aired on this American Life which you can listen to here http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1226
Click on "full episode" and fast forward to about 41 minutes in)
The storyteller recounts her experience as sales associate at the store FOA Schwartz...  Babies buying babies, it so much reflects the reality of adoption world that it is disturbing, very disturbing...

a better option than Cabbage Patch Kid

Kimette wrote:
Today, there exists  a better option than Cabbage Patch Kid.  I suggest PAPs to buy  Middleton Doll from
Newborn Nursery. You can chose a child of any race . They last longer and it's less painful than buying a child, particularly for the child. You will still need to go through an adoption interview but age doesn't matter.

Thanks, but no thanks.  If I was ever to adopt again, I think I would adopt a highway.

Dad

The road less traveled

"Adopt a highway".... now THAT's funny, Big D!!!

of course, it also reminds me of an adoption-spoof we have here:  http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/4092

....

 

being small

my parents were 40 and 41 at the time of my adoption as well.  in all of the photos, i look like a baby but was really around 3. 
i was dressed in baby clothes for a very long time, partly because i am very tiny, and partly because i think my mom like dressing me up like a baby. 
i was definitely less interesting to her as i grew older.

i know of another KAD whose parents STOPPED doing ANYTHING parent-like as soon as she stopped looking like a child.   they literally washed their hands of doing anything for her.  she only had a roof over her head after that.

cabbage patch dolls, pound pups.  they are a craze and people collect them.  but what if they grew?  who would want them then?

Didn't take notice

During the adoption process we were only around people with babies; none of us wanted to think ahead, only wanting
to enjoy the baby era.  A disservice to children being adopted is when the agency focuses on the babies.... 
There should have been teens coming in to the meetings so these PAP's could learn to love the grown features of their soon to be adopted baby.  I
 have known many AP's who would look for features of themselves in the babies:  I have small eyes...
American people of European decent look strange to me because of the many years of being the one in the family who
looks different.  But I can go anywhere and feel okay while you may feel uncomfortable. 
I feel it's very important for the agency to focus on the adult adoptees, to make these narrow visioned PAP's aware that the gorgeous baby does grow up.  It should be the same for ALL adoptive parents who are holding that baby in their arms, hoping she/he will grow up to look like them.
My two adult children have been told since day one how beautiful they are and they have very good self-esteem; yet they
grew up among Asians and others who saw them the same way as I do.  They have made a good name for themselves
in this town despite their father's evil.  I'm wondering what it will be like when they go to a larger town to school and work?
Will it be a culture shock for them?

One Step Up From Bottom,
Teddy

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