How do I begin this post? You see, I think I am a lot younger than I actually am. I feel great, I’m energetic and loving life! My eyesight is perfectly blurred, so when I look in the mirror I see a softened version of myself- I like that! The woman in the mirror could not be 56 years old (going on 57), no way!
Hubby thinks I should name this post “geriatric adoptions” or “adopting by AARP” – love that guy!
Anyways, we didn’t get started on our adoption journeys until we were in our very late 40’s and looming into our 50’s. We had 5 bio kids- two in college, two in high school and one in middle school. It was looking like our future day to day activity was going to be much too quiet. Our youngest child would finish out high school in a quiet house and living in a ridiculously organized, overly planned home. This was definitely not for us – it sounded… lonely. We were used to an active, busy household.
Adoption was placed in our hearts during that time. It really was quite magical. No doubt, it was God guiding and asking us to trust HIM. We discussed adoption and then filed it away for a future discussion. We did this again and again until we decided to get a puppy instead of adopting. Doesn’t make sense, does it? We were thinking the puppy would somehow squelch our desire to adopt. It didn’t happen. In fact, it even made us even more certain we wanted to adopt a child!
We knew a few things would have to change in order for adoption to become a reality. One by one those things did change and the door began to open.
There was a part of me that wanted to dive in head first but I was afraid of being hurt in the process. So I let hubby make the first moves. I was shocked when he researched it, made telephone calls, bought books and led us in lively conversations and prayer over the topic. (Little did he know the door he was opening!)
Our first conversations were with our immediate family. How did our older bio children feel about us adopting? They were surprised to hear about our desires but they were also intrigued with the prospect of a new little sibling. We have always been a close family so I think some of the older kids thought this would be a fine idea and keep Mom and Dad busy in their “older years”. Everyone was on board EXCEPT our youngest, Johnny. He was going to be the one that would “grow up” with this child and he wasn’t so sure he wanted to… In a matter of months, as the house got quieter, he changed his mind and announced he thought we should go ahead and adopt a little girl!
This happened in 2005 and 2006. By September 2006 we were attending a required adoption prep class! Hubby and I like to be informed so we did lots of reading and emailing others to gain information. I didn’t do face book back then and I didn’t even know about yahoo groups so our sources where limited but they were still helpful!
We began to share our idea with friends. They did not watch their words- some loved the idea while others asked “Why”? Because we were feeling lead by God and our family backed us up we were not intimidated by the questions and concerns from others. We openly answered as our strength and words came from the King of Kings! We were confident, excited and a little scared!
Yes, we did the math. If you’re older and your thinking about adopting, you know exactly what “the math” means! For the rest of you, I’ll explain. We did a chart of how old we were and how old our potential child would be when we brought her home. The chart continued through high school graduation!
The initial plan was to adopt 1-2 younger children. Okay, I confess that I had already thought about adopting 3 but I didn’t share that yet… We needed to bring our first child home and see how it went before any sharing was necessary!
Excitement filled the air! We were on cloud nine! Our older children were living their lives and excited for their new little sister to join the family. They happily shared with others and because this was our first adoption we were greeted with mostly positive comments. Actually, I think I may have just perceived everything as positive during that time because we did get a lot of… Better you than me, how old are you guys, what about when she is in high school, that’s going to tie you down just when you’re free to do what you want and the infamous “why” questions?
Truthfully, I think I was oblivious to the negative tone in some of the comments. We just happily and confidently answered and continued to put our trust in HIM!
So at this point I am going to give you hubby’s point of view!
He thinks, it was most awkward with our first adoption and our maturing age. We had always done what everyone else was doing. Our kids were in all the right traveling sports, going to good colleges, hanging out with the right people. We’ve lived in the same community all our lives we know many people and now we were bucking the system. We were set to retire, travel, do lunch with friends and volunteer somewhere in our community. All good things but now we were choosing a different path. Our friends looked at us as if there was something wrong with us. They wondered if this was some sort of mid life crises. Our youngest was thirteen and our oldest was 23 yrs old. What on earth were we thinking? Many of the women were moved by the thought of a new child in our home BUT the men felt just the opposite. It was threatening to them. We could tell they were nervous that their wife might somehow be influenced by our decision. They quickly let their wives know that their family would NOT be adopting at this point in their lives. After all, it wasn’t part of THEIR plan…
I always felt that at least a handful of women would have done it in a heartbeat had their husbands not made it very clear that they would not be traveling down the same path as us. I actually felt bad for them and even more thankful for the path we were on.
So at this point of the adoption process we were strong in our faith and convictions. It has not always been this way. We have been weakened at times. We have second guessed ourselves and questioned the journey that we were on and whether it was a wise choice at this point in our lives.
As you know we did not stop with one or two adoptions and we haven’t gotten any younger, so we will continue on with this post next month!
Love your post ! Thank you for sharing . My husband is 49 and I’m 39 and we are doing our adoption . I surely thought I was ruining his life as we kept prepping for our children to leave home … Haha . But this has been an incredible blessing as we realize this is “us” , spending our life with sweet children . My husband says otherwise life would be boring ! Can’t wait to hear the rest of your story !
Love that I stumbled across your blog! We have been married 30 plus years, have five bio kids plus grandkids, live in MN, my hubby travels for work, and we are on adoptions 8 and 9. People treat us like we are crazy (or worse) for approaching 14 kiddos, but your writings made me realize we are not alone in responding in (fearful) obedience, but finding ourselves blessed each time. (We are also the same age.) I showed my hubby your family pic, and he said, “It’s not a contest!” 🙂
Oh man tell me about it. We stopped at 2, but I am 60 and DH is 64 and the kids are now 6 and 7. it is a crazy life and we love it.
We met in China. BTW . . . 2011.
I think you look younger now! These kids must be good medicine. Thanks for addressing this issue which can be positive and negative!
Jean I LOVE this!!! So excited for your sweet family adopting again! We were in GZ when your husband was bringing home your 2 sweet sons…It was such a privilege and encouragement to see them! I am so thankful the Lord does not have age restrictions on child rearing…He is so good!
From another older adoptive mama (wink wink!)
I adopted an 8 and 13 year old at age 55. I belong to a little group of first time older moms. We each adopted and are a support to one another. I think spending our later portion of life giving children a much needed home is definitely not for everyone, but is for me!! Congrats on your post and thanks for sharing!!
I’ve been waiting a long time for this post!! My husband and I began our journey after the youngest was 21. My husband is 52 and I am 42. We each had bio children but none together. People think we are completely insane for adoption at our age. We are in the process for our third child. We will have three 3 yr olds by summer and we have never been happier! Although once very supportive and even traveled to China with us for the first adoption, my husbands bio son has been totally influenced (by guess who) and now refuses to be a part of our life in any way. It’s been difficult for my husband over the last year but he has accepted the fact that we cannot change his sons mind. The son is 25 and an adult. It’s disappointing to us that he is being this way but we just pray that his eyes will be opened again someday and he will come back around. We do miss him very much and so do his siblings. It’s just really sad when people negatively influence others for their own personal satisfaction. Everyone suffers. Anyone else have experience/wisdom they can share on this issue? I would love your advice!
Enjoyed reading this post. My DH is 53 and I am 47 — we have 3 bio kids together (he has 2 adult-aged bio kids as well) — and we adopted a 9 year old from Ukraine 2 years ago. I’m starting to feel the tug to adopt at least one more, but DH isn’t too sure! Right now we have a 13, 11, 11 (adopted), and 9 year olds! What’s one more?? 😉