Adopting Later In Life: part two

February 15, 2015 adopting later in life, Jean, large families 7 Comments

This is the second part in a two-part series. Read part one here.

I hear words like “insane”, “crazy”, “midlife crisis”, “out of your mind”, and “out of control”. Most of these comments are said kindly and with humor! If you are talking to or hearing it from the older adoptive parent and they are describing their life – it is often followed by “and I love it!”

With our first adoption, the thought of having a young child, once again in our home made me giddy. Getting ready for this treasure was pure joy and it filled my every day. Hubby was excited too and most of our conversations focused on our upcoming adoption. My bible study group and my birthday club had a baby shower for us. Going to China, meeting our new daughter was like experiencing a fairy tale. I was in heaven!

We read every book we could get our hands on to prepare ourselves and had lengthy evening discussions about our upcoming adoption!

Hubby’s point of view:

Honey, it was you that read every book and then we would sit down and you would tell me all about it! You tried not to leave out a thing; and I know that because our conversations were most definitely interesting and lengthy! I was excited, but I wasn’t so sure that I would like pushing a stroller with my child in it. I wondered, what it would be like to adopt and love a child that was not my biological child? Will I, at the age of 51, be a good dad? The thought of having a baby felt awkward.

I also had a few reservations and question that couldn’t get answered until we met our child. Would I feel love? Would I feel like she is mine? I was relieved when Anna wanted only you in the beginning. But once she let me hold her I never wanted to let her go. All questions and reservations were gone. She was my daughter. I think all of this is a bit crazy and I love it!

Jean’s point of view:

Once home and back in the real world, we saw how Anna brought so much joy and life to our family. The big kids were all over her and my mother (our only living grandparent) wanted me to visit everyday… and bring Anna, of course! Our friends were kind and interested in her. Some mentioned they couldn’t wait for grandchildren. Others asked if it was hard having a little one around again. My time was no longer my own and my scheduled depended on her schedule.

We were still invited to outings and gathering but sometimes we were unable to attend because it didn’t fit in Anna’s schedule (past her bedtime and she was sleeping with us). We took the bonding and cocooning seriously. We didn’t want to open the door to any adoption issues, if possible. We liked the new pace and we felt like our days were joyfully filled, loving and nurturing our new treasure. Instead of going to others homes we now invited them over to our house- it was easier for everyone.

Hubby’s point of view:

We did venture out quite a bit. Anna went to all of the boys’ soccer games, visited Katie at college, and traveled to Florida with us. If we went, she went!

Anna would not go to bed without us, actually, I mean me! I was the one that would lay down with Anna to help her sleep. Getting extra sleep with a really cute 18 month old is a job I could do! As we added more children we have continued to be active except now we travel in a large pack now!

Jean’s point of view:

As we added more and more children to our family through adoption the invitations became less… and lessand less… I understood the changes and only occasionally did I feel a little bad. For the most part we understood, we’d made an informed choice to adopt our children and to parent them full time, while others made different choices that they felt fit their lives.

2008 – with 2 children home from China


There are things we have lost and gained because we chose to adopt so many children. (Some are negative and some are positive.)

— We are not invited to others homes for any holidays. That’s okay, we just have the party at our house!
— We have lost touch with many friends. But, because we have always lived here we run into someone we know almost every time we leave our house! It’s quite nice to be able to quickly chat and enjoy them for a few moments!
— We don’t feel old and we don’t talk about our aches and pains.
— Our last child should leave our home when we are in our early 70’s. We like that!
— We don’t have much time together, just the two of us. We try to go on two dates per month and go away for 5 days per year. We make a point of traveling to see our older children at least once a year.

For me the positives far outweigh the negatives!

2011 – with 8 children home from China


Hubby’s point of view:

Jean’s life is more affected by our adoptions because I go to work everyday and she is home with the children. I have business lunches, business dinners and sometimes the older children will meet me for coffee during the day. I am glad she loves what she is doing and she is happy. Since I have my own business, retirement is not looming. I intend to continue working for as long as I can. I enjoy my work but it is nice to come home in the evening to a houseful of happy kids!

Back to Jean:

Of course you don’t have to adopt 13 children and fall off the face of the earth. You can strike a balance and enjoy your adopted child/children while having a bit of a social life, too.
That was not the way it was going to be for us. We kept hearing God’s call to go back and get our child/children so that is what we have done. For us, it is such a joy serving the Lord in this way!

We have also met so many “seasoned couples” like us that have chosen to adopt. There is an immediate bond between us. An understanding of what we are doing and why we are doing it!

Parenting and family are two of our passions. Just because you are done having biological children does not have to mean you are done having children and parenting children. Every child deserves a family and there are so many children that need a family.

Hubby and I try to keep our schedule manageable. It’s important that we like what we are doing, so we try to create a positive atmosphere within our family. Balance is the key no matter what age the parents are! Faith, family, love, school, service, life experiences- each one has to be balanced. Parenting all of our children from ages 6-31 has been an amazing privilege!

2014 – with 13 children home from China


Hubby’s point of view:

I agree. It makes us better parents for ALL our kids, even the five oldest. It keeps us young, active and hopefully fun. Bring on the grandkids!

7 responses to “Adopting Later In Life: part two”

  1. Lynn Cameron says:

    We couldn’t agree more! Currently, we have nine children between the ages of 5 and 38, and I count myself as incredibly lucky to have a life so full of love, joy, and purpose. We’re hoping to bring our final addition (a four year old son) home later this year. Best wishes to you and your lovely family!

  2. Lisa H. says:

    Thank you for these posts! I’m really enjoying it. We have 8 children, 5 joining our family through adoption. I just turned 50 and I’m trying to talk my husband into two little boys from China. So many are waiting and we only have 4 daughters at home now….

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you accomplish bonding with your children as they join your family, and on how you keep a positive, happy tone with some of the stressful behaviors that come with adopting children. Thoughts?

    You have a beautiful family!

  3. Kim says:

    Jean – your family has been an “inspiration” to ours for many years. I love your sense of humor and how you are so transparent with your blog. I’m topped out homeschooling 4 kiddos this year and not sure how you do it so well with so many. The invitations thing is so true – but you have a much better “party at home” every day. Just love your family – terrific post for older parents.

  4. Brian P. says:

    My wife and I are beginning the adoption journey as parents in ou mid-40’s and with two bio teenage children. The thought of starting so late in life has caused us to do the math as well and while it is a bit frightening, we are both very excited. Thank you for posting this and encouraging us along our journey.

  5. Randi Lanz says:

    I loved reading your story! We are in a similar place with 12 children ages 7 – 33 (and our tenth grandchild expected later this year!) I heartily recommend that “second” family even after your bio years are done. Keeps one young!

  6. Natalie Lewis says:

    I so enjoyed reading this! We have 12 children-2 biological, 9 adopted from Haiti and one adopted from USA. We rarely meet families as large as ours and have NEVER met another family with as many children adopted from another country! This was so nice to read and relate to! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Vivienne says:

    I don’t know you, but I would love to have your whole family over for dinner!! (: If your ever in central VA, or going through please come on over!!

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