What is the Best Age to Adopt a Child?
The age considerations when adopting revolve around two realms. First, your age and what you can handle and second, the child’s age and also, what you can handle. No one is expecting nearly retired couples to take on newborns, while there may be some concern with a 21-year-old adopting a teenager. Are there restrictions or guides that can help you, a Houston, Texas adoption attorney, and an agency make the best possible choice for adopting a child?
Consider Your Age
Many people fail to consider their age when they’re looking to adopt. The only age restriction for adoption is that you must be 21-years-old. But you must also meet all the other adoption criteria such as financial stability. Outside of this, you should consider your energy level and financial obligations.
For example, a 30-year-old could probably handle the non-stop energy of a toddler while someone in their early 60s might not look forward to early mornings and late nights. It all depends on you and your partner. But, take some time to realistically think about what you can deliver and what you hope to experience with the adoption.
Things to Think About with Newborns
Starting with a “fresh” person is an adoptive parent’s dream. You don’t have someone with years of trauma, ingrained fears, and other elements. But that doesn’t mean you’re free and clear. Adoptive parents need to consider the state of the mother and the events of the pregnancy. Many newborns removed from their mother will go through harsh drug withdrawals and may have various physical or mental delays because of drug or alcohol use in utero.
The concern of drug/alcohol use aside, a newborn is a blessing that most forget are very hard work. Waking to feed a newborn every two hours for at least three months is exhausting, and you will receive a very limited amount of time off for bonding. Ultimately, people often prefer babies and may wait for years to get a baby because they want a “normal” child-parent relationship.
Toddlers and Small Children
Adopting a toddler or small child can open your eyes to some very brutal realities. These children are in foster care or “up for adoption” for a reason, and they are frequently traumatic reasons. Even in the best-case scenario where there was a death in the family, and they are simply alone, that’s traumatic.
These toddlers and small children have likely been the victims of various crimes or witnessed behavior that most people would not find acceptable for teens, much less a child. Toddlers and small children require patience and nurturing. There are numerous success stories of people adopted between the ages of 2 and 12 regardless of what they may have experienced before the adoption.
Don’t allow the thought of a child with a troubled past to make you change your mind about giving a child a future. Small children can come with the difficult challenge of a custody struggle. More than half of children in foster care ultimately reunite with a family member. Before deciding to adopt a child, work with an agency to ensure that there’s minimal chance of a parent coming forward during the process.
Pre-Teens and Teens
Possibly the least adopted age group, these teens may have spent time in group homes, disciplinary correction facilities, or they could be completely new to the entire process. Most children don’t spend more than two years in the foster care system, so teens and pre-teens are more likely to make up the smaller percentage who have spent much longer in the system.
In 2017 there were a total of 154,170 children between the ages of 11 and 20 in foster care in the US. However, adopting a teen or pre-teen may be necessary given your household’s birth order, or if you’ve spent years waiting for a younger child. Teens need support, but also need to learn to practice independence safely. Often parents are the ones who struggle here more than the child as they attempt to know and love this person who already has a strong sense of self.
Talk it Through with Your Houston, Texas Adoption Attorney
When in doubt, chat with your Houston, Texas adoption attorney. Some agencies have restrictions on adopting children older than what is already in the home. They may have restrictions in place about how young you may adopt with regard to the people in your household as well. There are countless factors that impact the age decision, and it’s best to make an informed choice. Contact our Houston based adoption law firm to discuss the agency and state’s restriction on age ranges.
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