How Old is Too Old to Adopt?

More people are adopting in later life than ever. While generally age is no barrier, (nor is being single or not owning a home) being too old is a topic that comes up when people adopt later in life.

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While adopters have to be over 21, it seems generally adoption agencies are looking for parents who have stable lives, financial ability and the potential to provide care and support to their child or children.

So, I took an internet stroll through a few US and UK adoption agencies and looked at their age guidelines and what I found was found was both sensible and consistent. You must be at least 21, but the preference is over 25. Many will consider a person or a couple over 50, but tend to prefer that that age band adopt an older child vs an infant (let’s face it, are there a lot of people over 50 who would want to try to keep up with an infant)?

I also see a trend where the agencies prefer not to have a gap of more than 48 years between the adopting person or couple, but most agencies will look at potential adoptive parents on a case by case basis. For example, a couple of the agencies stated they would consider healthy adopters over 60, but would prefer they adopt an older child.

But how about looking at this from the adopter’s perspective? I did some reading and a bit of research, thoughts and opinions on this topic really vary. Some say they would prefer a child over 6 if they are over 45, while many folks said they would prefer a toddler if they are in their 40’s because “being an older parent is easier because I feel like I am more patient and have realistic expectations”.

When it’s all said and done, like many big decisions, there is not hard “right or wrong” answer to this issue. Because each person is unique as is the child who will be adopted, it was nice to see that many factors are taken into consideration by agencies. For help on adoption please see a few resources below:

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, please email them to me at

One response to “How Old is Too Old to Adopt?

  1. While nature — at least for women — may concur with the results, that hasn’t stopped older couples from adopting when they are well into their and even , bucking the idea that they are too old to be parents.

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