Adopting After Forty

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When our daughter was a year old, my husband and I decided to start trying for another child. Getting pregnant the first time, even at age forty-one, had been simple. We had no reason to believe the second time around would be anything but a breeze. Instead, I’d get pregnant easily, only to miscarry a few weeks later. My OB/GYN told me the miscarriages were most likely due to old eggs. She used a more medically acceptable term but “old” is what she meant.


So it became a numbers game. And we expected to eventually beat the odds. But then the getting pregnant part stopped happening. Months passed after the last miscarriage. No pregnancy. Seven months of fertility treatments. No pregnancy. If we wanted our daughter to have a sibling, we needed to look at other options. People I knew were touting facts about the number of children in the world who needed loving families. We optimistically turned to adoption.


Several friends knew friends who had easily adopted children, and they pointed us in the direction of several reputable adoption agencies. The first one I contacted, a well-known agency in Texas, took more than a week to return my call. When the rep finally contacted me, she was nice but painfully honest. She didn’t discourage me from applying, but she explained that we didn’t really stand a snowball’s chance in hot weather due to our advanced age. I’m forty-four; my husband is forty-one. According to her, most birth moms prefer young adoptive parents. And since this particular agency allows its birth mothers to select the prospective parents, we could be in for a long wait.


“By the way, do you have any other children?” she continued. I tell her we have a two- and a half-year-old daughter. “Oh, that’s going to be another strike against you,” she says. “Most birth mothers want to give the miracle of a child to parents who can’t have children of their own. They probably aren’t going to pick parents who already have a child. But go ahead with your application and the $250 fee. I’ll present you to the board and see what happens.”


Feeling a bit discouraged, I hang up and contact the second agency on my list. Only to hear the same general story from a different person. “Quite frankly, you are just too old to adopt. Sorry.”


I get similar reports from several more agencies before giving up. I decide this roadblock is God’s way of telling me it’s not yet time to go the adoption route. We put our plans on hold.


In the meantime, my dentist tells me about a friend who has successfully adopted twice—internationally. According to the dentist, this woman knows all the rules and regulations, was thirty-nine when she adopted her first child and is more than willing to guide me through the process. So I place the call and leave one more message. Just in case.


By Mama Michele, Barefoot & Pregnant

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