General Question

troubleinharlem's avatar

Are age limitations on adopting infants in most circumstances moral, logical, fair or just?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7978points) February 2nd, 2011

This was inspired by this question. Should there be age limits set on people who are older, or is this just ageism?

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15 Answers

crisw's avatar

In many cases, it’s a moot question. Many, if not most, of the adoptions done today are open adoptions, where the birth mother picks who parents the child- and she can use any criteria that she wishes.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Because you specifically stated “infants” I’ll answer to that. I don’t know what the age should be, but an infant, then toddler, then young child, requires an enormous amount of energy to care for. Age might well be a factor in the quality of that care. Unless the “older” (60? 65?) person is appropriately fit (as well as the other considerations), I think it should be a factor. I have known a number of older couples who are raising their grandchildren, and they have mentioned that their age is a huge factor.

bkcunningham's avatar

@crisw open adoption, opposed to closed adoption) only means that the birth records are opened. Adoptions are either private where adoptive parents are advised by an attorney or agency adoptions. Each state regulates adoptions in various ways. Only 46 states allow independent or open adoptions. International adoptions are typically handled by private, nonprofit adoption agencies. These children must be orphaned or abandoned or have only one living parent who is incapable of providing care for the child. International adoptions require that you follow the laws of the country where you live and the country of the child you want to adopt. People turn to countries like Mexico, Russia and Greece because the age limit is 60. But there are many other hurdles. Sorry to ramble. It is a subject near and dear to me.

tranquilsea's avatar

I don’t think this is ageism. The likelihood of death or disability increases with age. You need to think about the child and what is best for them. I don’t think that the risk that comes with getting older is the best thing for a child.

bkcunningham's avatar

For everyone who thinks about what is best for the child in regards to aging parents; what about all of the grandparents who raising their grandchildren. Even great-grandchildren. Are these children better put in foster care with the hopes of adoption with loving younger parents? Just a thought.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@bkcunningham : The Q specifically mentioned adoption, not family circumstances that necessitate grands (or great grands) raising children. I (reasonably, I’m sure) assumed she meant non family members.

bkcunningham's avatar

@JilltheTooth sorry. I forgot it was in the general section. But most grandparents that do that have to legally adopt or take legal custody so perhaps it still counts. Anyway, sorry.

JessicaRTBH's avatar

Age is not exactly as important as health. I was adopted as an infant by two seemingly young and healthy parents. My (adoptive) mom died at age 50

crisw's avatar


Sorry, but that’s not quite correct- we spent several years in the open adoption process (although we did not end up adopting.) Please see the information here – this was the agency we worked with.

YARNLADY's avatar

For infants, I can see the reasoning. For older children, no.

bkcunningham's avatar

@crisw I’m sorta missing what I said that wasn’t correct. Sorry, I’ve had a long week. You were using an agency where the records would be open. You would know the birth mother, right?

crisw's avatar


Not only would you know her, she would choose the parents. There would also be further contact after the birth, if she wanted it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t think so.

iamthemob's avatar

I’m with @JessicaRTBH and @YARNLADY (to a degree).

Age limitations that are prima facie bars to adoption are inappropriate. However, taking the age of the applicant into account is completely understandable. The older you get, the more significant other benefits you can offer should be considered.

The availability of extended family support would be, for example, a good balancing factor.

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