If you have considered adopting a child, you may wonder what age you need to be. Is there an ideal age for adoptive parents? Let’s take a look.
A Quote From My Book
In chapter 12 in my book, adoption: your questions answered, I wrote the following:
Most states require that adoptive parents are at least twenty-one years old, with some exceptions. In Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee, applicants may be eighteen or older. Some states have rules about adoptive parents being at least ten years older than the child, or in Idaho, at least fifteen years. Alabama and Nebraska require adoptive parents to be at least nineteen years old. Georgia and Idaho’s laws state that applicants must be twenty-five or older. In Ohio, one adoptive parent may be a minor as long as their spouse is an adult.
The only states that have maximum age laws are Mississippi and Nebraska. In Mississippi, to adopt an infant, you must be forty or younger. To adopt a child who is two to six years old, you will need to be forty-five or younger. In Nebraska, at least one parent needs to be of normal child-bearing age of the child. New York’s laws state specifically that there is no maximum age to adopt.
International adoption has different requirements. To adopt from most foreign countries, you will need to be at least twenty-five years old, China is the exception with a minimum age of thirty. The maximum age for international adoption is generally fifty-five, or forty-four and a half for Korea.
When We Adopted
We first pursued adoption when I was twenty three and my husband Karry was twenty-seven. Thinking we were infertile, we were planning to adopt from Kazakhstan. After learning that we were pregnant, we decided to wait on adopting.
Two babies later, we heard about Noah. When we were finally able to adopt him, we were twenty-seven and thirty-one.
We adopted our daughter Ruby as an infant when we were twenty-nine and thirty-four. Briella came to us, at five, when we were thirty-eight and forty-two. When we were forty-one and forty-five, we had three year old twins enter our home for foster care. Had their case gone to adoption, and had it been God’s will, we could have adopted them. We will be fifty-six and sixty when they turn eighteen.
Adopting in the United States
Foster-adoption will be the most lenient type of adoption concerning the age of the parents. This is probably because there is a great need for people to stand up and adopt foster children. That said, some states still have restrictions to abide by.
Youngest Age of Adoptive Parents in Domestic Adoption
If you are young and you want to adopt, God bless you! You may not be able to yet, but don’t let that deter you. Keep this excitement about adoption in your back pocket–and please, come back to when a few years have passed.
- If you are 17 and married to someone who is 18 or older, you may adopt in the state of Ohio.
- If you are 18, you may adopt in the states of Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Tennessee.
- If you are 19, you may adopt in Alabama or Nebraska.
- If you are 21, you may adopt from most states, as long as you are at least ten years older than the child.
- You must be 25 to adopt in the states of Georgia and Idaho. In Idaho, you need to be at least fifteen years older than the child.
Oldest Age of Adoptive Parents in Domestic Adoption
If you are older than most parents of young children, God bless you! You have an opportunity to change a child’s life in a way that younger parents cannot. You have wisdom, and experience, and so much life to share! I pray that if you are considering adoption, you will!
Note that if you are over 40, chances are low that you will be able to adopt an infant. It isn’t impossible, and I know of stories where it has happened, but it is rare. There is a great need for parents to adopt older children. Will you consider this?
- You may adopt if at least one parent is of normal child-bearing age of the child in Nebraska.
- If you are 40 or younger, you may adopt an infant in Mississippi.
- If you are 45 or younger, you may adopt a child who is ages two to six in Mississippi.
- Most States list no upper limit for adoption. My friend Cheryl and her husband adopted a baby when they were 47 and 52.
- New York’s state laws say specifically that there is no maximum age to adopt a child.
The international adoption scene is a little pickier when it comes to the ages of adoptive parents. Still, as long as you are older than twenty five and younger than fifty five, there is a chance that you may be able to adopt internationally.
Youngest Age of Adoptive Parents in International Adoption
Most foreign countries require that both adoptive parents are at least 25 years old. To adopt from China, both parents will need to be at least 30. To adopt from Ecuador, the youngest parent needs to be at least fourteen years older than the child. For Colombia adoptions, the youngest parent must be at least fifteen years older than the child. To adopt from India, parents must be at least twenty-five years older than the child they plan to adopt.
Oldest Age of Adoptive Parents in International Adoption
The upper age limit for adopting internationally is generally 55 years old. Korea only allows parents to be 44.5 or younger, unless they are of Korean heritage or have adopted from Korea previously. If this is the case, the adoptive parents may be up to age 49. To adopt from Ecuador, parents must be 51 or younger.
Most countries require that there is no more than a fifty year age gap between an adoptive parent and the child, at time of placement. Colombia and Ecuador’s age gap requirement is no more than forty-five years.
Final Thoughts: Age of Adoptive Parents
If you have a desire to adopt, there is likely a place or situation for you. If you have questions about whether or not you will qualify, I suggest that you use this post as a general guide. Then, call some local adoption agencies. It doesn’t hurt to ask!