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Growing Trend? Empty Nest Adoption

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Adopting Mom Jackie reports: Older couples get a second (and third, and fourth) chance at parenting.

Some parents turn their grown kids' rooms into a gym, sewing room, even a home theater. But more and more families are actually turning them into nurseries.

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We've met several Moms lately who--instead of embrace the 'empty nest' when adult kids move out and on with their lives--choose to raise more children. Adoption is a popular choice for Moms like Susan, who adopted son Diego from Guatemala several years after her daughter Jen moved out of the house. Susan and Jen shared their incredible experience with Mom•Logic:

Mom•Logic: What made you decide to become a Mom again 28 years after your first child?

Susan: Something was compelling me--pushing me
forward. I was in my 50s and my husband in his 60s--what a decision to
make! I think for me I'd always wanted another child. I considered
adoption, and then this just took hold. I started researching and it
just fell into place. I had to get my husband on board--I gave him time to really give it consideration before he agreed to it.

ML: Tell us about your experience parenting Diego.

Susan: He fills our lives up. I feel like I birthed him. When it comes to loving my children--it is equal. He's not biologically mine, but he certainly is in the heart. He's so sociable and funny and has the most interesting sense of humor.

ML: What was it like telling your grown daughter she was going to have a brother?

Susan: She was like, 'You're going to do what?' But then she saw his picture and she fell in love immediately.

ML: Jen, what were you thinking when your mother told you?

Jen: Well, I was in complete shock since I was 28 years old, married for two years and hadn't even had my own children yet! My first thought was...Oh My God; has she lost her mind! I am old enough to be this little boy's mother! It was very hard for me at first because I was raised as an only child. But I got over that as soon as I met Diego!

ML: What do you remember about first meeting your little brother?

Jen: He was just turning 5 when he arrived in the United States with my mom and step-dad. I can still remember seeing him for the first time riding down the escalator in the airport--at that point I thought to myself 'This is one of the coolest things that I've ever experienced!'

ML: Was it a tough transition?

Jen: He didn't speak any English at this point, but we bonded just like brother and sister. He has this beautiful spirit filled with love, humor and a passion for life like no one I know! He is truly a gift!

ML: What would you say to others who might be considering adding to the family so late in life?

Jen: Let go of any fear immediately and open your heart to life's greatest gift--a child!


next: Moms Are Talking About...
37 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous May 28, 2008, 9:32 AM

Well put, Susan. The world is a better place because of people like you.

Mike M June 23, 2008, 3:56 PM

The adoption of Diego was a fantastic one for both the parents and the child. Along with the two children that Susan has of her own (Jen and Diego) she also has a step son from a previous marriage (he past away) who has three children. Susan not only acts like a parent to me, she acts like a grandparent to my three children.

I have been lucky enough to see the transformation that Diego has undergone under the love and guidance that his parents have given him. I am his half-brother (sort of) and his god-father.

This mother has a career in education and can offer this child educational opportunities that not many parents are able to give their own biological children.

Due to the love of this mother, this child has experienced different parts of the United States and other countries. If I had the misfortune of being a foster child in a foreign country, I would have loved to have gotten lucky enough to get Susan as a parent and Jen as a sister. If he feels the need to take a few years out of his life at a later date to care for his caring parents, that only shows that the parents have taught him compassion and love.

Way to go Susan and continue loving and caring for this amazing boy.

pat September 5, 2008, 12:41 AM


I vote for the old folks. I am 74 years young and am a foster parent. I chose my children’s age that I feel I can care for.I would adopt in a minute if I could.
My hope is to make a difference in a child’s life. I haven’t had too many children to foster but I would welcome the challenge. There is no reward greater than making a child smile.

Pat

Jenna March 19, 2009, 9:52 AM

Kids who are waiting for forever families don’t care about age. They care about being loved, having security and someone they can depend on. Those who criticize Susan’s journey with adoption later in life must realize that if the Susans of the world didn’t adopt “older” kids, who would? The problem is not that Susan is an empty nester, it is that there are too many children who need loving homes and not enough unselfish people to adopt them. God bless you Susan - you are an inspiration and will give Diego a life that he wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Gray March 19, 2009, 9:13 PM

What is selfish about giving a child a home that doesn’t have one? So many children age right out of the system going to multiple foster care homes. They never know the love and connection of being finally adopted. At 5 and older the chances of actually being adopted are not great. I was a CASA (court appointed advocate)and saw the miserable conditions that foster care children live in, the disruption and sadness that goes with never having a family to call their own. Selfish is not what I would call offering a loving home to a child.

ajay May 10, 2009, 3:08 AM

Some of these comments are unbelievable. What is selfish about caring for children who may otherwise spend their lives in orphanages?

Susan has apparently has reached the goal of self-actualization and is able to give to others. Some may not understand because they simply aren’t there yet and/or may never reach that level.

It’s common to criticize what one does not understand.

Kudos to Susan.

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