Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | June 20, 2013

Filling Up an Empty Nest

I just read a very interesting story that was recently published in the New York Times.  The article, entitled, “Filling Up an Empty Nest,” discusses a topic that is much debated in the adoption community:  How old is too old to adopt?  This article tells the story of Jim and Rebecca Gawboy, a retired couple living on a farm in Tower, Minnesota.  Jim is 76 years old and Rebecca is 60.  Rather than spending their retirement traveling, taking up a new hobby, or relaxing, the Gawboys are busy caring for 12 adopted children ranging in age from 8-19 years old.  The article tells about the Gawboys’ very busy daily routine and the feedback that they have gotten from those around them regarding their decision to care for so many children at their age.  Statistics show that many older adults are becoming more interested in adoption once they reach retirement age.  Some are trying to “fill their empty nests,” others never had children and want to experience parenting at this more “relaxed” time of life, and others are older family members caring for a younger relative.  Most of the time it is older children who are adopted by these much older adults, and the children often have a variety of special needs.  This poses the hot button question: “Can retirement-aged adults sufficiently care for adopted children, especially those with special needs?  Which is better – for a child to remain in a foster care setting or for a child to reside with older adults who may not have the health/energy to provide for all of their needs?  This is a very interesting topic and debate.  What do you think??

To read the article, please visit:


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