4 common misperceptions about adopting – and why they shouldn’t stop you

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Think these factors mean you can’t adopt? Think again. The adoption process includes considerations

When Christine DeLoach decided to adopt, a few questions crossed her mind. Would an adoption agency be concerned that she was a single mother? What about the limited space in her small New York City apartment? Would her age matter?

A decade later, the Chicagoan is mom to three boys. She adopted her first son, Nathan, who is now 11, from Ethiopia in 2008. After moving from New York to Chicago, she adopted her son Andrew, 5, in 2015 through the foster care process. She is now hoping to legally adopt Andrew’s biological brothers, 1-year-old John Robert and 4-week-old Joshua, who lives with them.

Along with adoption advocates, she has a message for people who want to be parents — don’t count yourself out.

Many people assume factors from salary to age are deal breakers in an adoption application.

To be sure, it is a complex process. A typical application can include a constellation of hurdles from medical history and character references to a background check. And applications vary for adopting an infant in the U.S. or abroad or through foster care.

“Many of the things they discuss are more about putting a child in the best home than about saying yes or no to a parent’s ability to parent,” said Megan Lestino, vice president of public policy and education at the Alexandria, Va.,-based National Council For Adoption.

Adoption experts encourage people mulling the process to apply. Here are common considerations:

Age

When Wendy and Robert Noonan became foster parents, their age was one concern. Their youngest biological child was considering colleges when they first became foster parents to Johnathan, 6, and Kevin, 5, in 2011. Eventually they pursued adoption.

“The kids don’t have any idea what our ages are,” she said. Her husband does the same activities with the boys that he did with their older sons, like the Illinois Nation Indian Guides, a bonding program for dads and sons. Their adult children, ages 22, 25 and 26, have welcomed the younger children into the family fold and come to dinner twice each month.

Adoption experts said agencies might be hesitant to place, for example, a baby with a 73-year-old. But the main concern, most emphasized, is whether an applicant can meet a child’s present and future needs. Some agencies might have age limits, but they vary.

At The Cradle, an adoption agency in Evanston, the FAQ specifies that there is no age limit but age is discussed as part of a home study evaluation, where a conversation might include an applicant’s health, mobility and financial stability. Instead of thinking of age as an eliminating factor, agency employees said they instead consider whether, for example, an empty nester might be a good match for a teenager.

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Article 4 common misperceptions about adopting – and why they shouldn’t stop you compiled by www.chicagotribune.com