Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Too Old to Adopt?

From an Australian newspaper:
A NUNAWADING couple say they have been denied a chance to adopt a disabled child because they are considered too old.

Craig and Janet Coulson applied to the Department of Human Services in a bid to adopt a special needs child.

The couple, in their mid-50s, are already full-time carers of two disabled children.

They adopted Tayla, 15, and Claudia, 7, when they were 22 months old.

Tayla suffers from cerebral palsy, scoliosis, is blind and is fed through a tube while Claudia has Down syndrome and arthritis in her legs and arms.

Mr Coulson said it was made clear by the department that their age was the black mark against them.

“We don’t understand, after we have proven ourselves, why can’t we at least look after one of the kids in state care?” Mr Coulson said.
I've blogged before about age as a factor in adopting.  I took the position that there was no age which should be a per se barrier to adoption, that age should not be used as a proxy for lack of energy or poor health or absolute life expectancy.  A lot of people in the comments disagreed with me!  So what do you think about this story?  BTW, the department denies that age was the barrier.


SocialWrkr24/7 said...

I think that in this day and age, there are too many people who would challenge the decision if it was left up to a more subjective method of evaluation (activity level, general health, etc). Plus, the reality is that doctors are hesitant to say that a person isn't "healthy" enough to parent - even if they are elderly and have serious illnesses. So, I can understand why more objective rules have been established. But I do think their should be a waiver or appeal process with specific guidlines. And that 50 seems a bit young for that cut off. In my state, it is 65 - but there is a waiver that can be granted if the person is a relative and has a "back up plan".

Von said...

You have to look at whether the young person will always be dependent against the age of the adoptee and as SW24/7 says they are relatives and have a back up plan.While we might wants those with disabilities to have homes,you have to look at what happens if the adopters die before the person grows up or if they won't reach independence what happens next and is it fair to the adoptee.
Individual cases and individual decisions.

Louise said...

well, hell - if you are 55 and adopt an infant with long term health issues, would you be able to take them into adulthood? Odds are you might kick the bucket. And there you have it. A nice gesture, another child in foster care.