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Deciding Between Older Child and Infant Adoption

Are you considering starting or growing your family through adoption? What is the best choice for your family? In the adoption journey, there are several factors that you must consider. Raising a child brings new experiences and requires lifestyle adjustments. What age child do you feel prepared to parent?

Discover the answers in this article. Let’s talk about factors to consider when deciding whether infant or older child adoption is best for you.

Understand Your Lifestyle

Each adoption journey is unique. Prospective parents usually have specific visions about their parenting style or long-term goals, among other things. So ask yourself this: What vision do I have for my family?

For example, you may want to experience the “firsts” of parenthood or consider your ability to match a child’s energy level. Perhaps you have an active lifestyle and are eager to nurture a child who is old enough to join you on excursions. Understanding your lifestyle is the first step in considering what age range makes the most sense for your family.

Assess Your Parental Readiness and Support Systems

parents teaching their adoptive daughter how to ride a bike

The next question is, how ready are you? The parenting demands between older children and infants are entirely different. If you’re new to parenthood, the thought of changing diapers, dealing with teething, and enduring sleepless nights may seem overwhelming. Meanwhile, older children will demand deeper emotional support and understanding as well as educational and extracurricular activities. 

Another factor to consider is the support systems available to you. Do you have family, friends, and other community resources to assist you during this transition? A solid support network enhances your ability to meet your child’s needs. Evaluate these facets across all age groups and consider which suits you best.

Explore Adoption Agencies and Resources

Examining local, ethical agencies can aid your decision-making process. Some agencies may focus on either infant or older child adoption, while others, such as Open Arms Adoptions, specialize in both. Know each agency’s policies and support services according to age group to determine which aligns with your needs and preferences.

Aside from the support and resources offered by your agency, you can check out legitimate online forums, support groups, or parenting classes. These will provide more insights about the help you’ll get throughout the adoption journey.

Consider Adoption Trajectories

parents telling their adopted baby a story before bedtime

Assess how early experiences and interactions influence children’s transition into their new homes. For instance, adopting an older child involves addressing past experiences and how these may affect their future path. You may also need to consider existing emotional or developmental needs.

The trajectories slightly differ for infants. It’s all about understanding how factors like caregiving transition and routine changes may influence an infant’s development. Such infant adoption considerations can emotionally, socially, and cognitively shape their life within the new adoptive environment. 

Consider Legal and Ethical Implications

The decision to grow your family through adoption includes navigating a legal and ethical landscape. For a smoother adoption process, working with an adoption agency committed to ethical practices and legal support is imperative.

The utmost consideration for what is best for the child is at the forefront of any ethical adoption process. This is true in both infant and older child adoption. When considering infant adoption, an ethical agency believes that providing holistic support to the child’s birth mother and prospective adoptive parents throughout the process is key. To ensure there are no conflicts of interest and that all parties are ethically and legally protected, Open Arms Adoptions provides birth mothers and adoptive parents each with their own support worker. 

While infants and older children are similar when it comes to ethical considerations, there are a few legal differences in their circumstances. 

Infant adoption involves relinquishment by birth parents, requiring clear consent and legal documentation to terminate their parental rights after a waiting period that varies by state; it is 72 hours in Ohio. 

Older children, on the other hand, typically live in a foster home within the foster care system because their biological parents’ rights have already been terminated due to neglect, abuse, or abandonment. Both infant and older child adoption laws require that prospective adoptive parents go through a home study process that certifies they and their home are adequately suited to raise a child before adoption, as well as post-placement visits and support.

Plan Your Finances

financial planning prior making decision regarding adoption

Of course, we can’t skip the costs associated with infant and older child adoption. The choice to raise infants and older children requires future medical, educational, and other expense planning. However, initial adoption expenses between infants and older children are quite different. 

Adopting older children can be a much more affordable option than infant adoption. Choosing to adopt children from the foster care system involves lower fees and expenses, which can ease the financial aspect of the adoption process. 

Many grants and other resources are available to parents seeking to start or grow their family. Ethical adoption agencies like Open Arms Adoptions will work with you to find supplemental funding applicable to your unique situation. 

Make the Decision

The decision to adopt an infant or a child is life-changing. Adoptive parents should take as much time as needed to make the right decision for their family, as well as what is best for the infant or child coming into their home. Infants and older children each come with their own kinds of rewards and possible challenges. The adoptive family’s vision, readiness, and capabilities are equally important factors when considering the best possible future life for their child or children.


Both older child and infant adoption offer a wonderful experience. Adoptive families should be mindful of their lifestyle and expectations when considering whether infant or older child adoption is the best fit, not only for themselves but also for the child. After reflecting on their vision for their family, natural instinct and working with an ethical adoption agency guide parents to their child or children. 

Open Arms Adoptions is a reputable adoption agency whose mission is to find families for every child in need. Our services encompass all ages, embracing all circumstances and celebrating families’ unique journeys. 

If you’re considering adoption, Open Arms Adoptions can help. As an ethical full-service agency specializing in infant and foster care adoption, we are equipped to guide you knowledgeably and joyfully through the adoption process. 

Contact Open Arms today!

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Open Arms Adoptions is 501(c)3 non-profit agency licensed by the State of Ohio.

Our mission is to provide a loving, stable home to every child in need. We work tirelessly to create an environment that embraces the unique set of circumstances each of our birth parents, prospective adoptive parents and children bring to us. 
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Kent, OH 44240
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