Later Mom Features
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Married to my high school sweetheart, John
RESIDENCE: Nampa, ID
CHILDRENS NAMES/AGES: Amanda 26, Erika 24, Jared 22, Daniel 20, Lidya 19, Zeytuna 16, Josh 16, Ben 16, Emily 12, Julianna 9
I am the author of three books: Forever Mom: What to Expect When You’re Adopting, Family Feasts for $75 a Week, and A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family. My Amazon author page feaatures links to all three books: I’ve been blogging since 2006 at www.owlhaven.net.
What was your road to parenthood like? We were practically babies ourselves when we first became parents. John was 21 and I was 20. We had 4 kids in 6 years, and thought for a while that we were done. But when we were 30, we started talking about adoption, and ended up adopting 6 kids over the next 9 years. We have 2 boys adopted from South Korea in 1998 and 2000, and 4 girls from Ethiopia, adopted in 2004, 2005, and (2 girls) in 2007. These days, four of our kids are grown and 6 are still at home. Our two oldest daughters are married, with two babies each, and our oldest son is engaged to be married next summer. I’m loving the grandbabies, but also really glad to still have relatively little ones at home. My 9 year old still climbs on my lap for snuggles, and I just love it!
What do you see as the positives and challenges of adopting kids at age 35 or over? POSITIVES: The great thing is that I know I’ve grown in wisdom since my early years of parenting in my 20′s. I’m more patient and flexible than I used to be, and less likely to overreact when kids misbehave. CHALLENGES: Sometimes I have to remind myself to make a big deal over Christmas programs and other similar events for my younger ones. Just because I’ve been attending these things for a couple decade,s doesn’t make them less exciting to my 9 year old. On the other hand (according to my teens), she gets away with lots of stuff the older ones didn’t, just because she’s my baby. So maybe it balances out. :)
How did becoming a mom both younger and later in life differ? I think the greatest advantage of maturity is perspective. As a young mom, I sometimes made worried assumptions about a kid’s future based on their behavior as a very young and immature little person. These day,s I understand that a hard stage does not make a bad kid. There’s always opportunity for growth around the corner. Yeah, three years from now there will be new challenges. But this thing that’s overwhelming me now will most likely have passed. We will survive and be stronger from the growth process.