Adopting Later in Life


Dear Rabbi,

My husband and I are in our upper 50s. We have been happily married for over 30 years. We tried but couldn’t have children when we were young and couldn’t adopt either because we couldn’t afford to. We have always felt and still feel an emptiness because we never had any children. This emptiness has grown as more time has passed and many of our relatives are gone.

Now we are financially in a better position and we would very much love to adopt some children, but we cannot ignore the fact that we are older. We are for the most part in good health. We have asked a lawyer, and legally we can adopt if an agency is willing to approve us. What is your advice as a rabbi when it comes to middle-aged people adopting children?





  1. I truly empathize with your feelings, and there is no doubt that your desire to adopt is a beautiful reflection of the purity of your intentions. I must admit to being torn about what to tell you. On the one hand, the opportunity to give such all-encompassing help to a child in need is truly one of the most beautiful Mitzvos that a person can do. But, on the other hand, there is no doubt that having a young child at home requires a lot of strength, which is sometimes a bit lacking at a later stage in life. And, as children grow, they need more and more attention.

    Personally, I would suggest that you consider looking into the possibility of “adopting” a family in need: a one-parent family or a family experiencing great financial distress. I personally know several couples who did such a thing and they have a rewarding and loving relationship with their “families” to the point that they truly feel like the grandparents of the children.

    I think it is really your choice to make. But, whatever you choose to do, please accept my personal blessing that Hashem will bless you with much happiness and success, and that He will also bless you for your altruistic and beautiful desire to help those who are less fortunate than yourselves.

    Best wishes from the Team