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More Older Adults Seek to Adopt

Couples and singles look to make a difference in children's lives

Gloria Chavez and her husband, Stan Fitch, were in their 50s when they adopted two brothers six years ago. She had a daughter who died in infancy; he didn't have children. Both came from large families — Fitch was the youngest of nine; Chavez was the oldest of five and helped raise her siblings. With this experience, "I thought we would be pretty well-prepared," says Chavez, 60, president of an environmental and nuclear safety consulting firm that her husband founded in Albuquerque, N.M.

Their adopted boys — Angelo, 19, and Tony, 18 — were two of seven siblings who had endured abuse and neglect and multiple placements in group homes and with single families. "They were street kids with no table manners, limited vocabulary and social skills," Chavez says.

Now, Angelo is attending New Mexico Tech on a full scholarship and Tony is a high school junior and captain of the golf team. He also plans to go to college. "They're slowly but surely finding their way through life," says Fitch, 57. "They're learning to cope with their past. They're learning to see a future for themselves."

From foster care to adoption

Instilling positive changes in adopted children can bring fulfillment to parents of any age.

"The trend of older adults adopting is certainly pervasive and an important reality in the adoption community now," says Kate Trujillo, executive vice president of the Adoption Exchange in Aurora, Colo., which provides support and services to families before, during and after adoption.

Jeannie Arden, 76, and her husband Laurie, 68, recently adopted 10-year-old Tori after fostering her in their Richmond, Ind., home since last July. "Since we both have retired, we felt that there was a void in our lives. And we thought that we could give a child a lot of love and happiness," says Laurie, formerly a technical writer for the government and Navy chief petty officer. His wife operated a day care center.

Next: Provide a home for a child in need. >>

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