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Now 50 years old, Christina Haltom-Farrar, grew up wanting to be just like ‘Mary Richards’ from the 1970s Mary Tyler Moore Show on TV—complete with her own apartment, a great career and the liberty to have fun.
Yet, a native of Iowa, Haltom-Farrar says that young women in the ‘70s were expected to “get married right out of high school and start to have babies.”
“My mom didn’t know what to do with me as I wanted to go to college and move to Colorado of all places!” she recalls.
But for Christina it made sense, having been steeped in the musical era of John Denver—and virtually drawn there by the nostalgic Pied Piper of ‘Colorado Rocky Mountain High.’
“I expected someday to meet the right man and have children,” says Christina, “but I was in no hurry.”
In fact, Haltom-Farrar—who had obtained a BA in elementary education and a career as a medical transcriptionist—was 38 years old when she finally met her husband.
But even then, she says “life got away” from her when her mother was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and died after a few years. It was only after 7 years of being together before the couple would finally marry in 2005 when Christina was 45.
“I did not think about having a child until around 40,” she remembers, “and I figured if we hadn’t gotten pregnant by then, it wasn’t going to happen.”
“I never had a strong desire to give birth, although in my early 40s I went through a period of several months where I would have dreams about never giving birth to a child and there was such sadness…it was a period of mourning.”
While her sister had already adopted through foster care, she decided to take a different path and reach out to China, and then to Vietnam.
“Just like giving birth,” Christina warns that adoption is a “long arduous process” and that “mature mothers” should give as much thought to adoption as they would about biological conception.
She says that international adoption is expensive, includes substantial paperwork and the lives of prospective parents are placed under close scrutiny.
But that was all history the day they brought home Emma 2 years ago when Haltom-Farrar was 48 years old and her husband Wayne, 57.
Haltom-Farrar says reactions to her age and adoption have been mixed—often patronizing and superior.
“Mostly it’s positive, such as—‘Awww…how wonderful these two older people have become parents finally.’”
“I feel the pity and the superiority, but wish I could tell them that I never wanted to have a biological baby—it would have been wonderful to have birthed a baby, but it just didn’t happen and I never sought it.”
She also deals with the ‘better you than me’ syndrome from other women her age.
“There are many moms with grown children and grandchildren who are happy to tell me that they are glad it is not them who is raising a child ‘at my age.’”
“They also think we’ve ‘rescued’ our daughter…we hear how ‘lucky’ Emma is all the time from people,” says Christina.
“Think about that one—is she lucky that her birth parents gave her up for adoption and she was taken away from her culture? We, her adoptive parents, are the lucky ones!”
Haltom-Farrar, who hopes to adopt a sister for Emma from China so that the two little girls will “have each other when we are gone from the planet,” has learned much about the social repercussions of adoption over 40.
“Society wants women over 40 to just fade into the background and rock their grandbabies, but things are changing though— for the better.”
While she admits, “it has been far more work than I could have imagined,” Christina was surprised by “the layers of emotions that a mother has.”
“It really is overwhelming the love you have for your child, whether biological or adopted.”
Christina Haltom-Farrar’s life goals at 50?
“To relish every moment; to stay fit, vital and ‘young’ for this little girl and enjoy every moment with her, because life has gone even faster now that we have Emma.”
“I joke all the time to people that we have to be both her parents and her grandparents.”
“Emma has changed my life in every way and I cannot imagine having gone through life on this planet without knowing her.”
Notes for this blog:
See FPM’s other adoption story: “All The Way To China And Back”: https://achildafter40.com/wordpress/?p=1024 (http://)
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