Now that we're in sunny [ish] D.C. with in-house (if dial-up) internet, I thought I'd take a brief opportunity to start addressing your questions while Nat has a pre-panda bottle (zoo, today).
And so, without further ado, in the order they appear below, your questions:
<i><b>Leave a question? Hmmm... Well, I have a question for Cole, actually. As the 40+ yr old mother of two teenagers who is considering fostering/adopting a baby/young child, I am wondering what it is like to begin a family when one is in her 40's. Any comments appreciated.</i></b>
Well, Cole doesn't blog, but she sometimes plays an advisory blogging role, especially regarding questions posed to her. So here's my representation of her feelings on this. Since she is a mother for the first time in her 40's, she doesn't really have anything to compare it to, so there's not really a sense of concern over age in particular.
However, one thing that comes up a lot for us is that people don't recognize us as a family. This happened before Nat, too, so it isn't the race thing. In fact, people never fail to recognize me as Nat's mother. They may wonder how I became her mother, but the fact that I am is not in doubt. People don't know who Cole is to either of us unless we tell them directly. They don't even take big hints, and we've experimented with having Cole carry or stroll the baby instead of me, etc. I think the appearance of age difference between us is the leading cause of confusion. I look about 10 years younger than I actually am and Cole is actually a bit more than 10 years older than me, so that leads to the appearance of a pretty big age-gap. Perhaps if Cole was alone with the baby (which she hasn't been, publically), people would assume she's the mom, but with me in tow, this rarely occurs.
It's kind of annoying to get closeted against our will all the time, but we know who we are, so I wouldn't say it's a major factor in family happiness.
I read this to Cole and she has okay'd it as accurate!