'Go for it Dolly': Scotsman readers have their say on Dolly Parton adopting a child at age 75

According to reports country superstar Dolly Parton, who turned 75 on Tuesday, is considering adopting a 10-year-old girl with husband Carl Dean.

The news has led to a debate about whether age should have a bearing on a person’s suitability to be an adoptive parent.

We asked Scotsman readers for their views on the issue, with the vast majority supportive of the singer’s belated parenthood ambitions.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Tina Holden spoke for many who don’t think age should be seen as a hurdle: “There are not enough people willing and able to adopt. Would it be better for the girl to live life in a series of foster homes until she ages out of the system and then has to fend for herself?

Dolly Parton turned 75 on Tuesday, January 19.

"I don’t think age should be a factor as long as there was a plan of care set up to ensure that the girl is not put up for adoption if Dolly passes before the girl is an adult. This is something that all parents should do anyway to ensure children are taken care of if the parents pass.”

Several, including Maegan Bledsoe, pointed out that Dolly Parton’s enviable finances meant that the child would never go without: “When you've got as much money as Dolly? Even if she passed the child would likely be left well cared for. I know parents that have died in their 20s or 30s with young children. No one is guaranteed time.”

Ryan Morrison agreed: “If the option is leaving the child in an orphanage or living in the home of one of the most successful and talented women in the world then it seems like a no brainer. Sure, she is old, but can you imagine what growing up with Dolly Parton would be like?”

Angela Schroeder also pointed out that youth offers no certainty of being around until your child becomes an adult: “Age doesn't matter when adopting. It is the amount of love and care that you can give the child. For those saying that something could happen to her and the child would be back in the system, well something can happen to anyone who adopts or has a child.”

Nathaniel Garcia echoed that viewpoint from his own personal perspective: “I'm 26 and a dad of two, but I could die driving to work today. Anything can happen at any given time. If she will provide a safe and loving home for the child, then why not? That goes for any adoptive parents.”

Maureen Taylor pointed out the the work the singer does gifting books to children through her ‘Imagination Library’ charity shows her suitability: “She obviously loves children. Look how many books she has provided to children over the years. Of course she should adopt should she desire. Any child would get the love they need and all they require to live a very happy life. Go for it Dolly!”

Robert Allen also highlighted her role in the fight against Covid: “She had the wherewithal to help fund one of the vaccines. She has the capacity to give the girl a very good life. Don't put your doubts on Dolly now.”

However others were more cautious, with Shirley Telep pointing out that it wasn’t necessarily a simple issue: “That’s a question that requires a whole lot more information. The chances of a 10-year-old in the foster system getting adopted are really slim, which often means being moved from one foster care setting to another, so her age is less likely to be a viable issue.

"What are her plans around this child care should she have health issues? Does she have extended family available that would be part of the child’s life and present some continuity and stability over time. What are the advantages for the child? Too many unanswered questions. It might be great, it might not.”

A handful of readers, like Bill McEwan, went further, saying that the entertainer should think again: “Dolly, from what I can see, is a great lady. She will give the kid a great start. However she won't be around, you would guess, in 10 years. Is that enough or better for the child than other available options?”

Kathleen Coull was also concerned: “What if something happens to her two years after adoption? The child would be back in care again. It’s not fair on the child.”

But Paul Flaherty had the final word, recalling one of the country singer’s most famous songs: “So, the kid will be 30 when she's 9-5.”