Single parents have a much harder journey through adoption than married couples. But it’s not impossible. Currently, in the United States, one-third of all adoptions stem from single parent families. A vast improvement from over forty years ago, when the idea was less than favorable.
A Single Parent’s Journey
For single individuals, the adoption process is very similar to that of married couples. At the end of the day, a child gets placed in a loving home. However, single parents do undergo more careful analysis and face more obstacles in the long run.
Arguably the great challenge is society retaining a strong belief that adoptees should only be welcomed into traditional homes. In other words, ones that have a married mother and father. Some mental health and medical professionals agree with this, saying that child will grow up more balanced.
This isn’t always the case. In fact, this view has become outdated, causing adoption agencies to shift their thinking. There are millions of children awaiting adoption all across the world. In the United States alone, there are upwards of 500,000. Thus, over the last forty years, single parent adoptions have grown both in popularity and success.
Single Male vs. Single Woman
Women have an innate sense of motherhood. A ticking biological clock. The need to nurture and extend unconditional love. Single or married – women are all wired the same way. As a result, single women explore artificial insemination and sperm donation to try and fill that void, hoping to raise a child with a partner one day. For some, adopting as a single mom is the last option because of the stress and overwhelming cost. Even still, single women have a better outcome adopting than single men.
Single men are criticized a lot more, because of social bias and speculation. Living situation, sexuality and finances are meticulously researched, and his ultimate motives for adoption thoroughly weighed. It is the unfortunate and sad reality, but even honest and qualified men fall through the cracks.
Adoption agencies do not take anything lightly.
Beating the Odds
Despite how this sounds, don’t be discouraged. Many single individuals – both male and female – have made it through successfully. There is a way to traverse the legality to parenthood. The secret? Research and preparation.
Weigh all the options. What kind of agency are you looking to go through? International? Domestic? Would you consider fostering a child first, and then adopting them that way? Race, gender and age are important pieces to figure out. Health, as well. For instance, would you consider adopting a child with special needs or one with disabilities? When researching agencies, always double-check that they accept single parent adoptions. Not all of them are on the same page yet. Those that accept single women adoptions may not welcome single men adoptions.
Before meeting with agency staff for the first time, be sure that you have a clear and detailed plan of what single parenthood will look like for you. They will ask you to explain this to them. Some of the questions may include: are you doing this all on your own, or do you have friends and family to help you out? What will traveling look like? Who will watch the child when you’re at work? How are your finances?
Financial Plan B
As a single parent, you are a one-income household. Being financially stable is a huge thing for adoption agencies. You don’t have to be rich, but adoption is expensive. Take the time to carefully formulate a “financial plan B” for any emergencies that may arise. Inform your boss, too, so that you can plan accordingly for when you’re at home with your new child.
Carefully think through the other financial aspects of your decision. For instance, large amounts of debt will not look favorable. Consider lessening those before adopting. Definitely make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward when it comes to finances. Preparation and research will go a long way.
Strong Support Network
Having the support of friends and family will also create a sense of ease with adoption agencies. Especially those who may doubt that all the child’s needs – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – will be met. Knowing that there are friends and family there to support you and offer care for the child while you’re at work will help instill confidence.
Raising a child alone is not an easy process. Without a partner to share the responsibility with, it can be more stressful, too. Travel plans will be more complex, as will going back to work and day-to-day life in general. So, a strong support network is essential. Friends and family who are fully committed to helping out will be more likely to assist with trips, babysitting and jumping in when you need a breather.
For single men, it may take more convincing to gain the support of friends and family. The question of motive comes into play again here. Make sure they know your intentions and how dedicated you are to the process, educating them on the benefits and rewards if need be.
It doesn’t take a married couple to make a family. Single men and women are more than capable of growing their families through adoption. There will be more challenges overall, but research and presenting yourself as a financially stable and responsible adult will definitely help tip the scale in your favor.
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