In the past, the stigma of single parent adoption prevented the adoption of many children who were desperately in need of a loving home. Unfortunately, although many more single parents are finding success with the adoption process, the competition for infants is still fierce. Single parents typically take a backseat to couples seeking to adopt.
Adoption agencies and lawyers have a set of criteria that they refer to when making placements for children. While these criteria may change somewhat depending upon the child and/or the type of adoption, they typically have the following in common:
- Age of adopting parent/parents
- Age of child
- Fertility status
- Other family members/children
- Religious preferences/practices
- Marital status
Reasons for Adopting
Those who file for adoption as a single parent, do so for many of the same reasons that couples try to adopt. For example:
- Unable to have children
- Need to provide for a child
- Need to give back to the community
- Desire to nurture a child
Arguments Against Single Parent Adoption
There are many who argue against single parent adoption. They state the following reasons:
- Child will grow up without a mother or father in the home
- Instability in the home
- Lack of support for parent
- Less chance of monitoring post-adoption situation
Positives of Adoption
While of course there will always be arguments against single parent adoption, there are many compelling reasons for allowing an adoption to occur, including the following:
- A high divorce rate across the country lends support to the argument that single parents can provide stability to children.
- Single people often have higher educational degrees and hold financially secure jobs.
- Single people can fill the extreme shortage of parents for special needs and older children.
- Single parents can devote their time to their children. This is especially beneficial for those children who are older or have disabilities.
Where To Begin
Beginning the adoption process can be a daunting task, especially for a single person. Although several studies have lent credibility to the belief that single parents can provide a loving, nurturing environment for children of all ages, there are still many hurdles that must be overcome.
If you are considering adoption, keep in mind that the process can be long, arduous, and expensive, especially if you want to adopt a Caucasian infant.
To begin the adoption process:
- Seek out other adoptive parents, especially those who are single
- Make appointments to speak with adoption agencies, and inquire about the success rate of single parent adoptions in your state
- Ask for any documentation pertaining to adoption laws and regulations
- Consider becoming a foster parent as a road to permanent adoption
- Read about adoption from the Internet, books, journal articles, pamphlets, etc.
May single people choose to adopt an older or special needs child. In some cases, the term special needs simply refers to children who have been taken out of an abusive situation and need counseling or children who have learning and/or behavior disabilities, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Others may have severe emotional or physical disabilities.
Consider an international adoption as another way to fulfill your dreams of parenthood. Several countries, such as Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, and Peru accept single parent applicants, although their laws could change at any given time.
You might also find success by pursuing a private adoption. These can be handled by adoption agencies, facilitators, or lawyers, depending upon the state's laws in which you are adopting. Your best bet will be to look for an agency that works with the birth parents to search for adoptive parents. In some cases, birth parents prefer to work with a single parent adoption because they feel a single person will devote himself or herself to the child. You may be asked to create a portfolio of yourself, including pictures and other information that the birth parent will examine.