In the past, it might have been more common to see couples adopting, but single parent adoption is on the rise. Adopting as a single man or woman is more commonplace than ever before. According to Adoptioncouncil.org, between 2017-2019, single men and women accounted for about 28% of all parents adopting from foster care. Though married couples still account for around 80% of adoptions, the amount of single people adopting continues to rise. Being a parent, no matter your relationship status, is a lot of work and being a parent through adoption means you’ll have do research, constantly learn and grow, and continue to educate yourself to better parent your own child. As with any adoption, there are a lot of things to think and learn about before you start the process.
Things to Consider
Single individuals make the decision to parent for a variety of reasons. In the past, those that weren’t in a relationship weren’t always considered for adoptions, but times have changed and this is a more and more common scenario. Like any individual considering adoption, there are critical things to consider and discuss with others prior to adopting.
Are you financially stable? The reality is that adoption (and raising a child) are expensive. One of the reasons why married couples are more likely to adopt than those who are single is financial. Two incomes usually help offset the cost of adoption and in some instances, one parent may choose to stay at home with the child in lieu of child care expenses. A home study process will help you understand your finances more and will indicate that you have the ability to support a child.
Do you have a strong support system? Parenting is hard and adopting is hard. You will have a lot of little hurdles to go through when you bring a new child into your home. There are the emotions of grief for birth parents, adjusting to your new life as a parent, learning how to best care for your child. If you’re adopting from the foster care system, you may be helping a child adapt and working through his or her own trauma from the process. Having people who can help you is imperative.
Are you in a Relationship? If you’re dating or plan to and are in the process of adopting, have the conversation with your partner about their potential role in a child’s life that you might parent. If you were to marry, would that individual also consider adopting your child? Though this may be a tough conversation to have, if you have someone in your life that’s important to you, be sure to talk these things through to alleviate any stressful situations later that could impact a child.
Do your Research. When anyone asks me what they should do before adopting, I always tell them to do the research. Learn the policies and procedures in your state and reach out to an adoption agency to help you step by step. While there are no additional legal procedures for a single man or single woman adopting, in many states, there is an age limit, typically that one parent can be no more than 50 years older than the child. Ensure that you are well versed on adoption criteria in your state and make a list of questions that you can ask an adoption professional. Additionally, if you’re considering international adoption as opposed to a domestic one, you may find that some countries do not adopt to single parents or have different expectations. Ask questions to make sure that you’re applicable to adopt in those countries.
If you feel like you’re ready to parent through adoption, you’ll want to speak to a lawyer or adoption professional near you to learn more about your next steps. Every agency and organization proceeds just a little bit differently, so the best thing to do is to make an appointment to speak with someone. As previously mentioned, requirements differ by location, so it’s important to know what you need to do to start the process properly.
If you’re a single parent interested in adoption, please reach out to Adoption Choice Inc. to start the conversation.