Single Parent Adoption
In 1970, if you had gone to an adoption agency as a single person and applied to adopt a child, you would, unfortunately, have had little chance of success. It just didn't happen.
Historically, marital status was a barrier to adoption. There was a strong bias against single-parent adoption. The adoption laws reflected the opposition. Now that thousands of children in the United States live with one parent, singles have more opportunities to provide a permanent loving home for a child via adoption.
In the last several decades, there has been a steady, sizable increase in single-parent adoptions. Some believe that it's the fastest-growing trend in the adoption field. According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, more than a quarter of all adoptions from foster care were by single people in 2017.
Why Is Single Parent Adoption Becoming More Prevalent?
Many factors have encouraged the acceptance of single-parent families. Perhaps the most important factor is the growing number of one-parent households due to divorce. Many unmarried single women have and keep their babies.
Now that thousands of children in the United States live with one parent, single people have more opportunities to provide a permanent loving home for a child via adoption.
Adoption agencies have been more willing to consider single people as prospective adopters. In addition, research studies from 2016 have indicated that adopted children raised by single parents fare just as well as those adopted by couples, if not better.
Obstacles To Single-Parent Adoption
Your friends and family members may be your first hurdle. They may not understand why anyone would be responsible for raising a child alone. Have an open dialogue with loved ones. Explaining your decision with them can be helpful, primarily if they can provide you with a support system before, during, and post-adoption.
Personal finances are also an issue when considering adoption. It would help if you thought about adoption costs. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, adoption fees might cost a lot of money, especially in a private adoption. In this type of adoption, prospective parents may pay the following:
- Birth parents' medical costs/medical fees
- Both the adoptive and the birth parents' legal fees
- Court costs
- Home study costs
- Social services fees
However, adoption subsidies are often available at state and federal levels, even when you don't pay for adoption services. This is especially true when adopting a child with special needs and disabilities. The fees range from no cost to less than $3,000 for adoptive families who decide on a foster care adoption. They are also eligible for the federal Adoption Tax Credit. Check federal and state laws to confirm your eligibility for adoption assistance.
Adoption agencies also present obstacles. Some may put your application on the back burner while waiting to find a married couple who wants to adopt. Biological parents, especially birth mothers, may prefer placing their kids in two-parent families. Single men can also face harsh scrutiny when applying for adoption.
While many unmarried people have had success in international adoptions, other countries impose restrictions on adoptions by single parents. There are far more limitations compared to domestic adoption.
Single Parent Adoption: Important Factors To Consider
If you're deciding whether to adopt a child as a single person, experts recommend considering such factors as:
- Do you have a robust support system?
- Is your present job compatible with being a single parent?
- Are you a somewhat flexible person?
- Is your financial condition reasonably stable?
Of course, parenting responsibilities will land squarely on your shoulders, from picking up the child at a friend's house, to caring for the child when sick, to being their sole provider. Some prospective adoptive parents choose to become foster parents as a first step in deciding whether they're ready to adopt. Foster care adoptions are a good option.
When approaching agencies and other adoption professionals, it is vital to have confidence in yourself and not give up on the process. If you decide to be a single adoptive parent, know that an adoptee awaits you.
Getting Help With Your Single-Parent Adoption
The process of adopting as a single person may be a challenging one. It's important to have legal counsel by your side as you navigate through your adoption journey. It is best to consult a knowledgeable adoption attorney who can advise you about the various options available and guide you safely through the adoption process.
Was this helpful?
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.