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The Adoption Option: Can Single People Adopt?

By Neetal Parekh | Last updated on

Smart, educated, working, independent, wants to have a family.  No it's not an introduction from an online dating website, it describes the profile of single women and men hoping to adopt these days.  Single would-be parents have been coming forward in force over the past decades, seeking to fulfill a part of their lives by bringing a child into the picture.  It is estimated that 5% of all adoptions are done by single people. 

But, are there restrictions? Can single people adopt? And, what should a single person keep in mind during the adoption process?


Where there used to be a stigma and even legal restrictions on single parent adoptions, there are now resources, support groups, and options for singles wanting to start a family.  In fact, no state prohibits an unmarried person from adopting, and many states actually spell out applicability of adoption laws to single persons.

Agencies, however, may be more restrictive.  While most do not prevent single parent adoptions, some do still restrict adoptions to married couples.  And others still others may accept applications from single parent adoption hopefuls but give preference to couples.  And the game of single parent adoption is often a little tougher for single men as compared to their female counterparts. 

Singles often opt for international adoptions, where there may be fewer hurdles based on marital status.  Additionally, some older singles may opt to raise older children, foster children, or children who have special needs.

Single Adoption Considerations

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton popularized the phrase "it takes a village" by canvassing it as the title of a book she authored as First Lady.  And single parents can take a cue from the sentiment by forming a strong support system of friends, family, and coworkers even before the child arrives.  Beyond adjusting to the full-time care of a minor child, a parent will also be the primary go-to person as the child goes through school, has questions about adoption, their biological parents, and the decision of their adoptive parent to raise a family on their own.

In sum, single people can adopt.  It is important to scout out agencies or private adoption scenarios that do not limit adoption based on marital status. 


Keep a lookout for more upcoming posts that breakdown the adoption process in the series, The Adoption Option. Don't miss a single Adoption Option post-- subscribe to the Law & Daily Life RSS feed to get daily posts delivered right to your feed reader. 


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