Are you a single parent thinking of child adoption? Think carefully. Single parent adoptions in the sixties and seventies had virtually no chance of success, compared to today when thousands of children are living with single parents as adoptive parents. There is still frowning upon it in some quarters and there are still detractors who say that children should only be adopted in a home where there are two parents. Still, it is happening.
There is no guarantee that a married couple will stay together after they adopt, and there is no guarantee either that a single parent will remain single forever – so who can predict? Different states have different laws, and the single parent adoption process can be mind boggling and frustrating as adoption agencies and evaluators check your history and background and you battle with regulation.
Reasons for single parent adoptions
- They have tried for years to have a child, but have been unable to have them despite all kinds of medical tests and treatments, and would like a child to parent and love.
- Some women have put their careers first, and relationships on hold. Upon achieving success in their personal lives, they find themselves without a partner, either by choice or circumstance. They do not necessarily want to get married, but would like the experience of being a mother to a child who has no one. They have a good home, and can give a child love, a good education, and a place to call home.
- There are single men too who have strong nurturing instincts and would like to experience a full life with children. He may not ever marry, but he would like to give a child a chance and save a life. It is harder for a single father to adopt as there are concerns about motivation and criminal intent.
The process of single parent adoptions
- Hire an open adoption consultant with experience and legal knowledge of single parent adoption laws, and who also knows the foster care licensing process of the different adoption agencies.
- Decide whether you want to adopt a child domestically, or outside of the U.S. For adoptions outside the U.S. you have to deal with international law, which can take a long time and turn out to be very expensive as you have to make visits to the country from which you want to adopt.
- State the age of the child you want to adopt, and whether you are interested in a child with special needs.
- Try to determine what is in the Home Study you will have to complete. The Home Study is necessary for evaluators to have a complete history of your background and environment.
- Keep your house clean in case of a surprise visit by the evaluator who has come to check out your house and whether it is suitable for a child. He will check to see if there is a room for the child, and a bed. He might even take a walk around the neighborhood.
Are You the Right Person to Adopt?
Caring for a child, especially one that hasn’t been born to you, is a selfless and generous act, but don’t under-estimate the energy, time and love it will take to successfully parent a child. If you have not had the child since birth where you have gradually bonded over the years, you might have a child who has been traumatized from going from foster home to foster home waiting for someone to choose him. Such a child may not have been loved and may have given up on human beings. Are you up for the responsibility? Are you able to care for a child that has problems? The rewards will be many if you succeed, but if you fail, the damage to the child’s psyche will be compounded. This must be carefully considered. A child who is sent back can have terrible setbacks. It will add to his low self-esteem and that no one wants him. The adoption process is not easy. There are still single parent adoption experts who believe that a child should be part of a traditional family structure and that single parent adoptions should not be allowed.
The Home Study
A Home Study is very much like a detective dossier where all your details of family, personal relationships, bank accounts, background, workplace, and environment are collected and recorded. It is required in all domestic and international single parent adoptions. A Home Study is done to assess your suitability as a prospective adopting parent. Many adopting families look upon the Home Study as a screening device and dread the process. Questions are personal and designed to elicit feelings about your desire to adopt and whether or not your home is a safe environment for a child. After the evaluator has collected your records and clearances, he will meet with you at least three times. At the end of the process you will be provided with a copy of the Home Study and its findings and recommendations.
Tips For Successful Single Parent Adoptions
- Start the Home Study process immediately. Try to determine some of the questions listed in the Home Study beforehand from a single parent who has gone through the process and succeeded, or download it from the internet.
- Have the permission of one or two friends or family members to give to the evaluator in case he needs answers from the support group. It will also show you are well prepared.
- Have the phone numbers of your support group on your mobile telephone so you can contact them from wherever you are.
- Choose the right adoption agency or Adoption Consultant. Remember that different agencies have different rules, and that there are some who still don’t believe that a single parent should adopt. You don’t want to deal with these agencies. There are several adoption agencies to choose from. Make contact and find out about them. Single parents have much to offer children. Studies show that children raised by single parents do as well as children who are raised by a married couple. The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services state that 33% of children adoptions from foster care are by single parent adoptions.