Can I Adopt if I’m Single?
Can you actually adopt a child without a partner? This question faces thousands of individuals each year, but they are unsure what the answer really is. They might dream of having a family one day but can’t find the perfect partner to start a family with. The pain of having to wait for a family that may never exist can be too much for some people, prompting them to consider starting a family on their own.
Single-parent households are steadily on the rise across the country, and many individuals are turning to adoption to help. Adopting a child gives you the start you need to build a loving and caring family, helping you to leave your legacy. An adoption agency is usually more than willing to approve a single parent for the adoption of a newborn or an older child. However, you may have more to think about if you want to adopt without the help of a partner.
Society still has some issues understanding single-parent households, particularly when it comes to adoption. Here are a few of the things you will need to think through before moving forward with your adoption.
Reactions of Friends and Family
Almost all adoptive parents face some initial hesitation or resistance from their friends and family when they broach the subject of adoption. It isn’t the traditional path for single individuals or couples to take if they want to start a family. As a result, you may have more than a few negative reactions and comments. Single individuals may face even more of this than couples who are pursuing a similar route.
One of the most pressing concerns that others typically have for single adoptive parents is why they would choose to do this. Outsiders view raising a baby as a lot of work and rightfully so. However, they are concerned that a single person won’t have the help to keep up with all of the new responsibilities. There are late-night feedings, full-time jobs, and doctor’s appointments that you will need to keep up with. Friends and family members usually express their hesitation out of real concern for you and your wellbeing.
Remember that their comments come from a place of love. Graciously acknowledge that it may be much harder than you anticipate but that you have already thought about it a great deal. If they have so many concerns, would they be willing to help out in any way once the child comes home? You may find that you are able to start building your support system this way.
Building a Support System
In a couple, you automatically have someone else who can pitch in when you become exhausted or frustrated. Single parents don’t have the same luxury of taking a break whenever things get a little rough. They have to stick it out or call someone else to come in for a brief respite while they get things together. The help and assistance of others are invaluable when it comes to taking care of your new baby. The question is, where do you find this help?
It starts with building a support system made of people who believe in your ability to parent a child. Make a list of the people who have been supportive of your plans to adopt and some of the specific ways they can help. Ask them in advance if you could count on them to help with a few of those things once your child comes home. This gives friends and family members a tangible way to help. You will likely find that many of them want to pitch in but aren’t sure what to offer.
Is your current list of supportive friends and family members very short? You may need to branch out to meet a few new people. Try attending a support group for single parents or a group hosted by your adoption agency. These can be great places to meet like-minded single parents that could help you form a supportive community. Look for local adoption events that you can attend to meet new people and friends that might be able to join your support system.
Find the Right Adoption Route
When you’re single, you have to really evaluate what you are capable of handling. Can you manage a newborn or would your lifestyle be better suited to an older child? Answering questions like these can help you to make better decisions regarding which adoption route you want to take.
Not all adoption agencies will allow for single individuals to adopt a child. You need to do a lot of research on which ones can work with your single status. Ask about their experience working with single families. If it is a small agency, you might even want to ask how many adoptions they have facilitated for a single parent. This should give you a better idea of how well they are going to work with you.
It’s more than just your marital status that could be a problem though. You need an adoption agency that offers you the preferred age of the child and the right level of need for each child. For example, you might want a newborn that is not medically fragile instead of a six-year-old with autism. Your agency should be able to take your preferences into consideration when making a placement.
If you choose to adopt independently, you will need to figure out how to present yourself to birth mothers. Opting to pursue foster care instead of adoption will mean setting aside time for extra appointments. No matter what adoption route you choose, there will always be something that you need to consider.
Adopting as a single individual is definitely a possibility, but you have a lot of things that you will need to consider first. Work on breaking the news to your close friends and family while building up your support network. Then, you can dive right into finding the perfect adoption route for your preferences and abilities. You can definitely adopt a child as a single individual, and it is bound to be beautiful.