How to Know If Adoption Is Right For You As a Single Parent

by Veronica Baxter

Single parent adoption

You’ve always wanted children, yet you haven’t found your soulmate or anyone you would want to have children with. Or, you have no interest in partnering but want to become a parent.

There is good news for people in your position. Adoption by single parents is legal in all 50 states and has become accepted practice. How do you know if adoption is right for you? This article will set forth the questions you should answer to find out. This information is from the office of Lee Schwartz, Esq., a noted child custody lawyer in Philadelphia.

Why Would a Single Woman or Man Want to Adopt?

To form or expand their family! To know the joy and challenges of becoming a parent! Being a parent is wholly unrelated to being a partner or a spouse.

A single person wanting to adopt may be uninterested in dating or getting married, or she can’t conceive or carry a child on her own, or she does not want to conceive or carry a child. Perhaps this potential parent is a single gay man or woman. Perhaps this single person does not want to wait for Ms. or Mr. Right to come along in order to have children. For these and any other reason at all, a single person can choose to adopt a child on their own.

Many countries allow single Americans to adopt, however, be advised that some countries have gender restrictions, such as not allowing single men to adopt girls.

Adoption Hurdles for the Single Parent

While single parents have the same right to adopt as a couple does, there are certain hurdles single parents face that a couple does not. One is, does the single parent have enough income to support a child? And another is, can the single parent provide a stable, nurturing environment for a child, considering that he or she must work?

Couples must answer the same questions but have each other for support. Without a partner, a single parent must consider what resources are available to them to help them raise a healthy, happy child.

Questions to Ask Yourself as a Single Parent Considering Adoption

Assuming that you have already decided it is acceptable to raise a child who is not genetically linked to you, here are some practical questions to answer before starting the adoption process.

Am I willing to meet the adoption agency’s requirements?

In order to adopt through an agency, you must complete a process that the agency requires to satisfy itself that you will be a good parent. This process can involve background checks, contacting references that you provide, and a home inspection. You probably will have to attend parenting classes and create a “home study” detailing what daily life would be like for a child who comes to live with you.

If working with an agency, you will have to create a profile book of yourself for the agency so that birth parents can read it, get to know you, and perhaps choose you as the parent of their child.

If you are unwilling to have just about every aspect of your life inspected and judged, adopting may not be for you.

Do I have the financial resources to adopt and then raise a child?

International adoptions and private domestic adoptions can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. Adoptions from foster care typically cost much less, around $6,000 to $8,000.

In addition to these fees, you have the costs of actually raising the child. Food, shelter, clothing, medical expenses, education, entertainment all must be paid for by you. And what about the cost of childcare?

Be sure to perform your expense calculations carefully and comprehensively.

Can I provide a safe, healthy, nurturing home environment for a child?

This is much more than a yes-or-no question and requires you to take a hard look at your current lifestyle and living situation to determine whether there is room for a child and whether a child will thrive in your care.

Consider the following:

  • Is your living situation safe for a child?
  • Do you have the time to parent a child actively?
  • Do you live in a high-quality school district?
  • Are there local opportunities for the child to participate in the arts and in sports?
  • Does your job require frequent travel or overtime?
  • Do you have the option of working from home some of the time?
  • Who is available to help you if you need help?

How will I deal with childcare?

This can be the most challenging aspect of single-parent adoption to resolve, assuming you work full-time.

While there are commercial child care facilities available, no one wants a young child in that environment eight hours a day or more. Do you have friends or family members who could care for your child at least part of that time?

If the child is school-age, you need to find someone or somewhere they can be supervised and hopefully enriched until you get home from work. Many school districts offer children of working parents a program that extends the school day both before and after school at a nominal cost.

Ideally, you will have friends or family, perhaps with children around the same age as yours, who you can team up with to form a network of parents taking turns caring for all of the children. As your child grows, that support network will likely expand to include the parents and families of your child’s friends. This is the best of all worlds in that your child gets to spend time with their friends, and you get to know other parents as a resource and as friends.

Once you’ve answered these hard questions, you will know if adoption is right for you as a single person. Good luck!