Single Parent Adoption


According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, in 2013 there were just over 50,000 adoptions from the foster care system. 30% of those children were adopted by single people (27% women and 3% men). For private domestic adoption, 38% were adopted by single people, and for international adoption, 18% of the children were adopted by single parents.

It is important to choose a path to adoption that will be open to a single parent adoption. In most states, any single adult is eligible to adopt. For international adoption, it depends on the country and the laws change frequently.

Here’s a look at how the different types of adoption are open to single people.

  • Domestic & Foster Adoptions:
    • Requirements set by state law
    • Most states allow single parent adoption
    • It may take longer to be selected by birth parents in domestic infant adoption
    • Some agencies can have requirements that limit single parents
  • International Adoptions:
    • Each foreign country has its own requirements for adopting parents
    • In the U.S., if unmarried you must be at least 25 years old to adopt internationally
    • Some countries only allow single women to adopt, and have certain age and income requirements
    • There are many countries (eg. South Korea) that do not allow single parent adoption

As with anyone wishing to adopt, single people will need to complete an adoption homestudy with a licensed provider, usually an adoption agency or social worker.

In private domestic adoption, birthmothers are most often involved in the selection of adoptive parents for their children. While some birthmoms prefer a two parent family, many choose single people over eligible couples. Contact an adoption attorney to get more information about how to complete a private domestic adoption as a single person.

If choosing to work with an adoption agency, one of the first things to learn will be its policy and preferences regarding single parent adoption. Most agencies will accept single people, however it is important to ask lots of questions so you feel comfortable working with them.

While at times it may feel overwhelming trying to adopt as a single person, it should be helpful to know that thousands of single people successfully adopt children every year. Even though adoption requires hard work and determination, the joy of bringing a child into your life makes it all worthwhile.

Additional information about single parent adoption can be found at: