What are single parent adoption agencies?
There are no laws in the United States that prevent single parents from adopting. That said, some adoption professionals do have marriage requirements for the hopeful adoptive parents they work with. Single parent adoption agencies, then, are agencies that have no such marriage requirements and that work with both single men and women to help them adopt children.
What types of adoption can single parent adoption agencies complete?
Agencies that help to complete single parent adoption may specialize in different types of adoption. These include:
- Private Domestic Adoption: Domestic adoption is the adoption of an infant born in the United States. Some hopeful single adoptive parents worry that they’ll have difficulty matching with a birth mother—and it is true that some birth parents are looking for a couple to parent their child. Some, however, are either specifically looking for single moms and dads or are willing to consider the idea. Being single doesn’t disqualify you from private domestic adoption.
- International Adoption: Adopting as a single woman or man is possible in some countries, while others restrict international adoption to couples only. For more information about which countries single parents can legally adopt from, visit the Department of State’s Intercountry Adoption.
- Adoption from Foster Care: According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, nearly one-third of children adopted from foster care in 2011 were adopted by single parents. Not only is adoption from foster care generally the least costly form of adoption, but many children in the foster care system have special needs and benefit from forming a strong bond with one parent.
What services do single parent adoption agencies offer?
Single parent adoption agencies should offer the same services as those who work exclusively with couples. This will vary depending on the type of adoption you pursue but could include:
- Matching services—Your agency should help to match you with a prospective birth mother, provided that you aren’t pursuing an identified adoption where you have already found one.
- Legal services – Your adoption professional should provide you with an experienced attorney who has worked with other single parents to take care of the legal aspects of an adoption.
- Counseling and education –Any adoption agency you choose should not only work to educate you and make sure you’re doing okay at every phase of the adoption process, but they should be working with birth moms as well. This may be an extremely confusing, painful time in their lives, and it’s important that they understand and feel confident in their adoption decision.
- Financial protection – Make sure the agency you choose has some sort of financial protection system in place in the event that you experience an adoption disruption. Ask any agency you consider exactly what they do with your money should a pregnant woman you match with change her mind.
As a hopeful single adoptive parent, you’ll need the same services as a couple hoping to adopt. Be sure that any agency you choose to work with is ready and prepared to help you address any additional obstacles that may come with being a single adoptive parent.
What potential obstacles are specific to single parent adoption?
Being single shouldn’t disqualify you from parenthood. You’re the only one who knows whether or not this is a journey you’re ready to embark on. Some things to consider, though, that might be more difficult to balance in single-parent homes are:
- Finances: With only one breadwinner in the home, it can be tougher to make ends meet — especially in the event of unexpected financial challenges. It’s important to have a plan ready in case unexpected costs pop up. You may also want to set aside time off from work after your child comes home with you.
- Relationships: Dating and relationships may change once you make an adoption decision. Potential birth mothers are looking for stable families for their child, so it may make her feel more comfortable if she can clearly picture exactly what her child’s life will be like with you. You may also want to take some time off from dating while you and your child form an initial bond.
- Managing Time: Naturally, schedules change drastically when one becomes a parent. As a single parent, you’ll be working, making sure your child has everything they need, taking time to bond and making sure your own needs are met as well. It’s crucial that you have a support system in place for the days when you inevitably need a little help.
What are the costs of single parent adoption?
Adopting as a single woman or man costs the same as it would to adopt as a couple. For private domestic adoption, this can be anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. (Read why here.) Adopting from foster care, on the other hand, may cost virtually nothing. At most, adoption from foster care could cost $2,500.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that many people have two incomes to combine to complete the adoption process. As a single parent, you’ll be solely responsible for all adoption costs in addition to all of the expenses that come along with parenting after your child joins your family. In 2013, the estimated average cost for raising a child until the age of 18 was $245,340 — and that’s a number that’s only going to grow as time goes on. You may want to consider your source of income and future career path before making the adoption decision.