Adopting As A Single Parent: What You Need To Know

As a single mother of two adopted children, I want other singles to know they can adopt too!

Shannon Hicks December 03, 2016
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I am a single mom by choice. Both of my children joined my family through foster care adoption, and although our life together is not perfect, I wouldn’t change it for the world! Are you considering adopting as a single parent? Here are a few things to consider:

Do Your Research

Some agencies may have restrictions on adopting as a single parent, and some countries also prohibit international adoptions based on marital status. But there are many agencies that are willing to work with prospective single parents and the U.S. government can’t discriminate against you. I’ve worked with my local department of social services for the past five years, and I’ve always felt validated and supported by them as a single parent.

Think About Your Job And Childcare

Chances are, if you are considering becoming a single parent by adoption, you will be working full-time. As you are preparing to meet your child, be sure to think about the logistics of this. One of the things that surprised me was the amount of time that I missed from work throughout the adoption process (not days when my kids were sick and I had to stay home, but days when I had to meet with social workers and other professionals or go to court—there were more of them than I expected).

Although my employer advertises itself as “family friendly,” I had two different supervisors during the time that I was adopting my children and one was much more supportive than the other one. Research your options for leave (I took FMLA leave when my daughter was placed with me as a preschooler and again when my son was placed with me as an infant) and childcare.

Keep in mind that if you are adopting through foster care, during the time before finalization, your child will have to be in a licensed daycare if they are not yet in school. Each situation is unique, but consider talking with your supervisor (or someone in your human resources department) and researching childcare options early in the process.

Assemble Your Village

“I don’t know how you do it all on your own.” If I had a dollar for every time someone said this, I would be rich. Here’s the secret: I don’t raise my children on my own. Not even close. I have a close immediate family and a large extended family. I have a supportive faith community along with fantastic coworkers and friends. And then there are the members of my village that I pay (and can’t imagine life without): an incredible daycare provider and an adoption competent therapist.

I know this is not everyone’s experience, but I have felt more loved and supported through my adoption journey than ever before in my life. If you are just starting this journey as a single parent, my advice is to assemble your village. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you along the way, and you will be just fine.

You Can Totally Do This

Single parents make up a small but growing percentage of adoptive parents in the United States (about one-third of foster adoptions are now finalized by single parents). It is a challenging journey, for sure, but one that offers many rewards as well. Are you considering adopting as a single parent? You can totally do this!

Have you adopted as a single parent? Are you in the process of adopting? What would you add to this list?

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Shannon Hicks

Shannon is mom to two amazing kids who joined her family through foster care adoption. She is passionate about advocating for children through her writing and her job as a kindergarten teacher. You can read more from her at Adoption, Grace and Life.


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