Are you considering single-parent adoption? Looking for some resources to help you along your journey? Wondering what options are open to you? Searching for tips and tricks to make your day-to-day life as a single parent more manageable? Needing inspiration along the adoption journey? You’ve come to the right place! Read on to learn about many aspects of single-parent adoption.
Beginning the journey toward single parent adoption
If you are thinking about adoption, know that as a single parent by choice, you do not need to raise your child “on your own.” As you consider embarking on this journey, take time to reflect on the folks in your life who can be part of your village who can provide practical and emotional support, and will act as positive role models for your child. Think about the professionals you can enlist to be a part of your team (doctors, therapists, childcare providers, spiritual directors). Consider the amount of flexibility you have with your job and what your childcare arrangements maybe once your child comes home. And then take that first step! Make a call. Send an e-mail. Attend an informational meeting. There are children across the country and around the world who are waiting for a home today. The journey of single-parent adoption is not an easy one, but it can be incredibly beautiful and fulfilling.
Exploring options for single parent adoption
One of the first decisions that you will need to make as a hopeful adoptive parent is what type of adoption best fits your situation. You may wish to pursue domestic infant adoption. In this case, birth parents typically choose adoptive parents for their children with the assistance of an adoption agency or lawyer. Another option is international adoption. Different countries have different requirements for hopeful adoptive families, but there are several countries where single parents can adopt. A third option is a foster adoption. Being a single foster parent is challenging, but single parent adoption through the foster care system is a definite possibility. If you’re not sure about which type of adoption is best for you, seek out information from several agencies and talk to adoptive parents about their experience with various types of adoption. Do your homework and make an informed choice.
Nuts and bolts of the single parent adoption process
Congratulations! You’ve decided to embark on your journey as a hopeful adoptive parent! What does the process look like from here? First, you will need to choose an adoption agency. Research and ask lots of questions during this process to find an agency that is a good fit for you as a prospective single parent. Next, you will need to complete the home study process. This will likely involve some combination of training, background checks, inspections of your home, interviews, and lots and lots of paperwork. After completing your home study, you will enter the waiting stage of the adoption journey. This stage may last hours or it may last years, and it is very difficult to predict the timeline no matter which type of adoption you are pursuing. I always encourage hopeful adoptive parents to use this time to nurture their current relationships (once your child is home, they will require an extraordinary amount of your time and attention). Another great use of this time is learning all that you can about adoption, early trauma, and attachment. Websites, podcasts, articles, support groups, and books can all be great resources to explore during this time. Eventually, you will experience the rush of adrenaline that comes with “the call,” and you will finally meet your child! In most cases, there is a period of time after you meet and before finalization (again, this may be hours or it may be years, depending on the particular situation). Then, the judge will bang a gavel, and your new family will be official! Though this is typically thought to be the “end” of the adoption process, the reality is that your adoption journey is truly just beginning at this point. Welcome to the adventure of single adoptive parenting!
Ways to afford single parent adoption
Adoption can be expensive. As a single parent, you will likely have less disposable income than a couple, so the financial aspect of adoption can’t be ignored. But there are several ways to make single-parent adoption financially manageable. First, consider foster adoption. Typically, adoptions finalized through the foster system involve fees that range from nonexistent to very minimal. If you are not pursuing foster adoption, there are still multiple options to help defray some of your adoption expenses. Grants, loans, personal savings, and fundraising are all potential options. If you think that single-parent adoption is the right choice for you, don’t let a lack of financial resources stand in your way!
Challenges of single-parent adoption
The adoption journey is not for the faint of heart. Becoming a single adoptive parent provides another layer of challenge (and opportunity). As a single parent, all of the responsibilities throughout the adoption process fall to you. You will be the one making appointments, completing paperwork, and attending the training. Once your child is home, there will be additional challenges. The big one for me was a loss of time to pursue personal interests (all the single parents out there are chuckling at this one). Before I brought my children home, I had time to work on hobbies, read extensively, and travel at will. Now, my choices are more limited just because time is a finite resource. I’ve also dealt with some pushback from a few folks who thought that bringing a child into a single-parent home “on purpose” was unwise for various moral and religious reasons. Logistically, being a single parent can be tough (especially if your job or supervisor is not particularly flexible) as you balance work, school, daycare, extracurriculars, appointments, house maintenance, and unexpected events like a sickness. I’ve found, though, that my family and friends are often willing to lend a hand if I have the courage to ask. You may also want to consider paying for a variety of conveniences (grocery delivery, house cleaning services) if you have the financial resources to do this. You may also need to adjust your expectations as a single adoptive parent. Your work will not always be top-notch. Your children will not always be perfectly behaved. Your dinners will not always be precisely balanced. Your house will not always be organized and clean. And that’s okay. As a single adoptive parent, it’s important to prioritize and learn to let lots of things just be “good enough.”
Advantages of single parent adoption
Being a single parent is hard; there is no way around that. But there are also advantages to adopting as a single person. First, the paperwork goes more quickly because you only need to complete items for one person (don’t underestimate the time that this will save you—did I mention that adoption involves a lot of paperwork?!). Also, many children who have experienced early trauma develop maladaptive social skills that involve pitting one parent against the other (called triangulating). The good news for single adoptive parents is that your situation effectively eliminates this option for your children at home. Single-parent homes are also preferred and sought for certain children who have had unhealthy relationships with caregivers in the past. As a single adoptive parent, you are in the unique position of being able to be a part of a child’s healing journey to family.
Resources and advice to help single adoptive parents
The most helpful resources for me as a single adoptive parent (by far!) have been other adoptive parents. If at all possible, network with these folks before your child comes home. Connect with them through your adoption agency or your faith community. Join support groups. Online is okay, but in-person is infinitely better. Your fellow adoptive parents can point you to community resources, help brainstorm practical solutions to parenting challenges, provide an understanding and empathetic ear, and serve as advocates and cheerleaders when you need them. Take time, too, to connect with other members of the adoption triad. Listen to the voices of birth mothers and adult adoptees. Most of all, take time to connect with your child, to allow his voice and perspective to impact your parenting. If you’re looking for more practical advice to help you as a single adoptive parent, check out this article and these tips.
Inspiration to start the journey to single parent adoption
Hopefully, you have gotten some good information about single-parent adoption. If you’re still not convinced that this is the right choice for you, please read my story of becoming a single mom by choice. It is not an easy road, but being a single adoptive parent has been one of the biggest joys of my life. I can’t guarantee you a happy ending, but I can arm you with resources and hope. Best wishes on your journey!
Are you ready to pursue adoption? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to connect with compassionate, nonjudgmental adoption specialists who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.