I am a single mom by choice. I am proof that adopting as a single person is possible. And I am not alone. A growing number of single adults are choosing to build their families through adoption. Are you considering adopting as a single parent? Here is my best advice for you:
Rally your village
As a single parent, there’s this idea that you are raising your children “on your own.” In my case (and many others), this is simply not true. I have the unwavering support of family and friends that I can call at all hours and rely on in an emergency. When I had to leave the country unexpectedly for a funeral, my village rallied with food, transportation, childcare, and emotional support so that I had no doubt my kids were in the best hands while I was away. If you are considering adoption as a single parent, take some time to purposely enlist family and friends who can provide support and act as role models for your kids.
Learn about your options
Investigate the different ways that you can adopt as a single person. International adoption rules vary by country and agency, but some do allow single parents to adopt. Domestic infant adoption is another possible route, and birth parents have different ideas of what type of family they think will be best for their child. Foster adoption is a third option. Private agencies may have rules prohibiting single people from adopting through their agency, but U.S. government agencies cannot discriminate based on marital status. Talk to some single adoptive parents. Read about your different options. Make a few calls and attend some informational meetings and then make an informed decision about the best way to grow your family.
Enlist the help of professionals
Adoption journeys often involve times of intense activity followed by seasons of waiting. It’s wise to use the waiting time to research and begin relationships with some of the professionals who can help your child when she comes home. As a single parent, you will likely need to continue employment after your child is home, so you may need to research quality daycare providers. Doctors, dentists, and adoption competent therapists may also be on this list. If you can make connections with some of these professionals early, it will decrease your stress when you are making the initial adjustment to being a parent.
Find a mentor or support group
Again, being a single parent does not mean that you need to raise your child alone. It’s important to connect with other parents who may experience similar parenting joys and challenges as you. Online support groups can be helpful, but there is no substitute for a real, actual group of parents (even if it’s just a few) who can meet to share, brainstorm, and connect. In addition to providing a listening ear (and a peer group for my kids where they don’t feel different), I’ve found the adoptive parents in my community to be extremely knowledgeable about community resources and ways to go about advocating for my kids. Ask your agency, therapist, faith leader, or a fellow adoptive parent for recommendations and see if you can connect with a group in your area.
Is adopting a single parent easy? No. Is it possible? Absolutely! Is it worth it? I take one look at my kids and have no doubt.
Considering adoption? Let us help you on your journey to creating your forever family. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.