Years ago, it was unheard of for a single parent to adopt a child. Thankfully, times have changed, and many children find loving homes with a single adoptive parent. At Adoption Choices of Colorado, we don’t discriminate based on marital status because we know (as studies like this one have shown) that children with a single parent do just as well in life as children with two parents.
As a single parent looking to adopt, you are probably curious about what to expect during the process. Here are five things you should know about single parent adoption.
1. It’s Pretty Much Like Two-Parent Adoption
A single parent is required to submit his or her medical history, a background check, and more, complete a home study, wait for child placement, and finalize the adoption – just like an adoptive couple must do. You will have to decide whether you want an open or semi-open adoption, and after you have accepted a match with a birth mother, the birth mother will then decide who she would like to be matched with.
When adopting a child, single parents are held to the same standards and must meet the same requirements as two-parent families.
2. It’s Important to Choose an Agency Carefully
Not all adoption agencies are created equal. Though we happily support adoptions to all families regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, income level, race, or age, not all agencies feel the same way. If an agency seems to discourage single parent adoption, that bias will likely be communicated to the birth parents and may impact your opportunity to be matched.
Make sure the agency provides ongoing support, including post-adoption support. Adoption can be a lengthy process, and you want your agency to be your teammate through it all. It’s important to feel comfortable with the staff, and to know you can get your questions answered.
3. Matching May Take a Little Longer
Sometimes, a birth mother wants her child to be raised in a two-parent family; perhaps she decided to place the baby for adoption in part because she could not provide that herself. For that reason, sometimes it can take a little longer to find a birth mother who is open to a single-parent family for the child, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes we work with birth mothers who are specifically looking for a single-parent family. We always encourage the biological family to make the best choice for the baby, and that includes the loving single parents who are waiting to adopt.
In general, matching takes about 12-18 months. If you are open to adopting a child with a family history of mental illness or exposure to drugs or alcohol, you may not have to wait as long. Though waiting can cause some anxiety and heightened emotions, keep in mind that your child is out there, and he or she will find you.
4. You Might Surprise Some People
There might be a few people in your life who don’t support your decision to become a single parent, and it can be difficult to receive negative feedback from the people you love. Remember, parenting is a beautiful challenge no matter who you are, but the rewards are rich. You’ve done your research; if you’re ready to become a parent, don’t let someone’s ill-informed opinion of what defines a family deter you. If you’re ready to be a parent, your marital status shouldn’t stop you.
5. It Takes a Village
Even two-parent families face challenges while balancing parenthood with work, hobbies, and relationships. Carefully consider these aspects in your own life, and share how you plan to tackle the challenges in your adoptive parent profile that will be seen by the birth parents. Birth parents are looking to see how you will fit the child into your life and want to know that you’ve considered the difficulties that come with being a parent.
For example, one parent can rely on the other to help with childcare, cooking, and other responsibilities in a two-parent household. As a single parent, how will you address childcare and work/life balance? Do you have a family-friendly employer? Do you have extended family and friends living nearby who can offer support? Are you able to provide excellent care and opportunities with your income alone? Knowing about these things will help a birth mother understand that you have the resources to care for the child and offer your son or daughter a loving home.
You don’t have to be concerned that your single status will prevent you from adopting a child. Every year, we help match children with a wide variety of adoptive families. If you’re ready to be a parent, Adoption Choices of Colorado can help you make it happen.