Adopting as a single parent wasn’t always widely accepted. Years ago, adoption agencies in some states might have even turned you away. However, over the last 20 years there has been a steady rise in the number of single-parent adoptions. According to a 2014 report done by the Children’s Bureau, 29 percent of children adopted through a public adoption agency were placed into single parent households. Women made up twenty-three percent of single parents who adopted while men made up three percent.
Given the current home environments, one-parents household are more common than they used to be. This could be due to many different circumstances, such as divorce and single mothers raising children on their own. With so many children living in single-parent households, adoption agencies have become more open minded about considering single men and women to be prospective adoptive parents. Research has also shown that adopted children raised in a single parent household do just as well as children raised in a two-parent household.
Being a parent is not easy and when you’re doing it alone it can be even more challenging. If you are a single parent looking to adopt, don’t be discouraged. Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting your adoption journey.
As a single parent you will likely face some hurdles and even discouragement from family and friends who may be wondering why you would want to take on this responsibility alone. Try to be positive in situations like this and not let others bring you down when you are confident in your decision. Let them know that the desire to be a parent and grow your family is not a feeling exclusively felt by unmarried and married couples; single men and women share these same feelings too!
Build a Support System
Like any parent, you should always have a support system. There is a feeling of security knowing you have family or friends to lean on when you might need help or a break from parenting. As a single parent who will be working full time, you will need some help relieving yourself from your constant role as a parent. You should ask yourself who could help you pick up your child from school when you can’t, help you when your child is sick, and provide you with help at a moment’s notice. It takes a village as they say. If you’re ever in need of assistance when something unexpected comes up, it will be comforting to know that you have a support system in place. It will also put less pressure on yourself because you won’t be doing this alone.
Consider Your Job
As a single-parent, you want to make sure that your work schedule doesn’t get too overwhelming. For your current job and future career goals, make sure you are setting realistic expectations and balancing your work and family life. Ask yourself if your job is family friendly and willing to be flexible. It’s also good to consider the medical benefits they offer to see if they are sufficient enough to support you and your family.
Manage Your Finances
Raising a child is expensive and as a single-parent you need to be realistic about how you will financially manage supporting your family. According to a 2011 survey done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, single-parents with one child under 18 spend between $10,000 and $12,000 a year in child expenses.
Make sure you are thinking past the initial cost it will be to adopt a child and envision the cost you will be spending after the adoption is finalized. Ask yourself if you can live comfortably while still being able to afford child care, after school care, medical care, your child’s education, and/or extracurricular activities. As a single-parent you don’t have another person to fall back on in case of a job loss, which can cause stressful conditions. This is not to say you must be rich to raise a family, but you need to be practical.
Here is an organization that helps support single-parents who have adopted or are looking to adopt:
228 East 45th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10017
You should also reach out to your local adoption agency to find out what resources and support they offer for single parents.
Parenting is hard work but following these tips will help guide you through the challenges you may face along the way. Don’t be discouraged and remember that in the end it is all worth it to become a parent and experience one of life’s greatest joys!