While most people love kids, some of us are born parents. We just know it in our bones; we were meant to dote on and care for a child. Some of us also prefer living single, or haven’t met “the one” just yet but would still like to be a parent.
Am I Ready To Be A Parent On My Own?
But now you want to join your desire to be a parent with your single lifestyle. Great! It’s true that adopting as a single parent can be more difficult than doing so as part of a couple, but it’s definitely not impossible.
Many people love being single parents; when it’s just you and your child, you can feel like more of a “team,” making (some) decisions together. At the same time, it means all the responsibilities are your own. This can be great and not-so-great, all at once. It means you have more duties to take care of, but you are also the only decision maker and so what you say, goes.
As you begin your journey toward a decision about parenting, here are some questions to ask yourself.
Do I Have A Good Support System?
Parenting can be hard; there will certainly be challenges along the way. Having a strong support system in place is crucial to overcoming the emotional demands of being a parent.
Most people lean on their spouses for much of this support. For people who want to be single parents, a support system can be made up of friends, family members, people in your faith community, co-workers – anywhere, just make sure they’re there and won’t be going anywhere.
Am I Financially Stable?
Raising a child is expensive. In 2013, it cost a middle-income couple a little more than $245,000 to parent their child to the age of 18. And that number, estimated by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), doesn’t include college.
The USDA has a calculator you can use to estimate the cost of raising a child. It even takes into account whether you’re planning to parent with someone else or on your own. Click here to try it out.
Think just as much about your expenses as your income. Will a mortgage, car insurance and student loans cut into your earnings significantly, and leave you with little to support a child? Some people with lower incomes, and even lower expenses, save more than enough to adequately care for their children.
Adopting is a full-time job in its own right, and child care is one of the major expenses cited in the USDA’s estimate. It’s good to have a measure of “flexibility” in your work situation.
Can I Adopt As A Single Male?
Adopting as a prospective single parent can be harder for men; in fact, some adoption agencies only allow single women to adopt and not single men. The stigma that says a “nuclear” family is best, and can only be comprised of two parents and their children, is widespread. Equally pervasive is the misconception that only women can handle the emotional and practical demands of raising a healthy, happy child.
At many agencies (including Adoptions From The Heart), expecting parents considering adoption review and select adoptive parents for their children. Some mothers may feel less comfortable allowing a single man to adopt their child than a single woman or couple. But don’t let that discourage you! Other mothers considering adoption opt for single parents over couples, and there’s evidence that children who are adopted and raised by single parents experience outcomes just as good (if not better) than children raised by couples.
Adoptions From The Heart doesn’t discriminate in any way, and that certainly applies to the gender of our prospective adoptive parents. We’ve served as pioneers in supporting the right of all qualified individuals to build the beautiful family they deserve, and welcome members of the LGBT community with open arms.
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Finding statistics on adoption that are both accurate and detailed is hard. According to the US Children’s Bureau:
- nationwide, around 25% of all children live in single-parent households; one out of every two children will be raised at some point in single-parent homes.
- Almost one-third of all adoptions from foster care were completed by single parents in 2011, including 1,400 single fathers and 13,000 single mothers.
Little recent research has looked at the share of private adoptions completed by single parents. Older studies, however, tell a story of growing acceptance:
- in the 1970s, an estimated 0.5% to 4% of adoptions were completed by single parents
- by the 1980s, that proportion had increased to between 8% and 34%