In the not-too-distant past, single parent adoption was virtually impossible. Now it has become common, with thousands of children being adopted by single men and women every year.
Single parent adoption is growing steadily. Approximately 25 percent of adoptions of children with special needs are by single parents. Of the remaining adoptions, about 5 percent are by singles. While the bulk of these adoptions are done by women, approximately 10 percent of the membership of one single parent adoptive support group is male. Adoption by a single parent is still more difficult than by a married couple, but it can be done.
Single men and women who wish to adopt may face discouragement from friends, family, and some agencies that feel a single parent adoption is not as desirable for a child as is one with two parents. But research shows that children adopted by single parents compare favorably with other adopted children. While no one will deny that parenting is easier with two active parents sharing the burden, the fact is that in some cases, placement with a single parent may be the best option for a child. Some researchers feel that single parent homes may be the best choice for children who need focused, close relationships, such as older children who have been in foster care. And single fathers can sometimes be the best choice for boys who need strong role models and guidance along with love and nurturing.
Not all adoption agencies will accept single applicants. International adoptions are governed by the laws of the child's country, and many will accept only married applicants or place strict restrictions on the number of single parents who can adopt. Domestic adoptions can also be challenging. Some agencies may not work as work as hard to bring about a single parent adoption. Independent adoption, with no agency involved, may also be harder for singles as placing parents may be reluctant to choose a single parent.
The extra hurdles they must face means that those who hang in long enough to pursue a single parent adoption are likely to be determined, devoted parents who give their best to their children. They know how to find and accept support from friends, family, groups, and online support resources.