More and more frequently, single women (and men) are deciding to become parents. Adopting as a single person has become more accepted, and is becoming more mainstream than it was even 10 years ago. Approximately 25 percent of the adoptions of children with special needs are by single men and women, and it is estimated that about 5 percent of all other adoptions are by single people. The latest research indicates that children raised in single adoptive parent families compare favorably with other adopted children and show a healthy involvement with friends and family as well as in the activities of their age group.
But, as with all adoptions, big questions come in to place. How do I adopt as a single mom? What if I already have biological children? Are there any angencies that will work with me? This article series is meant to answer these questions and to become a resource for single moms wanting to adopt. If you have any suggestions or are aware of other resources, please leave a message in the comments.
Where do I begin when adopting?
The first thing to decide is what type of adoption you want to do--foster care adoption, domestic infant adoption, or international adoption. If you are open to an older child, foster care and international adoption may be a great place for you. The foster care system has thousands of kids that need homes--some have unique circumstances that you will have to consider though, such as sibling groups (that will have to be adopted together), special medical needs, or special emotional needs stemming from abuse. Although there are young children in the foster care system, they may not be legally free to adopt (their birth parents' parental rights terminated) yet. Keep in mind that the goal of foster care is to provide a safe and healthy environment for kids until they are able to be reunited with their biological parents.
In international adoption, waiting lists are dependent on which country you would like to adopt from. According to Children Of All Nations, "single women are eligible to adopt from Bulgaria, China, the DRC, Haiti, Honduras, Latvia, Moldova, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, and Uganda programs." Children may be between 1-17 years old, may be part of a sibling group, or may have some special needs. Wait time varies on the country selected. A home study will be required, which the international agency can help you with.
If you decide on domestic adoption, you would be waiting for an infant born in the United States. The child may be of any race, although most agencies allow you to set preferences on the race you would like. There are also some agencies that allow you to select the sex of the baby, although this may delay your match time. You may work though an agency, a consulting or facilitation group, or an attorney. All domestic adoptions require a home study to be done as well, which can range in price from $500 - $3000. If you work through an attorney, they may or may not be actively seeking birth mothers. If they are not, then you can use sites like Adoptimist to help market yourself (prices range from $0 - $150 a month depending on what services you would like). If you are marketing for yourself, be sure to watch out for scams, which we will discuss in later articles.
Which adoption agencies will work with single moms?
Some agencies have strict guidelines on who they will accept as clients. Some require you to be married for several years and have documented infertility, others restrict by age. In your search for an agency, do not be discouraged by these agencies. There are agencies out there that will work with single moms, and have been successful in placing infants with single moms. Here is a list of a few of the agencies or consultants that will work with single moms:
- Independent Adoption Center : their fees work on a sliding scale based on your income. This may make the adoption more affordable for you. The fees to IAC will range between $11,000 and $25,500. They will work with anybody wanting to adopt, regardless of age, sex, marital status, or sexual orientation. All of their adoptions are open adoptions, which mean that you will know the birth family and they will know you, at least to some extent. There is a level of contact that is expected after birth. They do not allow gender specific selections.
- Angel Adoption : their fees are dependent on the program you would like to be in, which is mainly broken down by the race of the adopted child. You can submit a free application online, and if selected will receive a phone consultation. They only work with a limited number of families at a time, which helps keep their average match time to around 10 months. They have a 95-98% effective rate, including single women. They do allow gender specific selections, but your match time will increase to an average of 18-22 months.
- Adopt Help : you can request an information packet online, which would presumably cover their fees and services offered. AdoptHelp will allow you to be gender specific.
Where can I post my parent profile?
How can I finance my adoption?
Are there any support groups for single parents that have adopted?
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