Single Parent Adoptions: Why Not?
According to the National Council for Adoption (NCFA), as of 1997 there were half a million children in substitute care. About 22 percent of those, over 100,000 children, will be in need of a permanent home with a family. Adoption offers a wonderful opportunity for a child in need of a family. This is the focus of the adoption philosophy.
For parentless children, adoption provides the nurturing, love, and security that all children deserve. More than just providing a loving and safe environment like fostering children, adoption is a lifetime commitment to the health and welfare of another human being. In order to best secure families that will provide the best environment for a child, adoption agencies have established a set of qualifications for adoptive parents. The criteria are based on various aspects of the prospective adopting parents: age, fertility status, previous children, financial status, employment, religion, background, and marital status. All of these are important issues to consider when placing a child in a new family, however, marital status seems to be the primary focus of some debate. Concerns over single parent adoptions should be laid to rest by the many benefits singles have to offer children in need of a home.
Single parents adopt for many of the same reasons as married couples. Single parents have the urge to nurture and raise a child. They seek to have a family unit and share their life with another, just as married couples do. According to an article from the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, "Because many women have pursued careers and put off marriage and having children until they are older, they find that they have reached their thirties, without a husband, but with a compelling desire for a child" . The number one reason single parents want to adopt is the fact that their own childhood was fulfilling and happy and they are ready to share that experience . Single parents approach adoption with the same commitment and devotion as a married couple.
One argument against single parent adoptions is that it deprives children of a traditional two-parent family. Missing a father or a mother would result in emotional and physical problems for the children. One example is a study recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology was performed by Vanderbilt University claiming to show that daughters without fathers experience puberty earlier than girls with close, supportive relationships with two parents . Supporters of single parent adoption believe that an unstable or broken home can cause more damage to a child than the lack of an additional parent.
With the high divorce rate in this country, single parent adoption provides a much more solid environment: a home free from the issues of an unstable, broken home and its effects on the child. Single parents are usually of higher education and have higher incomes in comparison to the country's average. They have concentrated on their careers and have established a stable home that would benefit a child. Divorced parents are dealing with emotional and financial stress, which can negatively affect a child. A New York Times
article reports that out of one-fifth of the nation's 51.1 million Caucasian children, over half of the 9.8 million African-American children, and almost one-third of the 7 million Hispanic children live with one parent due to divorce and unwed mothers . With these types of statistics, there is no reason to discriminate against a single person for adopting a child when she/he is quite capable of providing a stable and nurturing environment.
"The adoption picture has... changed" and there is a great shortage of adoptive parents for older children and those with disabilities . Single parents can help to fill this shortage. The majority of couples looking to adopt want a healthy Caucasian baby. However, "the number of healthy Caucasian infants available for adoption has decreased dramatically due to birth control, legalized abortion, and the decision of unwed mothers to keep their babies" . Many single adults may have a career that allows time for an older child and choose not to have the physical demands of caring for an infant. Raising a child from infancy may not appeal to a career oriented person, but a school-aged child or teenager may be more appealing. A single parent may also have an expertise or a passion that would benefit a child with disabilities. A single parent does not have a spouse to split their time with and can devote their sole attention to a disabled child. In addition, many single parents choosing to adopt are financially stable and can deal with the added costs of disabilities. It is a shame to watch older, disabled, or children of other ethnicities left behind when they could have the secure environment and sole-love of a single parent.
A single parent can provide a loving and nurturing home for a child. Adoptive singles use family and friends for extended support. As our former first lady, Hillary Clinton, said, "It takes a village to raise a child." They give the child their sole attention and all of their love. Financially, they have planned for the future and the majority of single adoptive parents are settled in their careers. With a large percentage of the population's children living in a broken home, single parents can provide the emotional, financial and physical support without the damage of divorce. If a single parent has met all other qualifications other than marriage, then there is not a valid reason to deny adoption and many reasons to approve.
The marital issue in regards to adoption will continue to be debated. One must consider that there is such a vast difference in lifestyles between now and just fifty years ago. There is a struggle to maintain morals and ways of the past yet make way for a new era and modern way of thinking. Adoption is a wonderful opportunity for a child to have the family she/he so desperately needs. One must keep in mind the main goal is to place a child by considering what is in the child's best interest and to place other assumptions aside. Works Cited
Curto, Josephine J. "How to Become a Single Parent: a Guide For Single People Considering Adoption." Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1983.
Fox, Beth. "Father-Daughter Relationship Crucial To when Girls Enter Puberty, Researchers Say."
Vanderbilt University News. Online. 24 October 2001.
National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. "Single Parent Adoption: What You Need To Know."
CWI 1994: 1-5.
"Rise in Single-Parent Families Found Continuing," The New York Times
, National Edition (July 15, 1991): 17.