A Guide to Adoption as a Single Parent

FT Contributor  | 

If you’re single and interested in adopting a child, you may have felt deterred from the process by the fact that two-parent families are usually more accepted by society. You may assume that the adoption process will be harder for you as a potential single parent because adoption agencies may not think you have the time, money, or stability to care for a child.

However, single-parent adoption is more common than you might think and adoption agencies are open to adopting children to one-parent households. In fact, according to the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, in 2017, over one-third of adoptive children were successfully adopted into single-parent families.

You may be wondering about the requirements to adopt a child and how you can navigate the adoption process as a single parent. This guide will provide you with information on potential qualifications you’ll need to meet to adopt a child, as well as the costs you may be responsible for. With this guide, you can find out more about reputable adoption agencies and resources that can help you successfully complete the adoption process and bring your child home.

Considerations When Adopting

If you’re still deciding whether adoption is right for you, there are several factors you should consider. It’s important to understand how a new child will affect your life before you begin the process.

Budgeting to Raise a Child

As a single parent, there are extra considerations to think about when deciding whether you have the financial means to raise a child. In addition to analyzing your budget, you’ll also need to think about the time and obligations a child will require. Much of your free time will be dedicated to ensuring your child is entertained, educated, loved, healthy, and happy.

Without much free time, your social life can also be changed completely, jeopardizing your relationships with friends. Make sure you’re prepared for these financial and social changes and sacrifices, as well as the time commitments a child requires before you begin the adoption process.

The Adoption Home Study Process

One of the requirements to adopt a child is to successfully complete a home study. The specific factors that are considered during a home study may vary by state, but every state in the U.S. requires that an acceptable home study be completed before an adoption is approved. For example, in some states, you’re required to have at least two bedrooms in your home, one for you and one for your child.

During a home study, a social worker will visit your home to determine if the environment is acceptable for raising a child. As a single parent, it’s important to ensure your home is calm, organized, safe, and controlled for a child. If your home doesn’t pass the home study and isn’t deemed appropriate for raising a child, you may need to move to a different home that includes the features required by the adoption agency. Once you’ve improved your environment, you can begin the adoption process again.

Maximizing Your Chances of Becoming an Adoptive Parent

The adoption process can be long and arduous, whether you’re a single parent or not. It can take months for an adoption agency to approve your application and even longer before a child is available. To avoid the disappointment of your application being rejected and to ensure the process runs smoothly and efficiently, follow these helpful tips.

Demonstrate Your Money Management Skills

While single-parent adoption agencies don’t expect you to be wealthy to adopt a child, each agency has its own set of financial requirements you must meet. Most of these requirements aren’t related to the amount of income you earn but how you manage your money.

You’ll need to prove you have money management skills so the adoption agency feels confident in your ability to take on the additional costs that come with a child. If you’re already struggling financially to take care of yourself, the agency may not feel confident that you’ll have the money for massive changes in your budget that a child can cause, such as expensive childcare costs.

You should begin to save for adoption fees as soon as possible to ensure the process moves quickly. If you adopt from foster care, the fees are low or they may even be waived completely. However, private adoption agencies can charge fees for each step in the process. If you adopt internationally, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sets specific international adoption requirements, which can include citizenship fees and extensive travel expenses.

Be Open to a Diverse Range of Children

The adoption process can also be completed more quickly if you can be easily matched with a child who needs a family. You’ll have more options if you’re open to children who are different ages, races, and genders. If you also remain open to children with mental illnesses or special needs, you may be matched with a child more quickly than if you’re focused on specific characteristics.

Demonstrate Your Enthusiasm for Parenting

In addition to seeking out single-parent adoption agencies, you can also find adoption opportunities on social media or through friends and family members. Be open and forthright about your enthusiasm for the adoption process and you may be connected to someone who can help you find a child ready for adoption.

If you share your story and your desire to adopt a child on your social media accounts or through a heartfelt blog entry that’s shared online, there may be more people willing to help you find a child who’s currently in foster care and needs a family. While this strategy may help you connect to a child faster, it’s important to be safe when sharing your information online. Do your research before connecting with certain people about adoption opportunities. Don’t share your personal identification or payment information online and use the proper privacy settings on your social media posts to ensure only those you know will see them.

Adoption Agencies for Single Parents

There are many adoption agencies that specialize in single-parent adoptions and are open to adopting children to one-parent families. If you’re attempting a single-parent adoption, one of the following agencies may be able to help you with the process:

  • Children’s Connections: This agency provides upfront information on adoption fees so you can easily budget for the process. Adoption specialists assist singles with the domestic adoption program.
  • Help Us Adopt: If you’re having trouble paying for expensive adoption fees, this agency may be able to assist you with a grant if you qualify. Financial assistance for adoption fees is provided to qualified indivduals, regardless of sex, religion, or family dynamic.
  • Lifelong Adoptions: As an agency that specializes in single-parent adoptions, Lifelong Adoptions assists with the process and parenting support. They offer a free application process and detailed information on the home study and financial obligations.
  • Independent Adoption Center: This agency specializes in open adoptions, so you must be open to allowing the birth parents to remain in your child’s life. Most adoptions through this agency are infant domestic adoptions.
  • Adoptions Together: You can obtain more information about adopting as a single parent through the Adoptions Together agency. Webinars and adoption stories are available to learn more about the process and about being a single parent.

Resources for Single Parents Looking to Adopt

There are many resources that can help you learn more about the adoption process, requirements to adopt a child, and financial assistance opportunities that may be available.

A Family for Every Child – Financial Aid

This agency offers a collection of financial aid resources for the adoption process. You can choose to apply for these grants and for financial assistance to help with fees you may encounter throughout the adoption and when paying for childcare.

Center for Adoptive Support and Education – Free Resources and Links

Through this center, you can find resources to help you in your journey, whether you’re trying to decide if adoption is right for you, you’re currently in the adoption process, or you’ve already adopted a child. Webinars, articles, fact sheets, and more free resources are available through this organization.

Child Welfare Information Gateway – Adoption Assistance by State

As a government agency, the Child Welfare Information Gateway provides information on adopting and keeping your child happy and healthy. You can find important resources on adoption assistance in your state through this agency.

National Council for Adoption – Resources

You can obtain important information about single-parent adoption through the National Council for Adoption. Learn about adoption regulations in your state or join an online community to ask questions and seek advice about adoption.


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This post was updated November 6, 2019. It was originally published November 6, 2019.