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The number of single men adopting children is growing -- slowly

Iincreasingly, single people are choosing to become parents through adoption. They may not have found someone they want to marry or perhaps don't want to marry. However, they want to be a parent.

Being single is no longer a barrier to adoption for most agencies, as long as a person can demonstrate that he or she has the resources, desire and temperament to raise a child, including a strong support system.

Most single adoptive parents are women (26 percent in 2016). However, the percentage of single adoptive men (just 3 percent last year) is growing slightly. It had been at 2 percent in earlier years.

One official with the group AdoptUSKids says that adoption agencies, like society as a whole, have believed that children are safer with women than men and that they need a mother more than a father. Even men have often had that perception about themselves.

Another adoption professional says, "Men didn't perceive themselves as the right single parent and society didn't perceive them as the right single parent. That is definitely changing." He cautions, though, "It's not a boom of a change. It's an incremental one."

Approval by adoption professionals is essential before a child is placed in a home. However, potential adoptive parents also need to do some serious self-reflection. For single people, that self-reflection includes asking hard questions like:

  • Can I raise a child until he or she becomes an adult?
  • How will a child fit into my lifestyle?
  • Do I have the necessary financial resources?
  • Do I plan to get married or stay single?
  • How will I work and care for a child?
  • Does my employer support the needs of parents (particularly single ones)?
  • Do I have a support system of family and friends to help when needed?
  • Do I have what it takes to nurture a child who may have been through trauma or grown up in difficult circumstances?

This last question is crucial. Many children are adopted out of the foster care system. They may have bounced around the system for many years and understandably developed a lack of trust as well as behavioral issues.

If you're considering fostering or adopting a child, regardless of your gender or marital status, it's crucial to get sound legal guidance. This can help the process go more smoothly for yourself and the child you bring into your life.

Source: The New York Times, "Adoption and the Single Guy," Lisa Beach, Nov. 29, 2017

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