The last decades have brought a remarkable and never before seen increase in the number of families headed by single mothers. However, unlike the stereotypical images evoked by the general population of a single, poor, uneducated, and abandoned young woman or woman facing ostracized and single parenthood, a growing number of successful single and well-educated professional women from among 30 and 30 years. The 40s are coming to parenthood by choice and adoption.
Advocates note that the number of domestic and international adoptions has steadily increased over the past decade. However, compared to their married counterparts, citing the intercountry adoption process as shorter and the likelihood of adopting a younger child much higher, single women are more likely to seek intercountry adoption than domestic ones. With domestic adoption, birth mothers are more likely to choose partners rather than singles for their babies, and age is a more important consideration in most agencies.
Like their married counterparts seeking adoption, single women often pursue motherhood claiming the same need and desire to love and raise a child of their own. However, unlike married couples, the single woman faces the arduous process and costs of adoption alone and with the reality that she may end up raising her child alone without a father or partner.
Many single mothers who adopt will share openly even though they have chosen motherhood at this point in their lives; they are not necessarily single by choice and hope to eventually raise their child with a partner. Others are not only comfortable with being single, but choose to remain single during the adoption process and raising a child to adulthood. Faced with the reality of a ticking biological clock, many of them have unsuccessfully pursued intrauterine insemination with donor sperm and / or donor egg before seeking adoption as a path to parenthood.
While friends, family, and society may embrace the married adoptive couple for rescuing or adopting a child and elevating them to the status of saints, single mothers are not always so easily praised for their desire and plan to pursue motherhood through through adoption. Naysayers and critics will accuse the single mother of selfishness for failing to provide the foster child with an intact father and home. Others will erroneously point out and cite statistics that link single motherhood to a variety of possible social ills for your children. To seek consideration and the possibility of adoption, a single woman may even have to develop a new courage to conquer her own inner demons and ease her own thoughts and beliefs about adoption.
After investing both financially and personally in fertility treatments or traveling around the world to finalize the legalities of adoption, both married and single adoptive parents may struggle with the high expectations and transition to sharing their lives with a child. . Single mothers can feel guilt and shame when they long for moments of loneliness and independence from their old single lives. Unlike married couples, where ‘alone time’ may not need to be scheduled or arranged well in advance, single mothers often need to make arrangements in advance and allocate limited financial resources to obtain their own “mom time.”
Fortunately, the internet, television, and the media have raised awareness of the issues single women face in the adoption process, as well as the challenges they may face after placement. In addition, the 24/7 nature of the Internet and the availability of vast amounts of information and resources on the web specific to single mothers have led to an increasingly intelligent and well-prepared adoptive mother-to-be. The successful single mother realizes that it is not a sign of her weakness or an indication of not seeking help and support. Whether it’s through an adoptive family support group, her personal counselor, or the cyber world, she and her newly adopted child are well cared for by reaching out and receiving help. As she transitions to her new role as a mother, guidance and information gathered from single mothers who traveled the road ahead help her keep an eye out for known potholes and barriers, a benefit to herself and her son.
It is not reasonable to assume that all married couples will remain married, nor should it be assumed that all singles will remain single forever. Instead, advocates of single female adoption note that an individual’s character, strength, and potential parenting ability are best considered when providing an adoptive home for a child.