Adopting as a Single Parent

Adopting as a Single Parent

If you are single and considering growing your family through adoption you are not alone. Millions of parents who are single and are raising healthy thriving children today have stood in the exact same spot you stand at this very moment, that of actively exploring the variety of adoption options available. Adoption professionals across the board are committed to welcoming, supporting, and encouraging single parents to step into this beautiful avenue of building a family.

There are three main types of adoption: foster care, intercountry adoption, and private domestic adoption. Whatever path you choose it is important to find an adoption placing agency that accepts single parents that will walk beside you and advocate for you from pre-adoption training to post-adoption support. 

Foster Adoption

According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCAR) 13,307 single women and 1,799 single men chose adoption through foster care for the Federal fiscal year 2022.  AFCARS reported that roughly 28% of adoptions from foster care went to single parents. Adopting through the state foster system is by far the most affordable form of adoption. Expenses can range from zero to a couple of thousand dollars. Many children who are adopted from foster care are eligible for Federal and State adoption assistance to help with not only the fees needed for the adoption process but also the cost of their continued care. The National Council for Adoption offers an excellent resource with essential information and frequently asked questions about adoption subsidies for those considering foster care adoption as an option. 

Intercountry Adoption

Adopting internationally is an incredibly enriching beautiful journey but it does come with added expense. Not only are you working with a placing agency but two countries and their specific fees as well. Travel and the costs associated with travel also add to the higher fees. Adopting this way can range from $20,000 up, depending on the country.  Fortunately, there are grants and federal adoption assistance to help ease the financial burden. In 2023, The Federal Adoption Tax Credit allowed families who were in the adoption process for 2022 to claim up to $14,890 in eligible adoption expenses for each eligible child. 

Some countries do not allow single parent applications so doing your research is important. If you are considering international adoption, refer to Rainbowkids Waiting Child page. You will find the search menu on the left side of the page. Scroll down to Other Options and check the Single Parent Adoption box. The results will show all the children available for adoption by single parents.  

Private Domestic Adoption

A private domestic adoption occurs when hopeful adoptive parents work with a private agency to adopt an infant from the U.S. As with the other types of adoptions, your first step in private domestic adoption is to find an agency you are comfortable working with throughout the entire process. Private agency adoption costs vary widely based on the agency used and individual adoption circumstances but may range from $20,000-$40,000. Overall costs may include the home study, court and legal fees, pre-adoption and post-adoption counseling for the birth parents, birth parent's legal and medical expenses, adoptive parent training, social services needed to match the child, and post-placement supervision until the adoption is finalized.  

Find Your Village

The word village is used time and time again when talking about raising children. It is especially important for a single parent to identify their village from day one in the adoption process. A strong social network not only checks the obligatory box for your placing agency when the homestudy process begins but it also provides you with peace of mind knowing who has your back. Who will be there in the middle of the night if there is an emergency? Who will recognize your needs when the bumps and lumps of life challenge you?  Who will travel with you if you choose intercountry adoption? Explore who you trust and can count on in a heartbeat now vs. when you are in the thick of a moment after your child is home. 

Financial Stability and Job Flexibility

Your financial stability comes into play when you are considering adding a child to your life. According to a recent study by Smartasset, the average cost of raising a child in the U.S. is $20,813 annually. These expenses typically go up if you live in a metro area. Costs include food, housing, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and other necessities. As a single parent, you will most likely have a full-time job. Make sure your job has the flexibility to accommodate your family, from the earliest days of family leave. Will you be able to take the time you need when you bring your child home? Will you be able to leave at a moment's notice if there is an emergency? Can you work from home if your child is sick?  Looking into your job flexibility is extremely important when considering adopting as a single parent. 

Adoption doesn't end when the final papers are signed. It is a journey from the very first moments of self-evaluation to determine if this is the right path for you, to launching your child into adulthood and beyond. It is a lifetime. Single parent adoption is a viable option for individuals who possess the desire and commitment to provide a loving and stable home for a child. While there are challenges, such as financial constraints and the absence of a second parental figure, the benefits far outweigh the challenges.  By embracing single parent adoption, society can provide more children with the opportunity to grow up in a nurturing environment and experience the love and care they deserve.  That is, of course, what it is all about. 

Additional Resources

Adopting as a Single Parent

Adoption and Guardianship Assistance by State

U.S. Adoption Assistance/Subsidy