As I began to track the issue of single parent adoption, I soon found that while it is legal in every state of this country for a single parent to adopt a child, internationally or domestically, it is ultimately up to the adoption agency to decide who qualifies to even be considered to adopt from their agency. I found several questions posted on forum communities by single males who want to adopt a child but have been turned away from adoption agencies from the start. I also came to discover that many adoption agencies would consider single fathers for foster programs that can eventually turn into adoption, or the adoption of older children but not infants or even toddlers.
I decided to do a bit of digging myself. I found a website with a list of domestic adoption agencies and randomly selected some agencies and requested additional information on their contact form. I wrote to several adoption agenceis:
Hi, my name is Alyssa Smith. I am looking into single parent adoptions and I
am wondering if your agency participates in single parent adoptions,
particularly single father adoption. If so I would also like to know if there
are any regulations on this type of adoption, such as the age of the child,
domestic vs. international adoptions, or if a single must begin the adoption
process through a foster program.
Within a few hours of sending this message to numerous adoption agencies I received several interesting replies:
My name is Brenda Compton and I am the Senior Adoption Consultant for International Family Services. I was told of your interest in adoption and I would be thrilled to email you a great deal of information about our program options and to answer any questions you might have. Before I do so though, I did need to verify that you were asking about you adopting as a single mother, correct? In your request you asked if we can work with single men's adoptions, but unfortunately we do not have any programs in place at this time that are open to this. If you are interested for yourself, as a single woman, please let me know and I will send information on to you about programs you would qualify for. And if you are asking for a single male friend or relative, while IFS could not help him with an adoption, I would be happy to email you some other options he might want to check into, in case any of them would work for him."
"hello Alyssa. I'm sorry that single fathers seem to be the ONE segment of
the population who cannot adopt internationally. no country will allow it
as far as I know. Sorry."
"Love Basket does not accept singles at this time. In the past we have
worked with single women however we found that the wait time was very
long and they were incurring more fees as they updated paperwork
throughout the process. I'm sorry that we can not be of further
assistance to you but do wish you well in your search for an agency."
"Our agency 's adoption services are currently focused upon infant adoptions.
In such cases, the surrendering birthparent is coming to us seeking a two
parent home for her child.
As a single parent, your best opportunity may be in adopting a child through
the foster care system. In doing so, I would recommend you check with the TN
Dept. of Children's Services in your area."
There were also adoption agencies that sent auto-responses, so they detailed their process to begin an adoption but did not specifically answer my questions. There were also a response that explained what their company does is interview anyone looking to adopt and place them with an adoption agency which fits their specific needs, but does not participate in the adoptions themselves. I thought a process like this could be very useful under the current adoption system in which agencies can choose right off the bat who they are willing to work with. However, I do see flaws in the current system that should be looked into.
When it is legal for a single parent to adopt a child, do you think it is ethical for an adoption agency to refuse its services with no further investigation as to how fit to parent this individual may be? What if a different type of company was refusing its services to a particular group of people, like a store clerk who will not sell certain items to certain races of people? Why is it unacceptable to companies to refuse service to groups of people, but when it comes to adoption single males are often not even given the opportunity to begin the adoption process with a home evaluation? Is this practice in the best interest of the children being given up for adoption as well as the birth parents, or is it discrimination?
Sammy, Kathryn, Alyssa