Single Parent Adoption Summary


Our group (Sammy, Kathryn, Alyssa) decided to track the issue of single parent adoption because we knew that discrepancies existed in this area but we were unsure of the specifics. We already knew that it is "easier" for a couple to adopt a child than it is for a single. However before we began tracking the issue, we did not know the laws behind single parent adoption, how race and gender play into the issue, or the differences between domestic vs. international adoption or infant adoption vs. foster adoption.

As far as the laws behind single parent adoption go, it is completely legal in every state of the United States for a single parent to adopt a child of any age domestically. This was not always the case however, due to discrimination of single parent families. In 1958 the Child Welfare League of America put out a release stating that adoptive families must be comprised of a mother and a father. It wasn't until 1965 that the first group, the Los Angeles Bureau of Adoptions, fervently recruited single parents nationwide.

The Los Angeles Bureau of Adoptions was also the first organization to seek out single African-American parents, so that they could match African-American children with parents of the same race. Now, when the state places children they tend to place couples with same-race children. Also, according to Adoption Choices of Oklahoma, most adoptions cost between $28,000 and $34,000, while African-American adoptions range from $25,000 to $30,000, and the average waiting time for a potential adoptive parent to be matched with a birth mother is six months, but the wait is much shorter for parents willing to adopt African-Americans. When looking at local adoption agencies, white, middle-class, heterosexual men and women dominate the photos, giving the impression that these agencies mainly cater to this one group of people.

When the state is responsible for placing children, they tend to give single parents "hard to place" children, such as children with disabilities, or who are older, etc. Single parents are responsible for 25% of all special needs adoptions. Often, single parents are recommended to foster homes, as they will have a better chance at being placed with a child in this fashion, rather than being picked by a birthmother to adopt an infant.

Single parent adopters are an untapped resource that should be utilized to place children into loving homes. Single parent adoptions are just as successful as couple adoptions, often because single adoptive parents often seek out resources and build support systems more vigorously than couples do. These resources include finances, which single adoptive parents are able to bring and make ends meet for their family. No significant differences in terms of educational development of the children have been noted between single and two parent adoptive families. Also, single adoptive parents have reported less use of mental health services than two parent adoptive parents.

Overall, the main issue seen in the practices of adoption is how society views different family units, as well as how society places different values on different children (i.e. foster children, African-American children, etc.)


  1. I would definitely like to research more about the reasons for why certain requirements are in place for couples or single parents to adopt, and whether or not foster care centers meet those requirements. From my understanding, it is fairly difficult for a couple of single parent to be granted permission to adopt a child, and they must meet numerous standards, yet the facilities and opportunities available to children in foster care are much less.

    You mentioned very briefly about birthmothers choosing parents for their newborns, and I wonder if they are given these statistics about the differences between single and two parents adoptive families. It is interesting that single parents are more likely to seek out resources and build support systems than couples in order to raise a child, and this is something that is highly promising - instead of the child having simply their adoptive parents to rely on, an adopted child may instead have many people, friends and family, to rely on other than their single parent.

    It would also be interesting to determine whether or not boyfriends or girlfriends contribute into deciding whether or not a person is qualified to adopt.

  2. I think this is a great topic and there are so many directions one could go in further researching it. Here is one suggestion (for anyone in the class /reading this blog) that quickly comes to mind: Single-parent adoptions and celebrities One of the "biggest" celebrity stories right now concerns Sandra Bullock and her secret adoption of a African American baby boy. It might be interesting to track and analyze a variety of media discussions (blogs/news reports, etc) about this adoption--How does/doesn't the rhetoric of family values get invoked in these discussions? How is Bullock represented as a mother--how do you think her representation might contrast with the representation of "regular" mothers? How is race (white mother, black baby) discussed/understood/ignored in these discussions?

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This page contains a single entry by Alyssa published on May 3, 2010 9:35 PM.

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