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Thousands of children are regularly put up for adoption around the world in the hopes of finding a nurturing home. Increasingly adoption agencies have tweaked policies in a bid to increase the number of adoptive parents. This change in policy is in response to the ballooning number of adoptable children that has outpaced the number of applicants.
It is important to note that single parent adoption has problems specific to it, at the same time it has advantages. On the positive note, single parent adoption serves to fill the gap created by children who cannot find a conventionally acceptable home. Also, even the need of the unmarried parent to nature a child is sated.
Additionally, the practice of single-parent adoption has also been beneficial to the agencies that have instituted the policy, with a noted increase in inquiries about adoption by couples. This benefit is accrued in consideration of the fact that the practice was previously taboo and its recent implementation sounded the bell on the need for more couples to come forth and adopt. Accordingly, the publicity amassed by the single parent adoption policy stoked interest in some previously unsure couples about the idea of adoption.
Furthermore, the practice is becoming increasingly acceptable with most states in America removing laws restricting single parent adoption. Adoptions by single parents are increasing at pace, and Feigelman estimates that 25 percent of adoptions of children with special needs have been by individual men and women (Feigelman & Silverman 294-297).
The previously stated specific problems that arise in single-parent adoption are pegged on the conventional view of parenting that assumes a child needs a mother and a father for a healthy upbringing.
For example, an adoptive single-parent will find it difficult revealing certain “truths” to the adopted child, and it is incumbent on the adoption agency to foster a response with the parent to the feelings of discrimination implied by the child at not being taken by two parents. This pressure is unique to single adoptive parents as the differences between a two-parent home and a single-parent home are distinctly noticeable enough for the child to start asking early about the family set-up.
Additionally, while not a strange phenomenon, a single parents’ motives for adoption are more questionable compared to a household with two parents. The lack of a relatable partner makes it a difficult task for social workers to ascertain the motivation of single applicants compared to married couples who are desirous of a child.
It is also arguable that a single parent household can be psychologically detrimental to a child. For example, fatherlessness has been theorized as the cause of many difficulties faced by children in such circumstances. It is theorized that the absence of a male partner, and the resultant deprivation of particular needs, may lead to the mother being less physically and emotionally available for her children, thereby indirectly contributing to the psychological challenges faced by the children.
Many still argue that single parent adoption should not be allowed because a child needs both parents, but it is irrevocably true that it is better for a child to have at least one parent. No scientific facts prove that a two parent household is better for a child than a single parent household. The desire to nurture and to share life as a family is not exclusive to couples.
Feigelman, W. & Silverman, A.R. “Single parent adoption.” The Handbook for Single Adoptive Parents, Chevy Chase, MD, 1997: National Council for Single Adoptive Parents.
Osborne, M. “Single Parent Adoption and Women.” Verywellfamily, Apr. 2018, https://www.verywellfamily.com/women-and-single-parent-adoption-27408. Accessed 25 June 2018.
Kadushin, A. “Single-Parent Adoptions: An Overview and Some Relevant Research.” Social Service Review, Vol. 44, No. 3 (Sep., 1970), pp. 263-274: The University of Chicago press.
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