Single parent adoption

Can a single person adopt a child?

I asked Google in not so many words. Turns out, yeah, of course we can. Well, “of course” is a bit strong – some states in America don’t allow it. And preference is definitely given to married couples, whether directly from parents putting their children up for adoption or indirectly from the state. (By the way, I think that’s a good thing.)

But yes, with some adjustments, maybe even a move, it’s legal.

That’s not really what I was wondering. I’ve read books. I’ve seen Pollyanna. I know rich people who never married can adopt a child to pass on an estate. I know it’s not against the law.

My real question, the one between the lines, is, can a single person like me adopt a child?

That’s a way different question. But it’s fascinating, to me anyway. The more I think about it, the more I’m tempted to pursue it. Here’s why, as my friends from down under would say, I’m keen on the idea:

  • It seems easier to adopt a child than get married – I mean, the decision seems easier. Maybe (probably) I’m just naive. Still, with adoption, you choose to adopt and then pretty much just take what you get. With marriage, it’s the other way around: you have to find someone first and then you make the decision to get married. Less options is easier.
  • It sounds inspiring. Somehow, adopting as a single man seems like it could influence others to follow along. Like, seriously, if I can do it, you certainly can.
  • It’s definitely unconventional. I like being the one who does things differently. Part of it is to inspire others, like I said. Another part of it, though, is that I just like experimenting, trying new things, seeing if there’s a better way or at least a different way of seeing things, a way that might add to the overall picture.
  • It fits the philosophy of doing things while you want to. Lately, I’ve been trying to do things when I’m inspired to do them instead of putting them off, planning more, or waiting for the situation to be just right. Adopting sounds awesome now. Will it still in 10 years?

Another reason I like the idea is because I think it might be a useful thought experiment. Like if you’re a single person, ask yourself, “Could I do this?”

For most singles, adopting feels so, so far away. Adopting before getting married feels like not even possible, like literally inconceivable, like, “Have you lost what little mind you had?”

So if you’re single, and that’s your response, the next question to ask is, Why? What would it take to make it happen, not to be ready – that will never happen – but to just make it happen?

Might not be a bad idea to start moving in that direction, even if it doesn’t end with adoption—and that goes for pretty much anyone, not just singles.

[Update May 23, 2012: When I published this in July, 2011, I had pretty strong feeling I’d end up adopting someday, someday in the distant future. This post and the events and feelings surrounding it, though, triggered what I announced 10 months later in the Adoption Fund [EXPERIMENT]: my intention to move forward with adoption as a young, single guy. Looking back, I’m so thankful I published this instead of writing it off as just another internal question not meaningful for the rest of the world.]