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How to adopt as a single mom

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids. Motherhood is the best job she never knew she wanted so much until she had it...

Single mom adoption tips

When People magazine put a beautiful, glowing Sandra Bullock holding an adorable little boy on the cover of its April 28th 2010 issue, fans were surprised … most in a very positive way. Bullock announced that she had and Jesse James had been in the adoption process for four years before becoming parents to Louis Bardo Bullock. However, in the wake of her separation from James, she said that she will finalize the adoption as a single parent and raise Louis on her own.

Child care

While celebrities don't have to brainstorm and crunch numbers when it comes to child care, most people do! Again, this is something even married or partnered parents might consider, as not every family has a full time stay-at-home parent. However, juggling pickups and drop-offs on your own, coupled with the unique backgrounds of some children who were adopted, means working out a child care plan is important.

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While every parent must carefully make child care choices, adoptive parents have the added responsibility of finding a situation that will cater to their child's specific needs.

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Prigel Sharp notes the significance of bonding with a newly adopted child and explains that choosing a child care situation that is neither too big nor too busy is best. Can you afford in home care? If not, do you know anyone close to you, e.g., your mom or sister, who would be willing to provide child care? Are there any small, in-home day cares where the provider is consistent willing to take on more of a parent-type role versus a large daycare center where several care givers come and go? Because, as Prigel Sharp notes, you are solely responsible for paying the mortgage and putting food on the table, you will have to work, and that means will you have to find or create a care situation that works.

Type of Adoption

Unfortunately, this is one area where single women and married women might find greater differences. While there are still options for singles in international adoption, they are more limited than they were in the past, with large programs such as China eliminating single parents altogether, and other such as Ethiopia restricting them to small numbers.

However, that does not mean you can't find an international adoption program. Furthermore, Carey has a very strong opinion when it comes to domestic adoption: "Do NOT allow agencies to make you feel as though you are undesirable to expectant mothers, that you are unworthy of adopting. Don't let them tell you domestic adoption is not a good option for you! If an agency gives you that message, move on and keep looking, because there are many agencies that are thrilled to work with single moms." Carey was very quickly matched with an expectant mom through an agency that works with many single prospective adoptive parents. Finally, foster care (and foster-to-adopt) is an option for single parents in many states. Research your state's parameters on foster care to determine whether that is a good option for you.

To reiterate, most considerations that prospective single adoptive parents must make are very similar to those that married or partnered ones must make as well (and there are many, many considerations when choosing adoption -- far more than can be explained in a brief article), only you are doing it without the help of another adult. As Carey says, "There are so many factors that need considering in adoption -- race, special needs, cost, domestic vs. international, the child's age, etc. Being single is just another piece of the puzzle."

If you are seriously considering adopting as a single parent, a great place to begin making contacts and gathering information is through people who have been there, done that! Search Yahoo Groups for single adoptive parents or check out our adoption message boards, research and begin asking questions. From there, you can work your way through the details of adoption in general and your situation specifically. Adopting is not a simple process, nor is it a decision to be taken lightly, but if it is in your heart, you can do it.

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