Making a decision to adopt is a big deal. But, as a single parent it is even more crucial that you consider all of the details. process and steps involved. Here are 5 crucial steps to adopting as a single parent, especially tailored for single dads.
1. Make an informed decision. As a single man, you must realize the difficulties involved because of both your gender and your marital status. Recent trends make adopting children by single men more acceptable, but men are likely the most prejudiced against demographic among people looking to adopt.
- Research which countries will allow a single man to adopt a child. Not all countries are open-minded to the possibility of having one parent let alone it being a man.
- Consider your age, career, and capacity to raise an infant. It may be more suitable to prefer a teenager or a child with a disability who would love to have a father.
- Be prepared to adopt an older child or a child with disabilities. A severe shortage of adoptive parents for these children makes single men an attractive option to fill this role.
2. Meet the qualifications. There are several different ways to proceed when considering adoption. Adoption is handled by public and private agencies, adoption attorneys, facilitators, or some combinations of this list. There are few solid rules about age, marital status, or sources of income to become a candidate to adopt.
- Age requirements are flexible, but successful prospective applicants are usually in the 25-50 age range. The type of child you are adopting will have some influence on age requirements, but no actual rule exists to determine this.
- As an adoptive parent, this can be your first child, one of many children, or you can even already have adult children by the time you decide to adopt.
- Most agencies, some more reluctant than others, accept single, gay and lesbian, and disabled parent applicants.
- There are no predetermined income levels and home ownership is not a requirement either. Your income can originate from a variety of sources: employment, pension, or disability payments.
3. Consider the cost. The cost of adoption is expensive, but is varied depending on which agency you choose. Adopting an international, special needs teenager, through a public or government agency is more affordable than adopting a domestic, Caucasian baby, through a private agency. From the moment you begin to seriously consider adoption, start saving money in a special savings account dedicated to the process and add to it whenever possible.
- Consider the following: domestic private agency ($4,000-30,000+); domestic independent adoptions ($8,000-30,000+); and Inter-country private agency ($7,000-25,000+). The Fees include most, but not all, costs associated with adoption. For international adoptions, you will also have to consider traveling and lodging costs, visas, passports, and country fees.
- Gender, race, and age of children will also dramatically influence cost. Healthy Caucasian infants are most expensive since they are the most requested and are the least available. Teenagers, because of age, and children with disabilities, because of additional care costs, are less expensive to pursue, but more available to single men. The recent trend for children of color, and in particular indigenous children, is to match them with parents who are of similar ethnicity.
4. Select an agency. Make sure to research all the adoption agencies under consideration. Selecting an agency that is educated and experienced can relieve a lot of stress and anxiety with more positive results. Also consider their reputation, if they provide credible references, or a detailed history of their adoptions.
- Verify the agency’s license by calling your state adoption agency licensing specialist to check if they are current and have no complaints lodged against them.
- Conduct a background check for either criminal behavior or lawsuits or call the Better Business Bureau for more information.
- Inquire about their services: do they offer pre- and post-adoption services?
- Find out their perspective on single-father adoption candidates.
- Request an itemized list of fees, expenses, and hidden costs.
5. Meet the legal criteria. There are several legal requirements included in the adoption process, even more for international adoptions. Working with an attorney is expensive, therefore, be prepared to meet an extensive array of legal criteria.
- Adoption and family law is a specialization. Make sure you contact a lawyer who specializes in this field and has previous experience with legal adoptions.
- Always request references from professional people.
- Contact the Academy of Adoption Attorneys to find an appropriate attorney.
- Once you select an attorney, take their advice.
- Part of the process is providing a significant amount of personal and family history, social security cards, employment history, and financial records.
- If you have a preference, make sure your attorney knows the characteristics of the child you prefer to adopt.