Adopting on Your Own

Regardless of the joy a child may bring into the life of the single person who has dreamed of parenting, major adjustments must be expected for both parent and child. Since older and physically/emotionally handicapped children are usually placed with single adoptive parents, the time required for proper adjustment may be longer. Older children, for example, generally present more adjustment difficulties, simply because the child's personality has already developed to a great extent. Many older children have also had earlier experiences of deprivation, abuse and instability, and come to the single parent with substantially more emotional problems. The physically handicapped child may require an even greater amount of care — perhaps lifelong.

Adjustment of both parent and child are dependent on several factors. Much of the responsibility for good adjustment depends on the parent's own sense of well-being and self-esteem. Research indicates that single adoptive parents take longer to consider a child their own than couples who adopt, and that males take longer to adjust to parenting than females.

The fact that you, the single adoptive parent, will have a significantly restricted social life after a child arrives must be accepted as part of this newly chosen lifestyle. Understandably, there aren't too many other single adoptive parents with whom to socialize; you may not quite fit into the divorced or widowed single-parent group; married couples may not be ready to accept you; and your single friends don't feel comfortable talking about, or being around, children. Now, instead of accepting social invitations, you may find yourself saying more often: "I've got to attend a parent-teacher conference tonight." "Sorry, I can't make it. Johnny's sick." "I'm short on cash this week." "The house needs cleaning." Or, "Sally needs help with her math." Your social life may include much more family time, both your own and extended-family involvements.

Extended-family relationships are extremely important. When extended families respond positively, there is better adjustment, sooner, for both parent and child.

The major new tasks faced by the single adoptive parent, their costs, and time commitments may loom especially large in this transitional stage.

Background Information

Journey of No Return
Sometimes as parents, we have a knee-jerk response to our kids as we're barraged by their numerous inquires and desires. Maybe it's time to stop being so negative.

When Not To Discipline
Parents should recognize when they should and shouldn't discipline their children.

When You Feel Like Calling in the SWAT Team
Are your children constantly testing you? This classic parenting advice will help you regain the upper hand.

Questions and Answers

After I spank my child, she usually wants to hug me and make up, but I continue to be cool to her for a few hours. Do you think that is right?

We'd like to be more unified in our approach, but how do we successfully move from two financial approaches to one?

How long do you think a child should be allowed to cry after being punished? Is there a limit?

I have never spanked my 3-year-old because I am afraid it will teach her to hit others and be a violent person. Do you think I am wrong?

It just seems barbaric to cause pain to a defenseless child. Is it healthy to spank him or her?

Review Frequently Asked Questions


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Other Things to Consider

Ten Things Toddlers Wish They Could Tell You
It can do wonders for the frazzled parent to know what's going on in the mind of your little one.

TransitionsHaving a Baby, Preparing for Adolescence

Life PressuresWorking Moms, Stay-At-Home Moms, Time for Family

RelationshipsParents and Adult Children, Blended Families