Currently, almost half a million children live in the U.S. foster care system. Most children will spend four years there, either waiting to return to their families or become eligible for adoption. Over half of the children eventually return to their families, but 25% find homes with adoptive parents — over 60,000 children every year.
The rigorous adoption process thoroughly evaluates all potential parents, examining their criminal background, income and more. Adults looking to adopt as a single parent may find these expectations challenging, but entirely possible. In 2018, single parents adopted 28% of children in foster care.
Special considerations for single parents
Being a parent requires bravery, coordination and care. No one should take on the challenge of parenting, single or otherwise, without carefully considering the challenges. Many parents need stable support structures to help coordinate childcare. Single parents should ask themselves the following questions:
- How will the child get to and from school?
- What kind of care will the child receive during work hours? Is there flexibility there?
- Who can help at a moment’s notice?
- How will the child meet new people?
- How will the child connect with their cultural heritage?
Thankfully, potential parents can take advantage of many adoption resources, including support groups and parenting circles. Additionally, the adoption agency may provide additional resources, including preadoption training programs and literature on helping kids cope with separation and loss.
Missouri’s adoption requirements
The State of Missouri requires all potential parents to meet the minimum standards for adoption. All applicants must:
- Be over age 21
- Have good health, physically and mentally
- Pass a criminal record check and consent to fingerprinting
- Have a reliable income
- Live in a residence that meets minimum licensing standards
- Participate in and complete training, assessment and evaluation processes
- Engage with professional advice in a constructive way
Some adoptions also require the adoptive parents’ willingness to work with the child’s family to accommodate the best interests of the child.
Legal help for single parents
Anyone with questions about adopting a child can find answers with a local lawyer familiar with adoption law in Missouri. An attorney can help choose the right adoption agency and help with legal matters.