Dear Single Foster & Adoptive Parents
Untraditional, Is probably the first word that comes to mind when a person who wants to adopt relationship status is single. Even in the adoption community, some agencies still are not excepting of a single person wanting to adopt. There’s a belief, two parent homes are more effective for youth in general not just those who need of adopting or fostering. When I decided to become a foster parent at the age of 20, I had multiple things to be concerned about:
1. My age
2. Being a single male
3. Support system
4. My Ethnicity
I’m sure I’m not the only who has or will have the same concerns. Being a single male itself wanting to foster or adopt presents its challenges as well. In my opinion, single males are subject to be put under additional “microscope” when it comes to agencies. Even society itself are not very trusting of males working with children, often questioning their intentions aka giving them the “Side eye”. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling, when you have an idea to execute a act of kindness or fulfill a duty that most wouldn’t consider, like fostering or adopting from FosterCare, only to have others question your intentions.
Early on in my journey, I had the idea that caseworkers would use single parent homes as a last resort for a placement when all traditional two parent homes were filled. Not sure where I got the idea, probably my own insecurities when it came to parenting. During my training, I believe I was the only single person in the beginning and definitely they only single male for sure . It just made me wonder even more at that time, why more single individuals didn’t consider fostering or adopting? Clearly, I failed to realize that my small agency was one of many and just because I didn’t see a huge population of single caregivers didn’t mean that they didn’t exist. Duh, right?
There are many single persons willing to step up and foster or adopt but often feel they would be doing the child a disservice by not having a mother or father figure in the home full time. I’m here to say it’s simply not true. Single parents are just as effective as couples. Sure, you may become overwhelmed in the beginning because of the lack breaks or understanding because it maybe your first time parenting but there are things you can put in place for you and your children!
Try the following two suggestions:
Build your Support System ~ Also known as “The Village”. This could be anyone close to you personally, your best friend, relative, fellow adoptive or foster parent. Have a conversation with those individuals to see if they would be willing to support you in your time of need. It would be great to have them step in if you are sick, or need to work late, date night etc.
Provide Positive Role Models ~ A great way to provide a mother or Father figure as a single parent would be to place a positive role model in child’s life. Personally, I have a friend who was willing to be my children’s Godmother. She’s involved, supportive and extremely dependable.
If you are thinking about becoming a single foster or adoptive parent, please don’t be discouraged by others who may not understand why you have chosen this journey. Those individuals opinions simply don’t matter and I would suggest you keep your children away from them. As adults, we must remember there will always be a cheering section that will be for our success and a opposing team that cheering for our downfalls because they fear what they do not understand. That’s why it’s important to seek knowledge from others who have traveled the same road that you wish to travel.
So be SINGLE, be CONFIDENT in your abilities to be a single adoptive or foster parent. You will make mistakes, but who doesn’t? You can read all the Blogs, Books and receive endless training and you still will not have all the answers you need to be successful within your parenting journey, and guess what? It’s ok. Parenting is a trail and error adventure. Show me the perfect parent and I’ll call BS!
Get Connected, Stay Connected