Single Moms and Adoption — Another Perspective

June 12, 2012 | 45 comments
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I have been fascinated by the idea of adoption for a long time. Growing up, I knew a few people who were adopted, and the idea of bringing home your baby from Korea or the Ukraine always seemed exotic to me.

But my obsession really took off when I got my Patriarchal Blessing. After gushing about the children that would be born to me, a totally out-of-the-blue paragraph began with the words, “I bless the love of your family to extend to other children . . . ”

Suddenly, adoption was part of my envisioned Mormon “happily-ever-after,” and I embraced the idea delightedly. When my husband and I were newly married and trying for a baby, I recall telling him that if we didn’t have a baby before we went on our field study to the Philippines the next year, we were adopting one there.

Two biological children later, my compulsion to adopt has only increased, and we’re finally preparing to start the process. For various reasons, we are planning to adopt internationally, so I’ve been doing a lot of research into processes and requirements. Not surprisingly, each country has different rules for financial resources, how old the prospective parents must be, how many children can already be in the home, etc. While noting and comparing these various criteria, I came across one that surprised me: many countries allow adoptions by single women.

In retrospect, I’m a little embarrassed that I was so surprised. However, it’s not so strange that the idea of a single woman adopting a child would simply not occur to me. My initial ideas about adoption were drawn straight from LDS Family Services, and the story there is simple. Unmarried teenage girl gets pregnant. She’s scared and worried. Then she finds out about a couple who are childless and desperate for a baby. They are married in the Temple, have good jobs, and can give her baby so much more than she can. So she gives them her baby, and everything is warm fuzzies.

In the LDS Family Services paradigm, one of the main reasons for an adoption is so that the baby can have a mother and a father who are sealed in the Temple. It’s straight out of the Family Proclamation.

Now, I’m not contradicting all the statistical and doctrinal reasons for the ideal two-parent family, or trying to undermine LDS Family Services in the important work they do. But learning about international adoption has opened my eyes to some new realities.

In the countries where we are considering adopting, children who have lost every family member in their lives due to illness, war, addiction, or abandonment, are living in orphanages, where they lack the love of a family, and are often malnourished, neglected, and exposed to serious diseases. Not a few children, but millions. Even in the United States, where children without parents usually (but not always) escape being institutionalized, they often face years of moving from foster home to foster home, longing for a permanent family.

While the unwed mothers placing their babies through LDS Family Services have a large pool of potential parents to choose from (the reason that some couples wait for years to be matched with a child), the countless children in orphanages around the world are not so lucky, especially if they are older or have special needs.

I am afraid that because the Church only officially sponsors adoptions by temple married, infertile couples, that people get the message that those are the only acceptable adoptions. Heck, I’ve even wondered myself if it’s “OK” for my (temple married but fertile) husband and me to adopt rather than having another biological child. I’ve never experienced the invisible spiritual nudge that people talk about feeling when it’s “time” for another child to be born into their family. But I feel the wordless need of children waiting half a world away, and I know it’s a message to me.

As I have been thinking about all those children, the idea of single women adopting keeps popping persistently back into my head. And finally one day I had a realization. If my own life had turned out differently, and I had never gotten married, I really hope I would have somehow come across the idea of adopting as a single, and become a mother anyway. It gives me a peculiar sense of retrospective security to think that although I couldn’t really control whether I got married or not, my single faithful Mormon self could have become a mother if I wanted to, and been an immeasurable blessing in the life of a lonely child.

I think about the many wonderful Mormon women who ache to be mothers and have never had the chance because the right man hasn’t come along. They’re always told at church that they can be “mothers” by teaching or babysitting or mentoring, and that anyway they’ll have the opportunity to mother children of their own in the next life.

I wonder if perhaps we might also mention the option of mothering a motherless child in this life. Even if they can’t give that child a father and a temple sealing, surely the same God who promises these women an eternal family someday would extend that promise to the orphaned children they take into their homes and hearts. Intentional single parenthood through adoption is certainly not for everyone, but for those who have the financial and emotional means and the desire, why not?

 

 

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I am speaking from my perspective as a woman here, but I’m not meaning to leave out single men. Although not much is said from the pulpit about the opportunity of single men to become fathers in the eternities, there must be many who long for it. Most countries prohibit international adoptions by single men, but the U.S. foster care system explicitly allows them, and everything I have said in this post about single women could apply equally well to single men.

Photo credits: parents with baby, woman with child, children in orphanage

45 Responses to Single Moms and Adoption — Another Perspective

  1. Tek on June 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Thank you for this! I am 26 and single. I have started the process to become a foster mom for similar reasons. I don’t see myself getting married anytime soon but I still want to be a mother. While adoption isn’t an option at the moment, I do plan on it in the future, be I married or not. Unfortunatly, all the children in need of a family will most likely not have the opportunity to have one, much less a nuclear family or LDS nuclear family. I personally hope to foster and eventually adopt teens, those that are less likely to be adopted or placed into a foster home.

  2. themormonbrit on June 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I think that if the majority of these children are not going to find their way into a nuclear family, they should at least have the opportunity to experience love and affection from some source. For that reason, I am not opposed to single mothers adopting children.

    Having said that, I would like to point out that I do think the ideal family arrangement for a child to be adopted into is the nuclear family. While it is becoming less and less prevalent in our modern society, it has withstood the test of time and I think has a stability and strength that other family arrangements can sometimes lack. It’s also often easier on the parents.

    Also, I think I should express that I find the idea of adoption as fulfilling the needs of an infertile mother as slightly distasteful. Adoption should be more about providing for the needs of the child than about satisfying the desire an infertile mother/couple has/have for a child.

    I also agree with you in that I am a bit frustrated with the church’s idea that only infertile, temple-sealed couples should seek for adoption, and all other couples should have biologicl children instead. There are so many children already on earth in need of a loving family that such a stance seems slightly insensitive.

    Thank you for this, Sarah. This is a subject definitely worth discussing.

  3. Keri Brooks on June 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Beautiful post. I’m 30 and single. About 5 years ago, I decided that if I hit age 30 and was still single, I would adopt, because I want to have children, and I could provide a loving home. I’ll go through the foster system and adopt older children. (Works out perfectly; I don’t really like babies, but I love kids and teenagers.)

    Looking at my financial situation, I think I’ll have to wait a few more years before it’s doable, but I still want to. I’m sure my rather traditional extended family will have a fit about it, but in my view, there’s no more Christian act than to give an orphan a stable and loving home.

  4. Alison Moore Smith on June 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    As an adoptee, I’ll give a few thought for possible consideration:

    1. Adoption is awesome. :)
    2. Every child deserves a loving home.
    3. Hard to place” kids are usually hard to place for a reason. They STILL need loving homes, but parents should absolutely know what this entails. [My oldest brother and I were adopted as babies. Another brother was adopted at age 10. Also one bio sister in the mix. The bio sister has bio kids and also adopted an older sibling group of three, a number of years ago.] Kids who have been without the stability of a home have incredible baggage. They are almost never “fixed” with just love and very often there is nothing that can do so. In my experience, it’s best to go into a hard-to-place adoption with the idea that you are making their lives better than they would be otherwise, and not expect that they will, necessarily, be “just like a biological child.” But if they do (I’ve seen it happen), then it’s just a pleasant surprise. :)
    4. While I think adoptive parents are absolute angels, I would personally never, ever adopt a hard-to-place child while I have younger kids in the home. Suffice it to say, it’s often traumatic.
    5. Single women can be amazing moms. A woman in our Boca ward who had divorced and never had children adopted two teen sisters. I taught both of those girls in YW. They were fabulous and given such a boost having a caring, loving, stable new mom.
    6. I always thought I would adopt, but it’s pretty unlikely I this point. Still, if you feel this is right for your family, I think you have a special place in heaven. :) God bless you. More of us need to be like that.
  5. jks on June 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    “why not?”
    There are many reasons “why not.” However, if a single man or woman has carefully considered these reasons and they feel good about proceeding then I think it is a good thing. Most people seem to be naiver. Here are some things to consider:
    1. Some children from international orphanages are not orphans, they are really foster children whose parents couldn’t take care of them.
    2. Some countries or orphanages are not honest about the child’s history.
    3. A child with this kind of potential baggage can be extremely difficult to deal with. A single person doesn’t have to worry about the strain ruining their marriage, but the strain may prevent future relationships due to the time, worry and emotional energy needed to deal with children with difficulties.
    4. A child with this kind of potential baggage can be very expensive to get therapy for, and a working mom may constantly feel like she isn’t able to dedicate the time necessary to help her child achieve his or her potential.
    5. An international adoption often means raising a child of a different race. Are you equipped to help the child deal with racial identity and feel comfortable with their skin? Are you truly comfortable around people in our country who have the same color skin as your child or will your child sense that there is discomfort and you are not able to openly discuss race with them. Will you be able to weigh the pros and cons of the racial makeup of neighborhoods, schools and wards or will you want to close your eyes to the issue?
    6. If you die, is there someone else who is willing to raise your child? If your child isn’t a blood relation and isn’t a cute newborn, and your family doesn’t live nearby to see you often, your family make take longer to bond with your child.
    7. Are you prepared to do the homework to help your child adjust. Do you truly understand that your child will be leaving everything familiar. Do you truly understand that your child will have a language barrier to prevent communication?

  6. Kent Larsen on June 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    The unfortunate part of all this is that the fees involved are often very large – tens of thousands of dollars. Its simply cheaper for most people to get pregnant than it is to adopt.

    Of course, the bias towards babies and to children of the same race as the parents also makes it difficult to solve the problems of the millions of children who need to be adopted around the world.

    The size of the need is so strong that it makes you want to pray for the millennium to arrive.

  7. ESO on June 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    JKS is on the right track here. Single parenthood is not all it’s cracked up to be. I’d also be very dubious of international adoption; when parentless children become a commodity, that is problematic. If you are adopting to help the child, maybe a better use of your adoption fees would be to reunite a child with an actual family member and support them in their native culture.

    I have never seen an example of an LDS woman becoming a parent through adoption up close and personal, although my sister and I recently discussed a woman in her ward who has adopted from China (I work with internationally adopted kids professionally, she was seeking advice to pass on). I suspect that some members of a ward might have strong negative feelings about a single person doing this. Not that that should matter, but if your kids grow up in a ward where they sense an undercurrent of disapproval, that doesn’t seem healthy.

    However, fostering and adopting locally is a huge service to those kids and community. Aside from the fact that single parenting is super hard, who could argue with it?

  8. CLB on June 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I’ve been a single LDS mom for over 12 years now with two daughters adopted from China. It is challenging and I have a lot of support from family and friends. I don’t regret being a mom to these two wonderful girls.

  9. E on June 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I have a couple of single friends who have adopted, one from the foster care system and one from China. In both cases it has worked out well. But I also see people (couples) who adopt older children internationally and I share the same concerns that Alison has; these are difficult situations and the bottom line is not everyone is up to it; also there can be some ethical problems in adopting children who may not truly be orphans and transplanting them to a completely foreign environment. I have seen several cases where adoptive parents do seem naive and the adoption does not end well. These are well-meaning people who just believe that they can overcome anything with their loving attention. I think domestic adoption through the foster care system can be a good way to go because there is more support and services available and the child stays in the same country/culture.

  10. LBK on June 13, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Two bits of advice from an old teacher and an adoptive parent. To assess the value of my remarks, remember that old teachers do not die, we just loose our class.

    First, in the education profession I have seen quite a number of awesome single woman parents. I have also met some absolute disasters. One of the key factors that seemed often to separate the two was the quality of family life the single mother had growing up. One of the amazing things middle aged people discover is that they are turning into their parents and when they look back they see how much they raised their kids like their parents did. If you have that strong background it should be a great help in becoming a successful parent.

    Second, be leery of Church Social Services. It is not because they are bad but it is because they are very picky and some of their reasoning often is not easy to comprehend. Try to be sure that you do not fall into one of their negative categories and thus waste a lot of your time and their time working on an adoption that will not happen.

    For example, my wife and I invested a year and a half in the process until we were told that because I was diabetic we were ineligible. When we asked why we were not informed earlier or why it was not in the paperwork, we were told that “we should have known” We also got the great joy of a five minute lecture on why diabetes would make me a “bad parent” (the dude who informed us did not have compassion in his tool box of social skills). Another couple we knew were turned down because he did not have a great financial future (he was a bookkeeper, not a CPA). Simply put, do not put all your eggs in one basket, do some serious research to make sure that you have a path to adoption and not to disappointment.

  11. Sarah Familia on June 13, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! I’m especially thrilled to see some singles out there who are considering adoption, or have done it (not that I really thought I was the first one to have this idea :).

    #2 themormonbrit, I think adoption is always about both children’s needs and parents’ needs. It is a beautiful thing when those two needs intersect to make a family. Adoption is not just about “rescuing” a child. It’s about forming a family. A strong desire for parenthood is one among many important factors for success.

    #4 Alison Moore Smith, I loved the perspective from an adoptee!

    #5 jks, These and others are all questions that are addressed in the many hours of classes that adoptive parents must take. I am certainly not suggesting that anyone go into adoption without much thought and prayer.

    #6 Kent Larsen, While some adoptions are very expensive, adoption from foster care costs very little. Even internationally, grants are often available to alleviate much of the cost for those who adopt children with health issues. And many, many families choose children of different races. The problem can seem very overwhelming, just like a lot of other problems in the world. All we can do is what we’re able and feel called to do.

    #7 ESO, There has been a lot of international legal work recently geared toward eliminating child trafficking. It is also imperative for adoptive parents to make sure they use an ethical agency and educate themselves about the process so that they can make sure things are done properly. Some people feel drawn toward adopting out of foster care (or other domestic adoption options), and others feel drawn toward adopting internationally. There is need in both places, and what is right for one family may be wrong for another.

    Some final thoughts: Both for couples and for singles, adoption (whether international or domestic) is a huge decision with many life implications, both for oneself and for a child. Based on years of research and prayer, we feel that it’s something we should do. It’s not something I would presume to tell anyone else he or she should do, but I think it would be great if more people (both singles and marrieds) considered it as an option, whether or not infertility is an issue.

    The impetus for my post was my realization that on the one hand we have many children who need parents, and on the other, we have many single LDS women who long for children. In some cases, those needs might be able to be matched up, with beautifully synergistic results.

  12. Michael on June 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

    LBK (#10),

    They seriously turned you down because you were diabetic? Are you serious? That is mind-boggling. When LDS “Family” Services becomes that pharisaic or, dare I say fascist, the organization has become ripe for dismantling. We are talking adoption of children by good families, not adoption by a mortally-perfect superior class of heterosexually unified beings with no physical, mental or emotional scars. I wonder if the persons doing the evaluating and judging would pass the tests they impose on others when you make them justify their own readiness for their own pro-created children?

  13. James Olsen on June 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

    As someone in the midst of an international adoption (home study is on Monday – talk about lots to do, why in the world am I blogging now?), I loved seeing this post.

    The reality is, it’s very easy to put 2 & 2 together when it comes to our theology and practices and the international need for adoption, resulting in Mormon singles adopting – as you note, “in some cases” when needs and capacities and desires match up.

    One of my choicest moments in our recent General Conference was when Elder Oaks, going through the hosts of ways in which the Mormon understanding of atonement inevitably leads to our standing as saviors on Mt. Zion, mentioned adoption:

    I also see unselfish Latter-day Saints adopting children, including those with special needs, and seeking to provide foster children the hope and opportunities denied them by earlier circumstances. I see you caring for family members and neighbors who suffer from birth defects, mental and physical ailments, and the effects of advancing years. The Lord sees you also, and He has caused His prophets to declare that “as you sacrifice for each other and your children, the Lord will bless you.”

  14. SDavis on June 13, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I am LDS and just returned home in April from adopting my third child from China as a single parent. All three were thought to have minor special needs, and I was geared up for that. My two daughters were adopted as toddlers, and my son was 4 1/2 when I brought him home two months ago.

    Creating a family through adoption is the best thing I’ve ever done. It isn’t easy. I am a teacher, and as such, I’m on basically the same schedule as my kids. That helps a lot. Also, I have a great support system–my parents live about a mile from me in our tiny community, and they have a close relationship with my kids.

    Through my experiences as an on-purpose single parent, I can tell you that I am grateful every day that I took the giant leap of faith and adopted my kids. They bring immeasurable joy to my life, and I to theirs. I shudder to think of my life without them. That being said, single parenting is nothing to go into with your eyes closed. It’s hard work, and it takes a certain amount of flexibility as well as toughness and resilience.

    I have also learned by experience that there is wisdom in having a two-parent family when possible. Each parent brings something valuable to a family, and some (much?) of that is based on their gender. I make sure my kids have adequate male role models, but at times I feel the void in having no priesthood leadership in our home.

    I guess for me, when I was in my early and mid 30s and no knight in shining armor was forthcoming, I realized that even without a husband, I could create a family, raise kids, and have a more fulfilling, less self-centered existence. As I said before, I believe that two-parent families are the “gold standard” in which to raise children. But a child with no parents is most certainly better off with one parent than with none at all. Creating the family I have now is hands down the best thing I’ve done with my life. I don’t regret it for a moment.

    (Oh, and I’d like to see an official statement on the church’s stand on only temple-married, infertile couples being encouraged to adopt. That’s not been what I’ve observed at all, and I’m nearly positive it’s not in the official handbook. The sad reality is that there are millions of children world wide who will grow up parentless in institutions. These children are in desperate situations through no fault of their own but because of the country, culture or circumstance in which they were born. I can’t fathom the church taking such a firm stance on adoption, especially since in James it says that “pure religion and undefiled” is caring for the widow and the orphan.)

    If you’re considering adoption as a single (or as a couple) and would like to pick my brain, or if you just think I’m plumb nuts, I’m happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have.

    Have a great day!

  15. themormonbrit on June 13, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Sarah Familia, I agree that the parent(s) desire is important, perhaps even as important as the desires of the child, but I just wanted to express my distaste for when the desires of the parent are placed above the desires of the child. For example, when people think that adopting a young asian orphan would make them look like such a nice person to their friends, or when they adopt a child and exhibit him/her to their friends as if they were some kind of pet. That is what I find disgusting. I agree that the wishes of the parents are important, but only when the wishes of the child are also taken into careful consideration.

  16. FoxyJ on June 13, 2012 at 11:37 am

    There is a woman in my ward who is single and adopted her son about 12 years ago. She didn’t qualify for a LDS Family Services and so went through a domestic agency (you don’t have to go international as a single LDS parent-there are many domestic options as well). She gave a talk once about all the spiritual experiences that lead her to adoption–she was surprised by the promptings, but after confirming with her stake president that there wasn’t any sort of spiritual or ecclesiastical consequence for adopting as a single parent, she decided to do it. She and her son seem like a very happy family and I think this is a good option for other single people to consider.

  17. tres on June 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    The financial responsibilities regarding a hard to place child can be huge because of all the medical needs they may have. As a single parent this can be overwhelming. What I have seen work well, is a long term foster arrangement. Because with a foster parent arrangement the State is still responsible for ALL medical expenses.

    Remember, once the adoption is final all medical expenses are the adoptive parent’s responsibility, and many health care insurance plans do not have good coverage for mental health. Staying a foster parent vs. adopting a child with real medical/mental health needs can help actually have some real benefits.

    Something to think about….

  18. eljee on June 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    The Church doesn’t say that single people can’t adopt. Only that they can’t use LDS Family Services to do so. I know of several single LDS women that have adopted children. I’m sure there are cultural barriers to doing so, but not any official church stance.

    I agree with the restrictions that LDS Family Services has imposed. Though I’m skeptical of #10′s comments because I personally know people with serious health issues (such as a major stroke) who have adopted through LDSFS, and I also know people with serious financial challenges who have adopted through them as well(including one friend who’s dh was unemployed at the time their child was placed with them). His experience sounds like a renegade bad caseworker, not an agency-wide policy. My dh and I have adopted 3 children through LDSFS with no issues.

    LDSFS has restrictions based on marital status and church activity/temple worthiness, but also on number of children. Their specific niche is to cater to infertile couples, and I think that is just fine. At one point the family-size and infertility restrictions were lifted for a few years, and the result was far more waiting families than the agency could handle. I think LDSFS has obligations to birth parents to provide opportunities for sealing to these children.

    I have no problem with single parents adopting in general (whether through IA, foster care, or a domestic agency) and think that having one parent is far better than languishing in an orphanage or in foster care. I think it’s a fabulous option for the child and for the person who wishes to be a parent as long as that person is prepared for the challenges–but being prepared for the challenges applies to couples too. That’s not just a single parent issue.

  19. Diane on June 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    The churches standard two parent family is unrealistic. I would hazard a guess that any child would rather have a single parent than non at all.

    Sure, there are hardships being a single parents, but, there are hardships with a two parent family as well, especially when that two parent family gets divorced.

  20. Diane on June 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    #10)

    Not be rude to you or anyone else(and I certainly don’t believe this at all) but there are many people in the church who believe people who have diabetes, or problems with anxiety to be filled with Satan, So, I bet without really coming out to say it, that’s what there line of thinking was. I’ve actually had that said to me.

  21. Diane on June 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I have one more thing to add. I live my entire Child hood, from age 8 until 18. I’ve been reading some of the comments from people who say you need to be aware of adopting older kids because of the baggage.

    All I have to say is an older child who is waiting to be adopted is no more likely to have any additional baggage than a child who comes from a stable two parent home. The issues are just different.

    The problem as I see it stems from the fact that often times adoptive parents and or foster parents expect children to be “perfect”. There is no perfect child. Not in a regular nuclear family and not one who is waiting for placement.

    Another Problem that often exist is that adoptive and foster parents expect children to bond instantly.( And it may never happen) Sorry, ain’t going to happen and you shouldn’t expect an older child not to talk about their nuclear family, nor want to see and if possible to have a relationship with them. Trust me when I tell you this is healthy, they will eventually come to know who in their family is really looking out for their best interest and who isn’t and will act accordingly

  22. Sue on June 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I too am a single, LDS adoptive mom of two great kids from China. My experience from my wards and the people therein has been all positive. I’ve had some question my decision because of the sealing ordinance, but I mostly just answer with the same answer that is so so prevalent when single women or women without children are addressed in general: “the Lord will take care of it in some future time.” I know, without a doubt, that my children were meant to be in my home and that we are an ‘eternal family’ – I know there are some who may disagree because of the lack of the actual ordinance, but I know it in my heart and soul and that is what matters to me. Seven years into being an adoptive parent…never a look back or question whether it was right.

    What I really want to comment on is the part of this post that is about the LDS church is giving the perception that adoption is the answer for infertile couples, temple worthy couples only. Like another poster, I highly doubt that there is any such official policy…but like the original article states, I do believe that is the general impression of most of the membership in the church. I’ve long yearned to hear a church official state (not even official handbook policy, but maybe in a conference talk or something) that adoption is a beautiful and valid way to form a family for every family to consider (and by the way, singles are still a ‘family’). I’ve challenged multiple friends (married, single, those with kids, those without) to consider adoption – through prayer and study and making a conscious decision about their family formation. Most people who have biological children are shocked at the suggestion…it just seems odd to them to even consider it. I think that is sad. That reaction may not be coming from some kind of actual policy, but I would bet that it is the general feeling of most of the membership. I think the policies of LDS Family Services do promote a certain ‘type’ that should adopt. Of course, it is certainly within the rights of LDSFS to have their requirements and do as they see fit…I just wish that the church members could have a little bigger window to get some perspective through than only that of LDSFS or “the church” (in quotes because I believe the perspective is not offical policy, but cultural norms).

    Finally, many comments here have used words like “ideal” or the “gold standard” to describe the 2-parent home…but then go on to say basically “something is better than nothing” for kids that need to be adopted. I would challenge that approach as well. I don’t discount or discourage in any way 2-parent homes…they are fabulous, I came from one. But I don’t give second class status to those with other kind of home arrangements, like it is some kind of consolation prize. I won’t do it. I have come to the realization that my family is ideal, because it IS the family that I was intended to have…whether that changes in another life or not…this is it. I’m not going to subject my kids to feeling like they got the short end of it because there isn’t a dad in our home. They got a different, unique situation that is just right for them…not a “well its gonna have to do, even though you deserve better” approach. There is too much in the world today of ‘entitlement’ – and too many people feel that they are entitled to some certain life or situation…in my opinion life is about the journey and the experiences and therefor, we are supposed to get exactly what we do get. I challenge people to think twice before calling single parent homes as “less-than”…

  23. Julie M. Smith on June 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    #17, I don’t know where you live, but that isn’t true in Texas. Here, a former foster child will be on Medicaid until 18, even after the adoption is completely finalized.

    “All I have to say is an older child who is waiting to be adopted is no more likely to have any additional baggage than a child who comes from a stable two parent home.”

    I’ve been blogging for +/- 8 years, and this is the most false, most dangerous statement that I have ever read on a blog. It is not true, and no one who is in the field would agree with you. It is dangerous, because it sets potential parents up for false expectations. There are a whole host of conditions that an older child waiting for adoption is more likely to have than a child in a stable two-parent home, most prominently including PTSD and RAD. Please do not make false statements here.

  24. Diane on June 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    @ Julie,

    I have for many years have had to fight your dangerous stereotypes. (i.e) Foster children are more likely to be drug addicts, alcoholics, suffer from depression. And neither do any of my siblings (for that matter) My two brothers are also very successful. Two former Navy men. One brother was an Air Traffic Controller and the other one an Engineer on a Nuclear Submarine and now works at a Engineering firm in Scotland. I’m not working right now due to disability, bleeding disorder. And while, I may have problems with panic and anxiety this disorder had nothing to do with my experience in foster Care. Rather it is the result of being on high doses of steroids over the past few years. Really, doctors need to a better job at educating patients with regard to prolonged steroid use. I would have never agreed to use it had I know the side effect. (but that’s neither here nor there. I can also tell you that my brother’s and I are all college educated. My brother (engineer) has gone the furthest with MBA) And I’m four credits away from a Bachelors’)

    I have neither of those problems, yet, I have class mates who came from stable two parent families who have had brushes with the law for murder and a drug bust. These were kids from middle class backgrounds, who took great delight in bullying me because I was the only child in foster care (besides my two brothers.)

    In fact my social Workers like you said, that my one brother would likely be a nobody, but, as it turned out he is a somebody, and her own son turned out to be a high school drop out.

    Basically, what I’m telling you, is that Every Child is different, Each one can be a success in their own right right. What children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted is someone with a already built in preconceived notion like you that they are dangerous fragile, and mentally imbalanced. What is dangerous is supposedly professional people like yourself lumping all kids under the same umbrella. Ugh 45 years old and still beating down nasty stereotypes like yours. Whatever. I think your the dangerous one.

  25. Sarah Familia on June 13, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Julie and Diane, let’s please be nice and respectful :). Important things can still be said with more sensitivity to the feelings of others. In fact, they’re usually more convincing that way.

  26. Diane on June 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    BTW the class mate who was arrested for murder was the daughter of the high school Chemistry teacher.

  27. Diane on June 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Sarah

    I agree with you, but, when someone calls you dangerous because your relating your experience as a child of foster care waiting for adoption, That’s well really insensitive, as well as rude (especially coming from a supposed social worker)

    I’m sure there are many more successful foster care children as well, only you never hear about them.

  28. Julie M. Smith on June 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Diane, anecdotal evidence isn’t really helpful here. You said that children awaiting adoption are “no more likely to have any additional baggage than a child who comes from a stable two parent home” and that is simply not true.

    I think where we may be talking past each other is this: I am _not_ suggesting that foster children are irredeemable or destined for failure. (I’ve seen absolute miracles happen in part due to dedicated adoptive parents.) It sounds as if you have experienced people who have written off foster children, and that is a tragedy. But it would be equally tragic to give people the very false message that children coming out of foster care don’t need extra help to address their deficits. That myth only harms the children and sets the adults up to fail as parents.

  29. Diane on June 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Julie,

    I never said what you are implying, its you who have said that. All I’ve said is that children in foster care are no more bad, or good than their counterparts. Those are two totally separate topics and I won’t allow you to say that because I was in foster care that I’m not as good as you because you came from a two parent family. That’s professional bias as well as societal bias.(well heck let’s just add church bias)

    Do some have additional problems? Absolutely, but, no more so than children who come from middle and upper middle class families do. (mostly entitlement issues) The difference is that they are labeled differently, and because these families have money and access their children are looked at differently than children in foster care often are. As far as needing additional services, hmm! I transferred to different high school because my foster father was a falling down drunk.(Social Workers did a great job screening ) In that school my guidance counselors were ones who designed to specifically help foster children in the area. I can tell you they offered no more counseling than they did to regular high school students. All it did was advertise the fact that I a “foster”.

    And again, discounting my experience as anecdotal is another attempt on your part not only to disparage me, but, the children that you represent and is rude and condescending. Sorry, but, you are once again, trying to talk at me and tell me that I am an abnormality and I’m quite sure that I am not and neither are my siblings. And like I said above, I’m quite sure there are many more who are like me and my siblings. But, I expect nothing less from a Social Worker. Sorry

    Your making some pretty broad brush strokes and I don’t have respect for social workers who do that.

    Children in foster care face the same problems and bias that dogs in animals shelters do. Everyone assumes that they have some bad mojo. And its simply not the case, I know because I’ve adopted the sweetest dog who also happened to be the victim of abuse and neglect the same as me. Did he have problems when I brought him home. Absolutely, but with time and patience he has turned out to be the sweetest dog in the neighborhood. Everyone loves and adores him And before anyone says anything, no, I’m not comparing children to animals but, scared children and scared dogs come with the same “baggage” this makes them neither bad, nor good. They need time to let their light come.

  30. Erin Olsen on June 14, 2012 at 2:51 am

    I can’t imagine that I can reclaim the conversation after the Julie/Diane discussion, but I’m gonna try.

    As James mentioned some pile of comments ago, we are in the midst of an adoption and I just wanted to force the conversation to the miraculous nature of bringing children into the world AND into your family through adoption. The first seems to be talked about constantly and the second seems to be lost with discussion lost on adoption expense and therapy expenses overtaking the sounding board.

    Along with the added selfless nature that parenthood gives your life (that some adopted moms have mentioned they were searching for above) there are more possibilities to see the hand of God in your life as you bring children into your world both biologically and through adoption. We have 4 children biologically and yet this experience of adoption has brought as so many shocking miracles that we were not anticipating. The process has been just as transformational as gaining 40 pounds and feeling those precious kicks as we unite for something in prayer and in action of preparing a house and learning a new language.

    Who cares if it is the hardest thing you have ever done or if it comes with a high price tag or if you have to study hard to be prepared or if it will tremendously shift your life’s schedule. Isn’t that what we all sign up for with each and every real choice we make. Aren’t these the same discouragements that people whisper in your ear for not getting married or pursuing a higher degree or even starting a rigorous exercise program? The stuff that matters hurts and changes us, thanks be to God.

    I’m sure that there are people who aren’t suited for adoption, but I think we should discourage it at the same rate that we do elective exploratory surgery and not at the rate of bungee jumping.

  31. ESO on June 14, 2012 at 7:27 am

    It’s nice to see so many single adoptive moms on this thread–they all sound very very positive.

  32. Julie M. Smith on June 14, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Diane, I am not sure, but I think you think that I am a social worker. This is not true.

    I, like Erin, am not sure this conversation is reclaimable, so I’d just encourage you (and anyone else who might be swayed by your statements) to do some research into the outcomes for children who spend time in foster care before you make any more claims.

    Once again, I’d like to re-iterate that it is **NOT** my position that former foster children are irredeemable. It is my position that their parents and other caregivers need to be very, very aware of the special challenges that they face so that they can best help them.

  33. Mark B. on June 14, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I think it’s the chemistry. My dad was a professor of chemistry at BYU and all my siblings and I are psychopaths.

  34. Diane on June 14, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Julie,

    Once again you are making statements that are simply false. You claim to be an expert because of your many years of blogging. However, Just because you blog does not make you an expert in this field.

    Once again, you intimate that children in foster care are in great need of special services and I’m here to tell you and others that is simply not the case. That would be true if you wanted to specifically adopt “special needs” but, that that would be disclosed, However, Not every child in foster care is in need of specialized care. And for you to make such an outlandish claim is absolutely ridiculous. Some children in foster care simply because they were were out of other options(I.E) no other family member either able, nor willing to care for them You really need to stop with the Histrionic Language tactics that you are employing in this thread. You are being dismissive as well as marginally no only my accomplishments, but, others as well. CBS nightly New recently did a piece on a young lady (foster care, her parents dumped her in the middle of no where, she now lives with a woman, she works before going to school in the morning and in the afternoon. She’s class Valedictorian, President of the Spanish Club, as well as a few others. She’s off to Harvard in the Fall..) How many of you can say that about your own kids.?

    There are many more motivated kids in foster Care just like her. Just like myself, Just like my brother.

  35. Ardis E. Parshall on June 14, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Oh, give it a rest, Diane. Julie isn’t making the claims — “an expert because of your many years of blogging” among them — that you accuse her of. If anything, you’re making yourself an unwitting illustration in her favor.

    At least I now understand Mark B. :)

  36. Diane on June 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Ardis

    She certainly has made a claim to be an “expert in the field.” And she clearly is not, all she is is blogger with an opinion.

    And All I’m giving is factual evidence. Otherwise, this post is just ludicrous just like your obvious bias response.

  37. GMH on June 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I have been a single parent by adoption to my two daughters for going on 11 years now and I know several of the other women who posted above – all of whom are excellent parents. I would say that most singles I know who are adoptive parents are fantastic parents – I know many (both women and men) who have done so both in and out of the church, but the majority are women. I would estimate that the ratio of excellent to poor quality is about the same ratio seen in two-parent families.

    Personally, single-parenthood is all I know, so to me it’s the best way, but it is not even remotely for everyone – regardless of desire/income. I believe the same for adoption to two-parent families – just because you “can” doesn’t mean it’s right for anyone. Before pursuing adoption, you should search deeply for true feelings on race if adopting outside of your own – this is often taken lightly and should never be overlooked. You should talk with adult adoptees – with both good/bad upbringings to examine areas where you can improve or to realize that some obstacles are just too much. Adopting special-needs raises another set of questions throughout the process.

    I trace my desire to adopt back to LDSFS speaking in my college ward (in hindsight – they were speaking to us as potential birthparents and not as adoptive parents). I asked the woman about adoption as a single and she recoiled in shock at my question and told me that wouldn’t be allowed because then the baby couldn’t be sealed to me. My thought was that the baby/child WOULD be raised in the gospel and surely that was a bonus. That set me on a path to questioning whether it was good and it turns out that adoption as a single was/is good – for me. If we truly believe that all blessings are to be granted to the faithful who don’t receive them in this life, why should I let the timing of the sealing determine the course of a life?

    I would honestly say that our family is better-adjusted and more highly-functioning than many of the two-parent families who fill our pews. We contribute and serve without ceasing – there is love and joy in our home. The hardest part is knowing that it’s all on me, but that could have happened if I had started out with a spouse. We’ve lived in the US and abroad as a single-parent family and I’ve served as auxiliary leader many times while being a full-time mom / full-time employee. There are tough days, yes, but most are so insanely rewarding that I can’t imagine another way.

    I would also willingly answer any questions on it, but would caution anyone who knows a single member who may be in the age range where this becomes a possibility. Please don’t go up to them and ask if they would consider adoption because they haven’t found someone yet – I have seen several people very hurt when a well-meaning member pointed me out to them as an example of an alternate path to their lives. If, however, they come to you and seek your opinion, please do let them know that a number of good women/men have pursued single parenthood as a member of the church – and we love our lives.

  38. Ardis E. Parshall on June 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Diane, thank you. You made the point much better than I ever could have done. Over and out.

  39. Sonny on June 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I am not an expert in social work or adoption, but from all that I have read over the years about adoption from orphanages completely supports what Julie is saying.

    Anecdotally, we have some very dear friends that decided to adopt an older child from an overseas orphanage. There most definitely were issues that were extremely difficult to deal with from a behavioral and mental health perspective, and our friends patiently tried to deal with and work through the issues. It proved to be too difficult.

    I say this NOT to dissuade these types of adoptions. I am sure that they perhaps work out most of the time and all are happier for it. However, I think it is incredibly misleading to say that these adoptions carry no more risk that a child raised in a two person nuclear family.

  40. Karen on June 19, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I am a LDS, single mom of three. In fact I just returned home from China less than two weeks ago with my third daughter. My kids are a huge blessing in my life. SDavis’ post is exactly how I feel as well.

  41. WSL on June 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I have read this thread of comments for several days, and find it very interesting. I want to thank the author for adding the post script mentioning men who adopt. I am a single LDS adoptive father. Today is my son’s sixth birthday, and he has been with me for almost five years. It has been an incredible experience, and I have had great support from within the Church. In the beginning I thought I might face some problems but the folks in both wards I have attended have been very positive. I gave my son a blessing not long after I brought him home, and I will baptize him in two years.

    The only issue I have faced was in Sunday School, when my son was in the nursery and then for the first year of Primary. Right after we moved into a new ward I had to stay with him because not only were the people new to him, but the routine was slightly different (they moved from one room to another twice rather than just staying in one location). I was told that I couldn’t be alone with the class, whereas women were allowed to be alone. At first I thought this was because I was single, but then I understood that it applied to all men.

  42. Jon on June 20, 2012 at 6:10 am

    China is one of those countries that aborts girls/commits infanticide mostly on girls. In many provinces in China the ratio of girls to boys is 1 to 10. They need their girls. I think it’s irresponsible for American to adopt Chinese girls.

  43. Sue on June 20, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Jon, I have adopted a son and a daughter from China. Both were abandoned children living in an orphanage. China’s social policy may need to be examined, but that is the responsibility of China’s government. The cultural bias favoring boys over girls may also factor in. China has deep roots in its culture and beliefs…as many societies do. Changing a cultural tradition or belief is not something that comes quickly, especially to a culture that is many thousands of years old. I would argue to you however that the adoption by American families of girl babies from China’s more than a billion people population is hardly the cause of China’s “ratio issues” and also whether you have accurately described them or not. If China needs these girls, then what would the solution be? To grow up in an orphanage until they are 14 (the age that they no longer are eligible for adoption in China) because that way when they are released from the care of the orphanage they will be physically in China in order to serve the “needs” of China? Of course you are welcome to your opinion, but I have a very different view and don’t believe that I, or many other good, kind, loving peple that I know have acted irresponsibly.

    By the way WSL, I loved hearing from an adoptive single dad! Awesome.

  44. Brianna on June 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    To LBK, Michael, and Diane (and anyone else who wonders), LDS Family Services does let you adopt if you have Diabetes. I am a diabetic and have been for 15 years, and I am also a mother to a beautiful little girl who we are able to adopt through LDS Family Services. And we are waiting to adopt again. You do have to have a check up by a doctor, which is pretty normal for all adoption agencies, so unless your doctor said you were in very poor health and ready to die soon, you’ll be okay. There are many hoping to adopt through LDS Family Services, and while they do have some guidelines that are more strict than other agencies, they also offer very low rates (thanks to the Church), and some incredible experiences.

  45. momofthree on July 13, 2012 at 12:43 am

    I have three children-one bio from my prior marriage and two adopted from foster care. I took both of my girls home from the hospital and they are healthy well-adjusted kids. My medical training has allowed me to care for medically fragile children, which is why I wanted to do foster care in the first place. I have had several babies in my home with various medical concerns and actually took care of my girls as they were going through withdrawls. I have been blessed beyond belief as a single parent although I have had to listen to my share of rude comments like “it’s really too bad the Brown family can’t adopt that baby” even when I know that I am more financially and emotionally secure than many families with two incomes. I knew that those girls needed to be in my family…and who knows, there might be more. Just as an fyi, they are closed adoptions, although I don’t mind trying to find parents if girls were ever interested. I have met all parents involved. They both get dshs insurance until 18 regardless of my income. Foster adoptions cost very little, and the state will provide money every month to care for kids with special needs. Very affordable, and as mother theresa said, we only need to look in our own backyard to find the less fortunate.