Single-Parent Adoption

Should I, as a single parent, be thinking seriously about adopting another child? How does your ministry feel about this?

The rising number of displaced children is a matter of pressing concern to the Focus staff. At present there are more than 100,000 boys and girls in the United States who need a permanent home. Most of them are older kids who have spent years in foster care. Some have learning disabilities and other challenges. Many of them will outgrow the foster care system without ever having had a mother or a father. Through our Wait No More® Foster Care and Adoption Program, we are doing everything we can to make the Church aware of this crisis and to help God’s people to take an active role in meeting the need.

Given the urgency of the situation, it seems only reasonable that we should encourage those who feel motivated and qualified to explore the option of adopting, regardless of their marital status. In a general sense, this is exactly the view we take.

We recognize that many single adults, including members of the clergy, have made heroic efforts to take some of these older children into their homes, often with great success. We have nothing but admiration for these selfless individuals – men and women who open their hearts and homes out of an honest conviction that every child needs the unconditional love of another human being, and that a permanent home headed by a single-parent is generally a much preferred alternative to state-sponsored foster care. We stand ready to support these single moms and dads in any way we can.

That being said, Focus on the Family remains committed to the belief that the two-parent home – founded on a loving marriage relationship between one man and one woman – is the optimum environment for every child. Moms and dads are innately different, and each is necessary. This is God’s design for the family, and we are convinced that it represents the best arrangement for all concerned. To negate the importance of this long-standing family structure in the raising of children is to experiment with the very core of society, something that we do at our peril. Not only is this truth established in Scripture, but the evidence is clear in the many studies that demonstrate that children do best in all measurable ways when they are in stable homes with a mother and a father.

That’s why, as most single moms and dads would be the first to say, single-parenting is a stiff challenge even under the most favorable circumstances. In light of this, we would counsel anyone who is considering this option to proceed prayerfully and with great care. Single women need to be aware that it isn’t easy to raise kids – especially boys – without a man in the home. Academic research has demonstrated the indispensable nature of a father’s protective influence. It’s an influence that a woman can’t supply on her own, and it contributes to virtually every measure of domestic well-being. Unmarried females who are considering adoption will want to give this aspect of the situation some serious thought before moving ahead. In this regard, we would recommend reading Chapter 10 of Bringing Up Boys, “Single Parents and Grandparents,” authored by Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family.

Of course, on the flip side, single men must consider how they will compensate for a lack of the “nurturing” aspects that a mother brings to the home and parenting. Mothers are more likely to focus on providing emotional comfort and security, as well as stimulating the development of relational skills. They often are more sympathetic to a child’s concerns and can provide the gentle encouragement needed to fortify youngsters against the challenges of their world. Both gender roles are of immeasurable significance, and an individual must consider how to address these concerns in a creative and intentional way as he or she evaluates whether to become a single parent.

We can’t close without observing that, from our point of view, single-parent adoption is something very different from adoption by homosexual couples. We unequivocally oppose homosexual adoption on moral grounds. We believe that such living arrangements are inherently immoral and are detrimental to the well-being of children. Not only does this situation deprive a child of healthy, heterosexual role models, but it runs counter to God’s design for the family.

For further insight into this subject, we recommend that you get a copy of Handbook on Thriving As an Adoptive Family by David Sanford.


If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Love and Loss in Foster Care: Embracing the Fear, Heartache and Joy in the Uncertain Journey of Foster Care and Adoption

The Whole Life Adoption Book

Adoption & Foster Care (resource list)

Fostering or Adopting Children From Difficult Backgrounds (resource list)


Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption Program: Wait No More®

Adoptive Families

Lifesong for Orphans

The Adoption Journey (includes lists of books, broadcasts, articles and referrals)


Attachment and Bonding

Adoption From Foster Care

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