Can single men adopt? The answer is a resounding YES! The percentage of single men adopting from foster care is small, but is reportedly growing. An interesting article in the New York Times explores this trend and the reasons behind it.
Here are just a few highlights from the article. But trust us when we say that the story of Steve and his newly adopted son, Quinton shouldn’t be missed. They beautifully and eloquently put a “face” to the importance of this change in the demographics of foster care adoption.
Pinpointing national adoption statistics is difficult, since adoptions occur through a variety of channels including foster care and private agencies and between individuals. According to numbers released in June 2016 from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis & Reporting System, of the nearly 428,000 children in foster care, 53,549 were adopted with public child welfare agency involvement. In the majority of cases (68 percent), married couples adopt children from foster care, followed by single females (26 percent). Three percent are unmarried couples, and the remaining 3 percent are single males.
Although the percentage is low, Kathy Ledesma, national project director for AdoptUSKids, a project of the Department of Health & Human Services U.S. Children’s Bureau, said it represents a small increase — adoption by single males had been at 2 percent for many years.
Several factors come into play that explain why more single men don’t adopt.
“Historically, white married people adopted. But over the course of several decades, that paradigm has shifted,” says Adam Pertman, president of the Massachusetts-based National Center on Adoption and Permanency and author of “Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming Our Families — and America.” Mr. Pertman cited changing attitudes, prejudices and societal shifts as having an impact on adoption. “Men didn’t perceive themselves as the right single parent and society didn’t perceive them as the right single parent. That is definitely changing,” he said. “It’s not a boom of a change. It’s an incremental one.”
There has been a subtle prejudice in the child welfare system in favor of married couples or single women because of the belief that children need mothers more than they need fathers, and that children are safer with women than they are with men. That prejudice is beginning to lift.