Can a single, straight person adopt?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Whether or not a single straight person can adopt a child varies depending on the laws of the state. Your chance of success may also be different based on whether you want to arrange a public or private adoption, and whether you want to adopt an infant or an older child, such as a foster child. In general, while it may be more difficult for a single person to adopt, single parent adoption is becoming more acceptable.

The Rules for Single Parent Adoption

In general, it is more difficult for a single person to adopt a child because adoption agencies prefer to place children in two parent homes. When an adoption agency is used, birth mothers who have a wide variety of adoptive families to choose from may also opt for couples over a single mother. A married couple raising a child is generally considered to be the most normal and stable environment for the children to develop and grow. When a couple is hoping to adopt an older child, such as through the foster care system, there may also be a preference for married couples over single parent adoption.

However, that isn’t to say that single people can never adopt. Adoption agencies and the courts have become more open to the idea, and while some states used to have laws against single parent adoption, this is generally no longer the case. Further, with certain types of children, such as older children and special needs children, a large percentage of adoptions actually are single parent adoptions. 

The bottom line is that it is possible, and legal, for a single parent to adopt and many adoption agencies have also become more open to the idea.

Getting Help

If you wish to adopt a child as a single person, you should consult with a lawyer to find out your legal rights. An attorney can also help you explore the concept of a private adoption, which may be another option that makes it easier for a single parent to be able to adopt a child. 

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