Finding a match through open adoption is hard enough, even for hopeful adoptive couples. But when you’re trying to adopt on your own as a single adoptive parent, it can be especially tough. Conventional wisdom suggests that most prospective birthparents favor two parents over a single one when it comes to choosing a family for their child.
So, confronted with that kind of challenge, what’s a single hopeful parent to do? I asked Melissa, one of the single hopeful parents on our Find A Family Parent Profile page, what she’s been doing to stand out from the crowd and at the same time close the gap between herself and couples hoping to adopt.
A teacher in Staten Island, New York, Melissa has a huge support network, a flexible work schedule that allows her two months off a year, and is working with the Independent Adoption Center. Still, as a single adoptive parent applicant, she and others like her face an uphill battle in their quest to connect with prospective birthparents.
My interview with Melissa is the latest in our ongoing series with hopeful adoptive parents from our Find A Family page. Here are the others:
- Don and Preetha: The Challenges A South Asian Couple Is Facing In Open Adoption
- Andrea and Scott: Online Adoption Networking: What We’ve Done
- Tracy and Micah: How Our Adoption Outreach Plan Got 500+ Facebook Likes
- Susan and Mitch: How We’re Reaching Out To Expectant Parents Considering Adoption
Melissa, what kind of reaction do you get when you tell people you’re adopting?
Most people I’ve told are really excited for me and have been really supportive. Family, friends and co-workers have offered help which ranges from babysitting offers to car seats.
Do you feel that people judge you unfairly just because you’re adopting as a single parent?
I don’t feel I get judged in a negative way because I’m single, but that may be because I don’t spend time with people who would be negative about me adopting. Life is too short, and the process is too hard for me to surround myself with people who are not loving and supportive.
What do you want people to know about you?
I want people to know that I love my life and want to share it with my child. My family and friends are a loving and diverse group of people who are excited to welcome a new person into their lives. I have lots of interests including nature, art, history, and culture. My child will grow up being enriched by my interests, just as I will celebrate and embrace the interests of my child. I believe having compassion for others is crucial to making the world a better place. I believe in respecting people and the planet and plan to raise my child with those values.
How do you deal with people who don’t get what you’re doing?
A few people have said to me, “Your life is really going to change. Are you read for that? Have you thought about that?” I think people ask those questions out of concern, but of course I’ve thought about it. The decision to adopt a child is the biggest decision I’ll ever make. I gave it lots of thought and am excited for the changes adopting a child will bring to my life and to my family. I feel so secure in my decision I don’t feel upset when people are afraid for me or question me, I just let them know I thought long and hard before making a decision, and I have amazing family and friends who are there to support me.
How do you decide who to tell and who not to tell?
When I first started the adoption process I talked to my family and closest friends about it. As the process has continued I feel more comfortable telling people. Many people at my job now know. The people I decide to tell are people I care about, and people who I know have my best interest at heart.
What have you found has been the best source of information for you and why — the internet, people or books?
The best source of information for me has been people. I found finding information on the internet overwhelming. There is so much out there and sometimes I didn’t know where to begin. I’m not much of a computer person, so getting information from other people directly made more sense for me.
Was it hard to find an agency?
Finding an agency was hard. The first step was deciding whether to try International Adoption, or Domestic. That decision took lots of thought and research.
What made you decide to go with the agency you did?
When I decided to try open adoption I picked an agency that worked with a really diverse group of hopeful adoptive parents. The diversity made me feel comfortable. I didn’t feel like the odd one out because I’m single.
Who do you turn to on a bad adoption day?
There are bad adoption days? Just kidding, wow are there bad adoption days! The bad days have made me realize how lucky I am to have the wonderful people I have in my life, family, friends and co-workers. I’ve turned to all of them during hard times. The other person who has been more helpful than I can say is my homestudy worker. She always seems to know what to say to put things in perspective and help my mood become more positive. I’d be having a very different experience without her.
How do you stay strong and focused?
Staying strong would be great, but it doesn’t always happen. This is such a long, difficult process that sometimes I don’t feel stong at all. There is so much waiting and uncertainty, I try to stay patient, and believe that the child that is meant to be with me will be. As far as focused, so much thought and work goes into adopting that I think the focus is naturally there. I try to focus on other aspects of life too because I think that makes the waiting easier.
Do you have an adoption story?
Share it with us any time. If you’re a hopeful adoptive parent, adoptive parent, birthparent or adoptee with a connection to open adoption, we’d love to hear your story. Submit it here or learn more by checking out our Guidelines For Guest Posts at America Adopts!