For single parents contemplating adoption, it is important to know the available options. In foster care and domestic adoptions, single-parent households are welcome, but with international adoption, it’s more complicated. Several countries limit intercountry adoption to couples, but there are a number of countries open to single parents. Such as:
India welcomes single parent adoption with a few restrictions. Prospective parents must be 45 years old or younger at dossier submittal to adopt a child up to 4 years old, up to 50 years old to adopt a child between the ages of 4-8, and a maximum of 55 years old to adopt a child age 8 or older. Single women are permitted to adopt either a boy or a girl, but single men are limited to only boys. Children available for adoption are between 6 months to 14 years of age with minor, correctable, or more moderate to significant lifelong needs. The average time to adopt from India is roughly 7-11 months from dossier submission to travel.
China has a long history of intercountry adoption, and since 2011 the country has welcomed single women to adopt. Prospective parents must be at least 30 years old and can have no more than a 50-year difference between them and the child. Children are between 7 months to 13 years of age with moderate to lifelong needs. If open to gender, wait times may decrease as there are more boys in need of homes than girls. Single men are not permitted to adopt from China at this time. The average time to adopt from China is roughly 12-24 months from dossier submission to travel.
Bulgaria is another country to consider for a single-parent household. Both single men and women are permitted to adopt children of either gender. Prospective parents must be between the ages of 23 and 49 to adopt a child 5 years old or younger. Single parents between the ages of 50 and 55 may adopt a child age five or older. Children are between the ages of 2 to 14 years old, and sibling groups are quite common. Children may have a broad range of special needs from minor, medically correctable, to developmental delays. The average time to receive a referral to adopt from Bulgaria is roughly 12-24 months from dossier submission.
South America welcomes single parent adoption, and both men and women may adopt. Prospective parents must be between the ages of 25 and 45 to adopt a child under 5, or a sibling group in which the oldest child is under 7. Parents who are 46 to 50 years old may adopt a 5-year-old or older, or a sibling group in which the oldest child is over 7. Available children are between the ages of 3 months and 15 years at referral, although school-age children are the bulk of referrals. The average time to receive a referral to adopt from Columbia is roughly 6-12 months from dossier submission.
Last but not least, Haiti is a wonderful option for single parents. Both single men and women are permitted to adopt from Haiti and must be between the ages of 35–49. Children available for adoption are between the infancy age to 15, with minor to severe needs, and age 6 and up for healthy children. Sibling groups in Haiti are common. The average time to adopt from Haiti is roughly 30-36 months from dossier submission to travel.
Jennifer S. Jones is a writer, performer, storyteller and arts educator. She holds an MFA (Playwriting) from NYU Tisch. She has written numerous plays including the internationally renowned, award-winning Appearance of Life. Her amazing transracial transcultural family was created through adoption from China and India. She is passionate about the adoption community and talks about the ins and outs, ups and downs, joys and “is this really us?!” whenever she can. She writes about her experiences at www.letterstojack.com.