Zen and The Art of Single Parenting

minime0910 | Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Links to this post
November is Adoption Awareness Month. It's a great opportunity to raise awareness about the miracle of adoption and the hundreds of thousands of kids all over the world in foster care and/or orphanages who are waiting for their forever homes. 

In the past, the stigma of single parenting prevented the adoption of many children who were desperately in need of a loving home.  Today, the adoption picture has changed, and includes an ever-increasing number of single parents by choice.  Even celebrities like Angelina Jolie (whose adopted children are from Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Cambodia) and Meg Ryan (whose baby girl is from China) chose to adopt as single parents.

Why do single parents chose adoption?  For the same reasons as married couples.  Mainly, because they want to nurture and raise a child and seek to have a loving family unit. Many singles hoping to adopt children are doing so because they feel they had a wonderful childhood and want to give that to another child.

However, even as single parent adoption continues to grow (and research citing the benefits of single parent adoption continues to mount), there are still those that argue against single parent adoptions. 

Despite the greater acceptance of single parent adoption, the traditional view of parenting, that a child needs a mother and a father for healthy growth and development, still exists.

Before I delve into the benefits and disadvantages of single parenting, in the interest of full disclosure, it must be noted that I myself am a single adoptive parent.  In February of 2010, at the age of 28, I traveled to Shymkent, Kazakhstan to adopt a beautiful 6 month old daughter, Hannah Elizabeth.  When I joyfully announced the adoption to family and friends, I expected to be met with encouragement and elation.  Most of my family members and friends were ecstatic; however, the announcement was met by some with skepticism and concern.  I was disheartened, but undeterred.  I KNEW in my heart that I could do it.  And I knew in my head that marital status does not play into one’s ability to parent. 

Single parenting has been the most challenging, rewarding, chaotic, joyous, exhausting, eye-opening experience in my life thus far.  Here is what I have learned.  Here are our truths, and our reality. 

The truth is, single parenting is expensive. 

The reality is that single adoptive parents are usually of higher education and have higher incomes in comparison to the country's average. They have concentrated on their careers and have established a stable home that would benefit a child.

The truth is children benefit from two parent families.

The reality is that children benefit from families, regardless of structure.  Single, adoptive parents provide a home with more stability than many other families that have been compromised by divorce, death, illness, etc.  And single or married, everyone needs a support system of family and friends to help with the everyday challenges of parenting.

The truth is a child needs to be raised by parents of both sexes

The reality is that it IS important for girls to have adult males to relate to and for boys to have adult females to relate to. However, this person does not necessarily have to be a parent; it could be a close friend or family member of the opposite sex.

The truth is single parenting is HARD.

The reality is that parenting is hard.  It is a delicate balance between cherishing every single second with your sweet child and counting the seconds until nap time.  The joy of watching your children learn to walk, talk, and grow is sometimes eclipsed by the piles of laundry, dishes in the sink, and beds that need made.  Good parenting is a growth process for everyone, single or married. 

But the reality is also that my life began the day I met my daughter.   This tiny, demanding person came into my life and somehow moved my soul to dance.

The reality is that a day does not go by that I do not feel immeasurably blessed to have her in my life.

The reality is that the universe unfolds perfectly as it should.  I was meant to be her mother, and she was meant to be my daughter. 

Single or married, may each of you find as much joy and happiness in your families as I have found in mine. 

Erin Herman, adoptive mom of Hannah, Shymkent Kazakhstan Class of 2010 :-)

3 responses to "Zen and The Art of Single Parenting"

  1. Love it, Erin!!

  2. She is so cute!

  3. Excellent article. Several things occurred to me as I read your article and I posted some of my thoughts on my blog.........

Post a Comment