Adoption for Singles?

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2ndViolinist

Puritan Board Freshman
Brothers and sisters,

Suppose a single man or woman desired to be married and have children but never ended up marrying. Even if they had the ability to work at home and provide for two, would it be unadvisable to adopt?

I'm not thinking of anyone in particular as I ask this question. I'm just musing.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
Could they be a mother and a father at the same time? I don't think so. I am not sure how the ramifications would be different than those from broken households.
 

Leslie

Puritan Board Junior
When I was sending Ethiopian babies for adoption, I saw a number of single Moms adopting---one of them had multiple kids. Generally agencies allow single females to adopt but not single males because of the risk of pedophilia. I was not able to follow any of these adoptions long-term. In one case, a young woman was approaching 30, always wanted to be a mother, but never met anyone suitable. Her parents supported her adoption, allowing her to be a stay-at-home mother for some months. I personally think it is a good idea, particularly if there is a large extended family so that uncles and cousins can be father-figures.
 

2ndViolinist

Puritan Board Freshman
Of course it is ideal for children to be reared in Christian households with mothers and fathers, but in our fallen world, this is not always possible. Even traditional "nuclear" families are devastated by untimely deaths that leave husbands and wives widowed.

Yes, I would say that it is better for a Christian husband-wife duo to adopt children than a single Christian*, but is it better for children to remain in orphanages than be adopted by the latter who may genuinely care for these childrens' souls?

And yet I still hesitate to definitively say that I think it's perfectly fine. Are there any passages in Scripture that might shed light on this?

*I meant to put "Christian" in my OP.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Single Christian women throughout history have done a great deal in society to care for orphans and others in need (in Protestant recent history, think of Helen Rosaveare who worked with orphans -- many of whom, if I'm remembering what I read, called/thought of her as 'mom': you don't have to found a whole orphanage to mother orphans). I would maybe speak to your pastor about it if you have a desire? I think any single mom would need support from a community in various ways. But I don't see anything in Scripture that precludes it? -- and singleness is often a gift that allows one to focus on needs that exist outside of usual family structures. The church very much needs the ministry of its singles in world, quite as much as the married.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Then you have a treat in store :)

Re: Scriptures: in principle, I think the fact that Lydia is spoken of in terms of a spiritual head of a household (Acts 16:15) would lend support to the work of single women with orphans? The principle being that single Christian women in a position to do so are able to be (even spiritually) responsible for others in the home, in the ways a particular culture allows. Our culture allows single women to care for children by adoption: Lydia's might not have allowed her to adopt (men usually adopted men in Roman culture: I'm not sure if that was true throughout the empire?) -- but her household may have included slaves, which we hold to be far from ideal! So Lydia had an opportunity to share the gospel through the same societal structures that others were abusing (v. 16).

It's not unusual in reformed circles that a single woman would be supported to go to a foreign country and work with orphans as they are able to do there: but orphans everywhere need care and proportionally few single Christian women can go to a foreign country. There is elder oversight/care on the mission field or at home, in a reformed setting. Maybe it's not a wise option for a particular woman or in the case of a particular child, but the same can be said of adoption for married couples.

I think it should be about sharing the gospel and the need of the child though, not primarily about the need of the single woman. If we are seeking to meet our own needs in such matters, it will easily end in the same restless, hungry heartache with which it began, only perhaps compounded -- adoption can bring some specially brutal struggles. I have observed a few times that women who need children to be happy are not happy with children (I say this as someone who knows that struggle inside out). As mothers they still have to learn to find contentment in Christ. Whereas women I know who've learned to find joy in Christ without children, and despite that ongoing pain, have been joyful moms -- in spite of new difficulties.
 
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