In Ohio, there is a retail shop that features large pictures of children waiting to be adopted. Often mistaken for a photography studio, A Child’s Waiting Foster Care and Adoption Program, encourages single adoptive parents to “browse” their selection of children who are waiting to be adopted. Banners hung above the store front and inside the store boast ads and encourage potential single adoptive parents to sign up for adoption-themed coffee mugs, bags, pens, book markers as well as other items from AdoptOhio and other counties. The staff rotate shifts of employees and incorporate the help of volunteers to keep the store open seven days a week. They also offer training and agency sponsored meetings at the store for those who want to learn more about adoption. For a single adoptive parent now, adopting a child is as easy as walking into a store.
Radio stations ran ads and other advertisements that resulted in phone inquiries about these children. Over forty families submitted applications to adopt after responding to the adoption store. The founders, sisters Jennifer and Crissy, started A Child’s Waiting in January of 2000 to help waiting families and waiting children find each other more quickly. Theirs is a phenomenon that will certainly take on a larger shape in the future.
Whether an adoptive parents committee offers general support or specific advice, single adoptive parents attest to the benefits of being associated with such a group of individuals. Potential single adoptive parents have much to gain from the experience of other adoptive parents. Talking with other families and learning about cultural topics as well as acting out help the adjustment phase of adopting a child. The adjustment phase happens whether the child is an infant, has special needs or is a different race or ethnic background than the single adoptive parents. This group of individuals eventually can become like an extended family to the single parent, providing strong support and an outlet to voice concerns and joys. The children need support, too. In some cases, the adopted children may feel that they were overall unwanted, but taken in anyway by someone else. This can cause negative expressions of acting out and hurting themselves or others. Adoptive children also sometimes insist on knowing who their birth parents are and some actually look for them! This can cause many adoptive parents to hurt and grief all over again for their child, feeling rejection and anger for them. Children benefit from knowing other children who have been adopted. They can share their feelings and concerns and feel safe in doing so.
Single adoptive parents have many hurdles to overcome, however. There are many that feel the only appropriate upbringing is that which includes a two parent family, more specifically, a man and a woman who are married, living together and have the financial resources to sustain an addition to their family. This is becoming a thing of the past, however as many single adoptive parents have shown their commitment to providing loving, caring homes to children waiting for just that.