Published online Sep 20, 2018. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v8.i3.83
Peer-review started: June 22, 2018
First decision: July 19, 2018
Revised: July 23, 2018
Accepted: August 5, 2018
Article in press: August 5, 2018
Published online: September 20, 2018
It was once impossible anywhere in the world for single adults to adopt children, and this is still the case in many jurisdictions. Elsewhere, however, single adults are now being actively recruited primarily because they are more willing than are married couples to adopt older or disabled children or to adopt across racial or other barriers. This is true for single men as well as for single women, but single men seeking to adopt continue to be widely viewed with skepticism and are reportedly often judged to be inappropriate parents. This paper reviews the sparse fostering and adoption literature on single heterosexual males and addresses the evident ambivalence with which parenting by single men is held among both child and adult mental health professionals. The paper also discusses the parenting styles of mothers and fathers, the ways that the central nervous system in both sexes has been found to respond to parenthood, the similarity of outcomes between single male and single female parenting, and the availability in North America of support and training for foster and adoptive single parents. The paper concludes that, in general, single men have as much to offer an adopted child as do single women and that seeming discrimination against them by childcare agencies requires investigation.
Core tip: Since contemporary definitions of masculinity have changed, men are no longer afraid to express emotions and to be nurturing fathers. More single men are now seeking to adopt children but, although male role models are very much needed for children in care, childcare agencies continue to be wary of single would-be fathers.