Copyright ©The Author(s) 2018. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Psychiatr. Sep 20, 2018; 8(3): 83-87
Published online Sep 20, 2018. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v8.i3.83
Single men seeking adoption
Mary V Seeman
Mary V Seeman, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5P 3L6, Canada
Author contributions: Seeman MV contributed to this paper.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Dr. Seeman has nothing to disclose.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Mary V Seeman, DSc, FRCP (C), MD, Emeritus Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, 260 Heath St. West, Toronto, ON M5P 3L6, Canada.
Telephone: +1-416-4863456
Received: June 22, 2018
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.

Keywords: Single parents, Male adoption, Foster parents, Fathers

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.