Reactions to single parent adoptions in the United States have followed a path similar to that of private/independent adoptions. Regarding the latter, adoptions employing public notice and advertisements were much more common prior to the mid-20th Century, when child welfare advocates grew concerned about the safety of children being put up for adoption and the likelihood that birth mothers might use adoption as a means of selling their babies rather than as a last resort. Single parent adoption, too, was affected with little restraint, until changing American attitudes led the Child Welfare League of America.
Still, single parent adoptions have their opponents. Many single parents have encountered difficulties trying to secure children through adoption agencies. While every State has a provision today that single people are allowed to be adoptive parents, private agencies, especially those that are family-based and Christian-oriented, typically only allow married couples to adopt from them. Intercountry adoptions also may succumb to anti-single parent prejudice.
Legislation against single parent adoption reflects a widespread fear of challenges to the tradition nuclear family model. But in cases where children are in desperate need of a home, single parent adoptions may be just the answer. After all, usually one parent is better than no parent.