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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 March, 2004, 12:47 GMT
Single women 'should adopt'
Calista Flockhart AP Photos
Hollywood star Calista Flockhart adopted her son Liam at 36
A new campaign is to try and encourage more single women in Scotland to adopt children.

Experts want more unmarried women to choose lone parenting to help ease a critical shortage of people willing to give parentless children a home.

Last year one in 12 children adopted in Scotland went to single women up from one in 20 five years ago.

Increasing numbers of singles are now becoming adoptive parents but many still believe only couples can qualify.

Adoption rights

The Scottish Adoption Association is behind the call to raise awareness about the possibility of adoption by single people.

Chief executive Cathy Dewar said: "Single people have as much right to adopt and as many skills and experience as many couples.

"It is about the strengths they have and the support systems they have set up that is the important factor.

"For some children there can be advantages to a one-to-one relationship and a clarity about routines that might not be the case otherwise.

"It can be a very positive choice and we work very hard to make it successful."

Suitable option

Up to 600 children are in need of a new home in Scotland at any given time with older children, siblings or those with disabilities the ones who generally miss out.

But adoption agencies have found single people can be more suitable parents for older children or those with severe health problems.

Single people have as much right to adopt and as many skills and experience as many couples
Cathy Dewar
Scottish Adoption Association

Sarah Andrews, 38, from Lanarkshire, adopted her son after applying to the Scottish Adoption Association.

It took 10 months to approve her as an adopter and in May 2002 she became a full-time mother to four- year-old Harry, who has cerebral palsy.

She said: "The social workers said there was no reason why I shouldn't be allowed to adopt.

"But adoption isn't an easy choice and is not for the faint-hearted.

"I would like to see more single people adopt because a lot of children out there would benefit from having a single parent.

"You need to be fairly tough to take it on as a single person but it does mean you don't have to juggle being a parent with the demands of a partner as well."

Career target

As part of the campaign, career women will be targeted to become adoptive parents.

While a small but growing number of single men are also being allowed to adopt most single-parent adoption arrangements are with unmarried, divorced or widowed heterosexual women but lesbians are not excluded.

The trend has even spread to Hollywood where stars such as Celesta Flockhart and Angelina Jolie have adopted baby boys.

Baby's hand - generic
Adoption experts say single parents can make a difference

Ally McBeal actress Miss Flockhart became a mother to Liam at the age of 36 while Tomb Raider Miss Jolie lives alone with her Cambodian son Maddox after adopting him two years ago.

But the British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) said unmarried women are generally unaware they are eligible to adopt.

BAAF child placement officer Marjorie Morrison said: "Not enough applicants know single adoption is a possiblity.

"But a lot of people now are much more aware society has changed and we need to look widely at a range of family options for children to meet their needs.

"Some children thrive with single adopters and they are an untapped resource in a changing society."


SEE ALSO:
Shortfall in families to adopt
04 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Adoption system faces review
04 Apr 01  |  Scotland
Scotland watches adoption review
17 Feb 00  |  Scotland


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