Singles Adoption: A Tough Question for the Church

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As a newspaper reporter, Julia Duin knows what it means to work fast.

That pace, however, hasn't translated into her personal life. She has never married but is quick to tell you that wasn't her idea.

"I would have preferred to have been married," she told CBN News.

Still, she decided to take a different path toward fulfilling her desire for motherhood-- through adoption.

"I was getting older and it didn't look like Prince Charming was going to show up real soon and I thought if I'm going to have a family I needed to start this now," Duin explained. "I began the process and got a little girl from Kazakhstan."

She adopted 22-month-old Veeka. Veeka is now four and a half and quite a handful, but Duin doesn't seem to mind.

A Heart to Adopt

In the past several years, Christian adoption agencies have seen tremendous growth. Many in the faith community have mobilized like never before to heed what they believe is a Biblical call to take care of orphans.

In answering that call, Duin was surprised when well-meaning Christains discouraged her by saying that only married couples should adopt.

"It was awful," she recalled. "I got very little support from the Christian community. I had a few eventual friends who supported me, but on the whole most of them said, 'Well why don't you get married' and I was like, 'Sure well I'll go to Macy's and pick out some guy.'"

The dream of a happy family begins for many women as early as childhood. Yet more and more are moving to adopt instead of waiting for a husband.

In an article she wrote for Christianity Today, Duin shared her adoption experience.

"Christian groups report that there are 132 million orphans in this world. If so, there are over 100 million single persons over 18 in the church in the U.S. alone, one-third of the population,"she said. "I think it's safe to estimate that at least a third of all adults in a typical U.S. church are single. Why is it verboten to mobilize the unmarried so they too can nourish and bring up children?"

Should Singles Adopt?

The question was recently posed on the social networking site, Facebook. Many on both sides of the issue responded.

Facebook user Ellen wrote, "I believe God's heart is for every child to have parents. But he also created marriage as the means of procreating. So any single person who's thinking about adopting not only needs family members to help them, but they need to be convinced they're ready and that they've been given a green light from God."

Erica wrote, "I know the ideal situation would be for a child to have two parents. But I think having one parent with a lot of love is better than being in foster care. If we want to offer women alternatives to abortion, then more people need to pitch in to help take care of these children."

Most adoption agencies consider specific qualifications in prospective parents. They consider age and income. And when it comes to marital status, they usually prefer married couples.

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council said agencies do that for good reason.

"I think it's legitimate for us to uphold the natural family as ideal, but to uphold the adopted family with a married mother and father for children who do not have the blessing of being raised by their natural parents," he told CBN News.

Sprigg also believes that kids receive huge benefits from being raised in a two parent family over living with a single parent.

"It is important for children to have the role modeling of the male, female relationship that they receive from living with a married couple," he explained. "They learn how a man treats a woman and a woman treats a man. They learn what that relationship is like."

Being a Blessing

But in the end Sprigg said, it all comes down to doing what is best for the child.

"We always need to keep in mind that adoption exists for the benefit of children whose natural parents cannot raise them. Adoption does not exist for the benefit of adults who wish to be parents who cannot have children in the natural context of marriage," said Sprigg.

Meanwhile, Duin knows that she may never marry. She admitted it is not easy raising a child alone, especially with such a demanding career. But little Veeka doesn't seem to mind at all. She's just happy to have someone to call Mom.

*Originally published November 25, 2009.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.