New York Times article about single motherhood by choice

Not an adoption story per se, that is it's not the focus of this New York Times story. But, I think this is an interesting article nonetheless – especially since it's about a non-normative family structure. I think it's fascinating that they are featuring single moms who chose the adoption route rather than other routes to becoming parents.


Like Lili’s dolls, the circle that radiates out from this
two-bedroom ranch house in the New Jersey suburb of Moorestown is a
largely female world. Fran and her daughters spend much of their time
outside school and work with a small group of other single mothers and
their girls. Among them is Fran’s friend of 10 years, Nancy Clark. Fran
is 49; Nancy is 50. Six years ago, they went together to China to adopt
Lili and Nancy’s daughter Katelei, whom they called “salt-and-pepper twins" because Lili had fair skin and Katelei is darker.

the summers, Fran, Nancy, their friends Lynne Rose and Susan Bacso and
the women’s total of eight daughters, all adopted from China, drive
south to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. At the end of a day of taking
turns watching the girls on the beach, Fran drives the group (or at
least part of it) down back roads in a Toyota minivan that she bought
for these trips. There’s no contract for the women’s nonromantic
relationships. They are not binding. But Fran and her friends sometimes
half-jestingly imagine a kind of semi-permanence. “We kid about how
when we’re old and decrepit, and we’ve sold our houses to pay for
college, we’ll buy a trailer by the side of the road,” she says. “I’ll
go, ‘Hey, Nance, how about that one?’ and Susan or Lynne will say, ‘We
gotta get a double-wide, for all of us.’ ”

Read the rest of the article here

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

2 thoughts

  1. This was a very well written article about my life. I have wondered just how big a group (single parents by choice) we are.
    I know many single men and women who fit model described by the article. College educated and unmarried… but want to parent.
    I set myself a goal. If I wasn’t married by 31 years of age, I would look at my options.
    I actually started looking at my options when I turned 30 years old. I intensely researched and thought about my options for over a year.
    I looked at buying sperm and giving birth. Mentally I couldn’t get myself past the idea of buying sperm.
    I still remember reading one guy’s blog about superbabies. He decided that he had super genes and offered to freely email his sperm to anyone who asked. It wigged me out.
    So that left me with adoption. I knew when I started on my adoption path that I wouldn’t be dating. I wanted to adopt a special needs child. And between parenting and working, my plate would be full.
    I am 41 years old now (and still not dating). I adopted a very special toddler who is now a healthy and happy teenager. I have been thinking about adopting a second child from foster care. But the economy is a worry right now.
    The support networks that I have built are very important. The virtual ones are sometimes more important then the face-to-face. I can ask 700 people for their thoughts on dealing with a challenging parenting problem. Or I can IM a friend living in Czech and vent/let go of some stress.

  2. I forgot to mention a meme that is very common among single support groups and researchers studying single parenthood. There is specific meaning behind “single motherhod by choice”. Which is why it isn’t surprising that the article was mostly about single adoptive mothers.
    The meme has 2 basic divisions on parenthood:
    single parents by crisis
    single parents by choice
    The reason for the division is that these 2 groups have very different needs. So there are different support groups, research, etc… being done with them.
    To become a “single parent by choice” you are deliberately not including a coparent. So if you are starting your journey into parenting without a partner then your options are limited.
    1) hire a surrogate to carry the pregnancy
    (used by single men)
    2) buy some sperm and get pregnant
    (used by single women)
    3) adopt
    (used by single men and women)

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