Single black women choosing to adopt


According to an increasing number of single Black women are choosing to adopt because they are unable to get Black men to commit. Do you think that this is a selfish reason to adopt?

Courtesy of

Wendy Duren thought she did everything right.

She broke off relationships with men who didn’t want to settle down. She refused to get pregnant out of wedlock. She prayed for a child.

Duren’s yearning for motherhood was so palpable that her former fiancé once offered to father a child with her. But he warned her that he wasn’t ready for marriage.

“I get bored in relationships after a couple of years,” he told her, she recalls.

Those events could have caused some women to give up their dreams of motherhood. But Duren, a pharmaceutical saleswoman, didn’t need a man to be a mom. At 37 years old, she decided to adopt.

“It’s the best decision I could have made in my life,” Duren says, two years later. She’s now the mother of Madison, a 1-year-old daughter she raises in Canton, Michigan.

“People say I have never seen you so happy,” she says, “but it’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

What’s driving more single African-American women to adopt

Marriage and motherhood — it’s the dream that begins in childhood for many women. Yet more African-American women are deciding to adopt instead of waiting for a husband, says Mardie Caldwell, founder of Lifetime Adoption, an adoption referral and support group in Penn Valley, California.

“We’re seeing more and more single African-American women who are not finding men,” Caldwell says. “There’s a lack of qualified black men to get into relationships with.”

The numbers are grim. According to the 2006 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 45 percent of African-American women have never been married, compared with 23 percent of white women. Sound Off: What are the biggest challenges for black families?

Yet the decision to adopt isn’t just driven by the paucity of eligible African-American men, others say.

Toni Oliver, founder and CEO of Roots Adoption Agency in Atlanta, Georgia, says her agency sees more single African-American women adopting because of infertility issues.

Some of the infertility issues may be related to advancing age or health issues, she says. But the result of not being a mother for older African-American women is the same: panic.

“Their doctors, friends and family are telling them the same thing: ‘You’re not getting younger; you better hurry up,’ ” Oliver says.

The unfulfilled desire to be a mother can damage a woman emotionally, Oliver says. Her agency provides counseling to prospective mothers who have invested so much of their self-worth into being mothers.

“In many cases, it [the pressure to be a mother] begins to set up feelings of unworthiness, poor self-esteem and the feeling that ‘I’m not fully a woman,’ ” Oliver says.

That pressure can cause some African-American women to rush into a marriage with a man they should not partner with, says Kenyatta Morrisey, a 34-year-old mother of three adopted children in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Morrisey wants to be married, but says she’d rather become a mother now and wait for God to guide her to the right man.

“I am not going to settle and get married just for the sake of being married,” Morrisey says. “I’d rather trust God to fulfill all of my dreams instead of relying on a man to fulfill my dreams.”

Some single African-American women deal with another challenge: criticism for bringing another African-American child into a single-parent household.

Kaydra Fleming, a 37-year-old social worker in Arlington, Texas, is the mother of Zoey, an adopted eight-month-old girl whose biological mother was young and poor.

“Zoey was going to be born to a single black mother anyway,” Fleming says. “At least she’s being raised by a single black parent who was ready financially and emotionally to take care of her.”

Yet there are some single African-American women who are not emotionally ready to adopt an African-American child who is too dark, some adoption agency officials say.

Fair-skinned or biracial children stand a better chance of being adopted by single black women than darker-skinned children, some adoption officials say.

“They’ll say, ‘I want a baby to look like a Snickers bar, not dark chocolate,’ ” Caldwell, founder of Lifetime Adoption, says about some prospective parents.

“I had a family who turned a baby down because it was too dark,” she says. “They said the baby wouldn’t look good in family photographs.”

‘You have so much love to give’

Skin tone didn’t matter to Duren, the pharmaceutical saleswoman. She says she just wanted a child to love.

She was so natural with children that all of her friends predicted that she would be the first to marry, she says. But adoption was “never an option” for her.

“I wanted my genes, my looks to be passed on,” Duren says. “I wanted to see me.”

The African-American men she dated, however, didn’t want to marry, she says. She dated African-American professionals: engineers, attorneys and managers. But there were so many eligible African-American women, and they still wanted to play, she says.

Time was running out for her. At 37 years old, Duren had earned an MBA degree, a six-figure income and had traveled widely. But she couldn’t find the right man to raise a family.

One man she thought she would marry broke off their relationship because he said he wasn’t ready to be a father. Then he had a child out of wedlock with another woman, she says.

“He broke my heart,” Duren says.

The persistent heartache ate away at her.

“I was struggling,” Duren says. “I prayed: ‘You know Lord, I worked so hard. I have my integrity, morals — how did this happen?’ ”

A turning point came when she was playing with her niece and nephews. Her brother, their father, asked her why she didn’t adopt a child when there were so many black children who needed adopting.

“You have so much love to give,” he told Duren.

Duren didn’t have an answer. She then went online and learned about Lifetime Adoption, the agency based in California. The agency referred her to a married woman who already had five children, but says she couldn’t afford to take care of another.

The woman put her through an interview process. She asked about her family history; how she would discipline her child; and what she would do if her baby woke up screaming in the middle of the night.

The woman eventually picked Duren. When the woman gave birth, she invited her to the hospital and handed Duren her daughter.

The adoption process — from the beginning to receiving her child — took eight months, Duren says. It cost about $15,000.

“It was so smooth,” she says of the adoption process.

What single moms lose and what they gain

The adoption process will go smoothly if a prospective mother prepares well, Caldwell says.

She suggests that prospective single mothers prepare a notebook that will answer vital questions: Who is going to be the guardian of my child if I get sick? Who are the men in my life that could serve as good role models? Do I have life insurance?

Becoming a single mother means a “complete lifestyle change,” Caldwell says.

“You might have to give up getting your nails done,” she says.

But you gain something better in return, Duren says. Her life is tougher, but its purpose has shifted.

“Tired is my middle name now,” she says. “I’m always tired. Naps don’t exist anymore.”

And at times, being a single mother can be scary, Duren says.

“When my daughter got sick in the middle of the night in the middle of a snow storm, I didn’t have anyone to turn to,” she says. “I had to do it. There was no one to talk to.”

And at times, there is the temptation for an open-ended relationship with men to take away a little of the loneliness.

One ex-boyfriend came around one day with gifts for her daughter, Duren says. Duren told him to make it his last visit because he was still seeing another woman who had his child.

She told him she wasn’t going to be his woman on the side.

“I refuse to be a woman with a man tip-toeing in the middle of my house late at night with toys for my daughter,” she says. “No one is going to disrespect me.”

Duren says she still wants to be married. But in the meantime, she can barely wait to get home to see Madison.

Her life is now shaped by purpose, not regret.

“I have someone to hang out with. I can never say I’m lonely,” Duren says. “She lies across my stomach every night, and I just stare at her.”

By John Blake

0 responses to “Single black women choosing to adopt”

  1. I’m with it. I don’t like the fact that they are not accepting darker hued children! However, I’m with the movement of adopting if you feel that you’re approaching the age in which you’re close to not bearing any children of your own.


  2. What a racist. All children deserve love regardless of their skin tone. Obviously that person has a self-hate problem. With that kind of attitude, that person does not deserve to adopt any child. Too be that shallow that you would think a dark skinned child would ruin the family picture. It is more like an ignorant parent would not only ruin the picture but poison the family. That is one of the most hateful comments I have heard and it came from an African-American. What happens if you get that light child that you so desire and heaven forbid they have an accident or develop some terrible disease? I suspect you would return them to the agency correct?

  3. Wow, what a story.
    Let me know when you do the one on “Single Black Women Go Grocery Shopping!”
    I don’t want to miss ONE THRILLING EPISODE of this garbage!

  4. Finally, an article about a woman who has sense and emotional maturity. I applaud her for having a moral sense and not compromising. SHAME ON BLACK PEOPLE WHO STILL HAVE ISSUES WITH SKIN COLOR! A baby is a baby and if they have those unbelievably stupid notions, then they do not deserve to adopt! And as far as these men are concerned…players need someone to play with. Unfortunately, in the quest to find a mate women often forget this. If women kept their self esteem and not sleep with a man just to have a man, maybe men would start to value women as they should be valued. JMO

  5. If women kept their self esteem and not sleep with a man just to have a man, maybe men would start to value women as they should be valued. JMO——WRONG. Men should value women because we are to be valued. Your kind of thinking recalls a time not too long ago, when people blamed rape victims for what happened, based on WHERE THE WOMAN WAS at the time, and/or HOW SHE WAS DRESSED. STOP blaming women for men’s behavior. Not only does it destroy women- it INFANTICIZES MEN.

  6. Black women should look into dating men of other races and cultures. It certainly leveled the marriage ground for me.

  7. I am so happy to hear that she did not settle and have a child out of wedlock. So many women should follow her pursuit. I cannot wait until I find a black woman to crown and start a wonderful loving family with.
    Oh and FYI I am a young single educated black man.

  8. I agree Stephanie…black women have got to open up the playing field and not only look to black men for love and marraige.

    I think if this woman is happy..more fulfilled in her life…and on top of that a child is getting the love and financial support he/she deserves..then it’s ALL GOOD! If she likes it..I LOVE IT!!

    And yes..shame to the darker skin messing up the picture folks…that should be a RED FLAG for CRAZY for any adoption agency!

  9. I am in my early thirties and I am thinking about adoping as well. I have dated men from all cultures (not just black men) but marriage has not happened for me and I do what to have children. I refuse to have them outside of marriage. I have sturggled with the choice of being a single mother but at the same time I will be giving a child a loving and stable home. What a timely article.

  10. This has gotta the DUMBEST and MOST SIMPLE-MINDED Black people I’ve ever heard of … not adopting Black children cause they too Black – “What the Fuck”. They done deserve a puppy ! I live in Africa and from the US and i had hoped our sister and brother got their shit together by now but this is a disgrace. I’ll bet if they adopted and their kid became the next Micheal Jordan they would shat themselves.

    I am single, educated, straight, great looking and tight in my program and if I so much as meet a Black woman like this I will run to a chick of another country or color just cause I dont want a so-called educated Black woman giving me this type of Kak. I want children but this is just plain stupid. Adopting is great but hating for color – unacceptable! White people must really think we fucked up as a people. They must be saying to themselves they did a good job on us.

    I cant wait to have a great wife – cause that’s where it starts ! Then you make the child.

    Single Mom’s just wanting a baby without a man is unbalanced and totally unacceptable too ! There are plenty of these chicks out there too. Run fast from them – they look features and money.

    Hopefully Single Mom’s (due to normal circumstances-bad relaitonships, death, etc) are balanced enough to keep a man and build with him – provided your right for each other.

    I’m done .

  11. I agree that having a baby without a father is NOT the ideal situation. The alternative is that these children have…NO ONE. I think this is an acceptable compromise albeit not the most balanced.

  12. I’m glad to see more (single) African American women adopting. At 41 and still single, I’m in the process of completing a international adoption and hope to be a mom in 2010. THere are some of us who will never become mothers if we sit around waiting and waiting and waiting for a man to come. I wish Windy many blessings.

  13. I am a divorced mother of one. My daughter is the greatest joy of my life. I do want another child, a sibling for my little girl. I had a life threatening case of preeclampsia and was told to never have another child, therefore my tubes are tied. Either way, I would never want to have a child with someone again. Hate to say it but a great majority of Black men can turn their backs on their children and want nothing to do with them. I never want to risk that again. Adoption is the best bet for me. Another princess for the kingdom would be great and rewarding in every way. Just a side note, I prayed for a satiny skinned dark cocoa baby! God answered my prayers and gave me a daughter with the most lovely deep chocolate skin I’ve ever seen. Something about dark skin is so lovely to me, it seems “real”, “whole”, “complete” and “rich” to me. I used to bake in the sun during my youth so I could be like my gorgeous older sister who was blessed with lovely dark skin!!! If I adopt I would want another deep toned little girl. I truly feel that the self esteem of darker toned little girls can get crushed by the ignorance of society, mainly other Blacks. If I can have a hand in raising a dark skinned girl into a dark skinned women with confidence, a sense of self, and high self esteem I would be so proud!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.