Single Women Have Little Chance of Adoption

 Around 22,000 children are currently living in 600 welfare centers across the country. Around 22,000 children are currently living in 600 welfare centers across the country.

One hundred single women signed up to adopt children at the State Welfare Organization over the past two years.

“Out of the total applicants since March 2015, only five women have been given custody of a child,” said public relations director at the SWO, Jafar Shoreybani.

After a revision in child adoption laws last year, qualified single women who are over 30 can adopt a child, but they are at the end of the queue when it comes to priorities for adoption of children under two years old, Islamic Azad News Agency ‘ANA’ reported.

“Demand is higher for kids under the age of 2 years, and the reason why the number of single women given children in adoption is so low is that the organization prioritizes couples and families for guardianship,” Shoreybani noted.

Better rate of women’s economic participation over the past few years has empowered single women to be able to afford the care and custody of a child. Additionally, the existing barriers to marriage (including economic costs, the social contradictions of tradition and modernity, as well as individualism) and the high rate of divorce have encouraged many women to remain unmarried and take recourse to adoption.

Around 22,000 children are currently living in 600 welfare centers across the country. The figure is expected to increase in the coming years as the number of female street addicts with children has increased to 1,500, while it was only 100 four years ago. However, 80% of kids in welfare centers are not orphans but have irresponsible, negligent and addicted parents.

Why the number of kids in orphanages does not go down in accordance with the high number of adoption seekers is due to the fact that most applicants request for a child under the age of two years without parents or guardians.

While healthy infants under the age of six months who don’t have parents are more in demand for adoption, few are willing to take custody of older children and kids with health problems or irresponsible parents. Biological parents sometimes come back after some years to claim their parental rights, and wrest their children from the adopter by a court order.

  One-Year Process

“The families who apply for adoption are referred to a counseling center by the SWO to be evaluated and checked whether they are qualified, and this process can take up to a year,” said Fatemeh Rezayi, the SWO’s legal expert.

“Once, a single women who has adopted a child marries, her spouse will also go through the same steps,” she added.

The new law on adoption was approved on July 5, 2015 to facilitate the growth and development of abandoned children or orphans in a family environment.

Previously, only families without children could adopt but the new law allows couples with children to do so. Under the revised enactment, every couple, even those who already have a child and single women over the age of 30 can adopt. But single women can only adopt children older than 6-7 years.

The new regulations have also increased the age of adoption from 12 to 16.

According to SWO’s deputy of social affairs Habibollah Masoudi Farid, it takes only two months for families who apply for adoption to be contacted by the organization.

“Single women, no matter how qualified they are, do not have priority over married couples of over five years or families who already have a child,” he said.