Any adult who meets the legal requirements (such as age gap between themselves and the child) can adopt a child; that is the legal position. In practice, however, some people find it easier to adopt children than others. For example, single adults are likely to meet with challenges that their married counterparts do not have. Here are three examples of the challenges you may meet when adopting a child as a single person:
Longer Waiting Period
No law that says single persons should wait longer than couples to adopt a child. However, many adoption agencies prefer sending children to two-parent families. Therefore, if there are couples waiting to adopt with the same agency the single person is using, the single person is likely to be put lower on the list. Some agencies even prefer not to deal with single applicants. It's not just agencies, however, because even birth parents seem to prefer giving up their children to two-parent families. It doesn't mean you will be denied the chance to adopt a child, but you should expect to wait longer than couples waiting to adopt.
In most states, adoption applicants are screened to ensure that they can be suitable parents for their prospective child. This is nothing out of the ordinary; the screening covers different areas, such as quality of the relationship (for married persons' living arrangements, financial status, and similar things).
However, single persons face more intense scrutiny than couples. As a single applicant, agencies are likely to be worried about your intentions. Expect to be scrutinized in your intentions for the adoption, what will happen to the child if you get married, why you are still single, and similar questions that may seem intrusive.
Lastly, gender issues may also come into play if you are adopting a child as a single applicant. Single men find it more difficult to adopt children than single females. One possible explanation for this bias has to do with social stigma; society is naturally suspicious of men who consciously decide to raise children on their own.
The difficulties are there, but they are surmountable. Knowing that you will face some challenges will help you prepare best for them. Of course, the best way to prepare is to engage a family law attorney as early as possible in the process. That way you will ensure that nobody, not even the agencies, tramp on your right to adopt a child.