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Although I'm currently young and solely focused on my education and future career (I'm finishing up my BA and plan to immediately pursue my MA), I've recently given lots of attention to the concept of single career women who choose to have children, specifically though adoption.

As a feminist (and a child raised by a single parent) I've never liked the notion that motherhood relies upon marriage, particularly because I truly don't believe that marriage has a place in my life. Thus, I've done a bit of research on single-parent adoption and would definitely look more extensively into it in the future, when I've established the career I want and if I desire children.

However, I casually mentioned the concept to my family, who informed me that it would be a "selfish, irresponsible" act to “purposefully" raise a child without a father. Though I'm very far off from adopting anytime soon, how can I combat my family's argument that a child needs a father in order to thrive? Is my dismantling of marriage and motherhood really just selfish rather than feminist?

Thanks. K.K



Dear K.K,

I was actually raised by a single mother and I have never known my father (I later learned that he was arrested after trying to kidnap two young boys), so I would never say that someone should have to have a father. And actually I am raising my two kids with their father, but we aren't married. It is funny to be though how much this assumption about the right type of family wins out.

You seem to be asking two questions: one around single parenthood and one about adoption. I support both, but I have recently had some conversations on the latter and I think it's a very difficult route for everyone involved. This isn't to say that people shouldn't do it, but they do have to consider all of those potential outcomes. There is a great book out 'The Girls Who Went Away', that touches on some of the issues around adoption, though focused on another era, approx. 1960s, and what issues arise from adoption are transferable across the ages.

I seem to meet people every week who are approaching parenting in new ways. Having assessed my own peer group we all come from different scenarios, and it wasn't the make up of our family that determined how well adjusted we were. I have many friends who came from nuclear families and they are totally messed-up, it doesn't make a difference. Good luck figuring out what is going to work for you......and thanks for reaching out,