Being a parent is difficult. Being a single parent is even more difficult. But, sometimes, there comes a point in your life when you realise you want a child. Knowing you don’t have a partner at your side isn’t enough to stop you from feeling this way.

Adoption in South Africa is becoming increasingly common and you’ve researched your options. You knows, deep down inside, that this is what you want. It’s important that you ask yourself some basic questions.

What are your reasons for having a child?

A child should never be brought into the world because the parent needs love. The love of a child is not a substitute for the love of a parent, sibling, partner or friend. The job of a parent is to give the child all the love they need, not to expect the opposite.

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Are you able to support a child financially?

It’s important that you earn enough money to support your new family. It’s difficult enough to support a family financially with two salaries. One is definitely a challenge. So, you need to be certain that you have sufficient money left over every month to put toward your new family. It’s important to bear in mind too that you’ll need a significant amount of money to adopt a child.

Do you have a loving support structure?

You will definitely need some help. That’s not negotiable. You’ll need help whether you adopt a newborn or a child. You’ll need people who’ll be there to help you pick the child up from school, take him or her to doctor’s appointments, and give you a night or weekend off occasionally.

Says an article in Psych Central: “If you don’t have a partner, do you have other willing support people in your life? It’s crucial to the well-being of you and your child that there is someone who is a constant source of love and attention and help. That someone can be a grandparent, a best friend, or another single parent you team up with.

“What matters is that she or he is a person who is willing to be called at 3am if there is an emergency and is able to give you an hour or two off if you desperately need a nap or have to go to an appointment without taking junior or juniorette along for the ride.”

Nothing is ever going to be the same after you bring a new dependent into your home. Your schedule is going to change, your career is likely to change and nothing will ever be the same again

Is your lifestyle stable?

This is an important point to consider if you’re thinking about becoming a single parent. You need to know whether you’re likely to live in the same town or even country for the foreseeable future. Because, let’s face it, moving is hard enough without a newborn or cranky child in tow.

Are you ready for your lifestyle to change?

You need to know now that everything about your life is going to change. Nothing is ever going to be the same after you bring a new dependent into your home. Your schedule is going to change, your career is likely to change and nothing will ever be the same again.

Have you done everything you want to do?

Now is the time to think about your ‘bucket list’. Have you accomplished everything you’d hoped to have achieved by this point in your life? Have you had the career you envisioned for yourself? Have you travelled to the countries you’d hoped to? Have you had the experience of living in another city or country other than the one you grew up in?

It’s by no means impossible to do these things once you have a child, it’s just that it will be a little more difficult. Deciding to become a parent, especially when you know you’ll be doing it alone, means knowing that everything will take a little more planning and patience.

Do you have enough health and insurance cover?

When you bring a new life into your home, it’s important that you are fully insured. For health expenses, this means having sufficient medical aid and insurance. Gap cover is an important option which you can look into.

When it comes to insurance, you need to cover the basics of car, home and possessions.

Taking a more focused interest in your child and his or her well-being, you need to consider income protection. In this way, they’ll be looked after financially should anything happen to you. It’s important, as well, for you to have your will prepared and stored in a safe place.