The 10 Most Asked Questions about Single Parenting
1. If I cannot afford to live on my own, where can I live with my baby?
Explore your housing options before you deliver.
- Living with a friend or relative
- Living in a group home for single mothers
- living with your parents or birthfather's parents
- living in public, subsizeded housing
2. Can anyone help me with baby items?
Many churches and commuinty agancies are eager to help with baby items. Bethany Chrisitan Services,
local crisis pregnancy centers, and our organization can connect you with parenting classes and other resources, including
public assistance for medical and financial needs.
3. How do I get support from the birthfather?
The birthfather's legal responsiblity include providing financial support for your child. Most
states have a child support enforcement agency which will withhold money from his paycheck if he is unwilling to pay. If the
birthfather is unable to provided child support, you need to plan how you will care for your baby without it. A birthfather's
support record may influence court decisions about custody and visitation rights.
4. What rights does the birthfather have?
In some states, the birthfather's name is not even put on the birth certificate unless you request
it. If he has signed a notarized paternity affidavit, he may have legal rights, including visitation and the right to deny
or consent to medical decisions for your child. An attorney, or your state department of social services representative will
provide more details about the birthfather's rights and responsibilities. You and the birthfather should plan and discuss
your responsibilities and individual rights. A child's needs are best met when birthparents work together.
5. I don't want to be a birthmother on welfare. Can I get job training?
If you are receiving assistance, you may be eligible for programs which help with job training,
tuition, and child care. Otherwise, you might rely on educational grants and loans while working to cover living expenses
and child care. Single parenting often means altering your goals and plans, but with determination and job training, you can
achieve greater security for yourself and your baby.
6. Can I be forced to quit school?
Most schools will encourage you to continue your education. Some schools offer night classes,
loans, child care, and even transportation. You may decide to take a semester off while you adjust to single parenting, but
you can still reach your educational goals.
7. How will single parenting affect my dating?
Parenting may limit your dating. When you choose to parent, your child's needs will demand most
of your attention. Some people you date may not want to take second place to a child. Others will not mind that you are parenting.
Before getting into a serious relationship, consider the effect on your child. Try to balance freedom and responsility. Allow
yourself some "fun time" in your schedule, or you may begin to resent your child.
8. How do I explain to my child why there is no father in our home?
An absent father may be hard for a child to understand. Explain that because of complicated
circumstances, he is unable to be part of your family. You need to talk as positively about the birthfather as you can without
being dishonest. Even if you don't like him, he is sill special to your child.
9. What rights do grandparents have?
State laws vary about grandparents' custody and visitation rights. By law, birthparents are
the only ones who have rights and responsiblities toward the child. However, grandparents are important in your child's life
and history. They can also be very helpful. View their help, however, as a temporary solution. It is important for you
to be as independent as possible. If you live with your parents or grandparents, they have a right to insist on a few rules.
10. Can I still choose adoption later if parenting doesn't work out?
If single parenting becomes too difficult and you decided to consider adoption, you are not
a bad parent. It takes courage to realize that by yourself you cannot provide all that your child needs. Separating from a
child with whom you have bonded can be difficult. A trusted and wise counselor can help you and your child through this process.
We can help you look for an angency that can help you make an adoption plan you can live with.
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