One Parent or Five?

07.06.2012, 2:31 PM

Single fathers by choice and children having three legal parents are among many emerging forms of “intentional” parenthood I wrote about in our recent report, One Parent or Five: A Global Look at Today’s New Intentional Families.

See articles this week by Ian Tuttle at NRO on single fathers by choice and Hanna Rosin at Slate on a misguided piece of proposed California legislation (of which Rosin approves) to allow judges to assign children more than two legal parents (more soon on this with any luck, in the meantime see a NYT opinion piece I wrote against assigning three legal parents to children or pp. 36-46 of the One Parent or Five report).

3 Responses to “One Parent or Five?”

  1. Linus says:

    Thanks for all the links Elizabeth. Tuttle’s piece raises some interesting questions about the SFC issue.

    As a single guy who is still trying to decide if my vocation is singlehood, I have to admit that I often feel a strong desire to be a father and have done some thinking on what my options would be if I decided marriage isn’t something I’m called toward. Ultimately I wholeheartedly believe it is the Child’s right to know his or her biological parents whenever possible. I also affirm that marriage is the best context for raising a child (be it a traditional or LGBT marriages, just to avoid that whole debate), so SFC isn’t an option I’ve really practically considered. I am more drawn to the idea of being a foster parent.

    Have you seen any studies on foster parenting that compare foster family structures and outcomes for foster children? I understand that foster children would already be at a disadvantage compared to kids in stable households. I wonder if the foster parent’s relationship status is less important ultimately, compared to just having a stable adult who is there to care for the child, provide needed structure, and who can be a loving influence in an already traumatic period.

    I would never want to take on such a commitment if it was simply to meet my desire to express my paternal nature while risking negatively effecting the wellbeing of the kids entrusted to my care. I guess I am searching for a way to fulfill my hopes of being a father figure while also providing any child I cared for with the best opportunities for positive outcomes.

    My other option is to shamelessly lobby my married siblings into having tons of kids and then enjoy being an uncle and god-father – which I think would be a fulfilling outlet for my paternal desires as well…although there is a difference between uncleing and parenting which seems (at a gut level) very different and causes me to still yearn for parenthood.

    I’d love to hear what you think – it is just something I’ve been thinking about that this article brought to mind.


  2. Elizabeth Marquardt says:

    Hello dear Linus,

    My own feeling is that a single parent home committed to a child over the long haul (as guardian, foster parent, foster to adoption, whathaveyou) must be on average much better for children than the instabilities that typically come with foster care.

    I also think awesome uncles and godfathers are gifts from above. With all the love and thoughtfulness you clearly have in you, perhaps there will be many children fortunate to have you in their lives for all sorts of reasons. : )

  3. [...] few weeks ago, I read through the  2011 report One Parent or Five: A Global Look at Today’s New Intentional Families (Elizabeth Marquardt, Principal Investigator) published by the Institute for American [...]