Why this story matters:
Throughout the European Union, single parents are allowed to adopt children. Italy is the only holdout where single parents are forced to jump through bureaucratic hoops to welcome a child into their homes.
An unmarried woman who was recently granted permission to adopt decried the inequities of the system and how they hurt both single people who want to be parents and the children who need them:
“The ban on adoption assumes that we single women cannot raise children well,” she said. “Yet in Italy, there are millions of divorced women who are alone and are still good mothers."
Her lawyer, Marcella De Nigris, added that, in her experience, single women are motivated to raise these children. She said they often make better parents than married couples, especially in the case of children who are older or have special needs.
How many children are languishing without families when there are single people ready to adopt them?
Details from the story:
- Under Italy's 1983 adoption law, only couples married for at least three years can adopt children.
- Aspiring parents seeking one of these so-called "special-case adoptions" must first appear in court and obtain a decree stating that they are fit to adopt.
- A woman, who chose to go by the pseudonym of Antonia, met an 11-year-old Belarusian girl through a nonprofit that helps children exposed to radiation poisoning.
- Antonia petitioned to adopt the girl, and won a rare parental fitness decree from a Naples court.