Single men and women are permitted to adopt in New York via all three types of adoption (private, private agency, and foster care). During the home study process, the social worker will likely discuss with you your support system and plans for your child if something were to happen to you. When the adoption is completed, you will be the only parent listed on the birth certificate. Other than that, the process is the same for a single individual as it is for a couple.
In New York, you cannot adopt as a single individual if you are married, unless you have been living separate and apart from your spouse for at least three years or have been living separate and apart from your spouse pursuant to a judgement or decree of separation or a separation agreement.
A single person also cannot adopt their own child to “terminate” the birth father’s (or birth mother’s) rights. However, you can potentially have a family member complete a second-parent adoption of your child to permanently sever the parental ties of the other parent. This is appropriate where the proposed adoptive parent is already a constant presence in the child’s life and can be a helpful tool in domestic violence cases where a birth parent is using the child and the court system as a weapon against the other parent. For more information on this type of adoption, please read Casey Copps DiPaola’s article on this topic, New Categories of Individuals Eligible to Adopt (A Possible Solution for Victims of Domestic Violence).