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Sara Hansard, 49, a journalist from Arlington, Va., adopted a 1 1/2-year-old girl from China more than two years ago. She faced the strong objection of her mother, "who always imagined me getting married and having kids the normal way." Mom has come around, but since she lives in an assisted-living facility 90 miles away, she can't be much help. So Sara has organized an informal network of single moms in her area, who are on call to baby-sit in emergencies and who trade child-rearing tips.
Having a child later in life is rewarding, Sara says, but she knows her choice is not universally popular. She says she has lost out on jobs because some bosses wouldn't accommodate her needs as a single mom. Then there was the stranger on the subway who struck up a conversation and when she found out Hansard was a single mom, railed that what she was doing was morally wrong. Sara told her off. "I wanted to be a parent, and in my case, I happened not to be married," she says. "I'm not apologizing to anyone for that."