Adoption will be the hardest decision biological and adoptive parents alike will make, but it can also be the most rewarding. Studies have found adopted children are on average happier and receive more devoted parenting than biological children of the same age. This is likely due to the rigorous screening process prospective families undergo before a placement can occur. From the initial application process to the adoption home study, prospective families are carefully evaluated and trained to ensure the match is in all parties’ best interests. If you’re a birth mother considering the best future for your new baby or a family longing for a new addition, we’d like to share some facts about adoption to help you determine if adoption is right for you and your child.
8 facts about adoption:
- Over 7,000 children were adopted in the United States in 2012. The majority of adoptions are private adoptions within the child’s country of birth. Foster care adoptions represent the second most frequent adoption method and international adoptions the least common at only 25% of adoptions.
- At 70% of adoptions, the vast majority of adoptive parents are married couples. Less than a quarter of adopted children go to single women. Only 5.5% of adopted children go to single males and 1.6% are adopted by unmarried couples.
- When asked about their current relationship with their adoptive child, almost 90% of adoptive parents stated they would “definitely” choose to adopt again knowing what they now know about their adopted child. Over 40% of respondents indicated their parent-child relationships was “better than ever expected.”
- Over 80% of adoptive parent-child relationships are “very warm and close,” with nearly three-quarters of adopted children under the age of five being read or sang to every day. By comparison, only half of biological children are similarly read or sang to by their biological parents on a daily basis. Well over 50% of adopted children will also eat dinner with their adoptive families six or more days per week.
- Over 90% of adopted children over the age of five said they have positive feelings about their adoption.
- In a survey of foster families who ultimately adopted their foster child, 86% said they did so to provide the child with a permanent home. Just under two-thirds chose to formally adopt their foster child to extend their own families. Almost one-quarter did so to provide a sibling for a biological child. Nearly 40% of foster home couples adopted because they were infertile.
- There are 397,122 children living in the U.S. foster system. More than 58,000 of these children ended up in institutions or group homes, rather than traditional foster homes as of 2012.
- On average, a child placed in the foster care system will wait three years before being adopted. Over half of foster children have three or more foster placements before finding a permanent home. This resulted in one-third of foster children having changed elementary schools five or more times. With each change, foster children lose relationships and fall farther behind in their education.
If adoption is right for you, choosing the right adoption program and adoption center should be foremost on your to-do list. There are two primary methods of adoption: public adoptions through your state, or private adoptions through a private adoption agency. Public adoptions utilize the foster system. Private adoptions are conducted through a private adoption agency. Through a private adoption, the birth mother can choose to be involved and may be a part of the selection process for adoptive parents.
Both private and public adoptions involve a screening process and pre-placement assessment that includes an adoption home study. While the exact adoption home study process varies, it will usually involve multiple interviews, a home visit to ensure the environment is safe and suitable for the child the family is considering adopting, background checks, as well as orientations and training for the prospective family. The adoption home study is perhaps the most daunting aspect of the adoption process for prospective families, but it’s essential to ensuring the adoption is in the best interest of all parties involved. At the end of the adoption home study, both biological mothers and adoptive families can rest assured that they’re making the right decision.