FAQs about adoption: Who adopts?

McGough Family Who adopts?

According to the National Surveys of Family Growth, 9.9 million women have considered adoption; 16 percent have taken steps toward adopting; and 31 percent of these have actually adopted a child. The estimated ratio is 3.3 adoption seekers for every actual adoption.

In 1992, the last year for which total adoption statistics were available, 127,441 children were adopted in the United States. Of the adoptions that occurred in 1992, 42 percent were done by stepparents or other relatives; 15.5 percent were adoptions of children in foster care. Five percent were children from other countries who were adopted by U.S. families; 37.5 percent of adoptive families used private agencies or independent practitioners.

What characteristics do people seeking to adopt share?

Women who are more likely to be interested in adoption often display at least one of the following traits. They:

  • Desire three or more children
  • Have experienced child death and/or fetal loss
  • Are currently or previously married
  • Are older than 30

How old are most people who seek to adopt?

Most adoptive parents are married couples ages 31 to 40. A growing number of parents are ages 41 to 49. Most parents attended or completed college. The number of parents with college degrees increased sharply from 1983 to 1993.

Is there a difference racially among people seeking to adopt?

Black and nonblack women are equally likely to seek to adopt.

How much money do they earn?

Fewer than 20 percent of families adopting independently earn less that $30,000, compared with 80 percent in 1982. Nearly two-thirds of adoptive families earn $50,000 or more.

Are there differences between those adopting from public and private sources?

Families adopting from the public child welfare system are similar to those adopting independently, in that most of each are 31 to 40 years old. A significant number of public agency adopters, however, are younger than 30 years old. Public agency adopters have generally lower levels of education and income than independent adopters do.

Read essays from real-life adoptive parents at Adoption Central

Source: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse

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