Thoughts on Adoption

The other day I came across the cutest video where a little girl was talking to her adoptive mother about the day she was adopted and how happy it made her. Because of this, I started to think more about adoption, the number of people who are involved in that process, and how it affects them. Here’s what I found, based on an article put together by the Adoption Network:

  1. Most adoptions (non-step-parent adoptions) are from the foster care system
    1. There are almost 115,000 children in foster care who can’t be returned to their families and need to be adopted. Not all foster parents can adopt the children they care for because there are often many children in a foster parent’s house at a time. The average age of these children is 8 years old. Foster care adoptions make up 59% of all adoptions in the United States, while 26% are children from foreign countries and 15% are American children who were voluntarily given up by their parents.
  2. Most people have had some contact with adoption
    1. There are millions of adopted Americans, and hundreds of millions of people who have had adoption touch their family in some way. While many of these people may have been adopted by a step-parent, a large number were adopted out of foster care or as a baby.
  3. There are no statistics on how many people are waiting to adopt
    1. Just like there are many children waiting to be adopted, prospective parents also may have to wait for a long time to adopt a child. Some estimate that there are almost two million parents waiting to adopt, but there are no actual statistics available on this subject. 

If there are thousands of children in foster care waiting to be adopted and millions of people wanting to adopt a child, why are they not all adopted immediately? The truth is that many people who are looking to adopt can’t have children themselves, and want the experience of raising a baby. They’re not likely to be able to adopt a newborn out of foster care, so instead they have to wait for someone to voluntarily give up their child. Foster care children usually also have siblings, and some people are only looking to adopt one child at a time.

Prospective adoptive parents have a lot to consider about the route they’re going to take to adopt their child. Many lawyers who practice family law can help with adoptions, too. Karen Alexander, a lawyer based out of Denton, Texas, says hiring a lawyer to help with the adoption process makes a difference because of the qualifications a prospective adopter needs to meet. Lawyers help people stay on top of these qualifications while also offering advice about their next steps.

People who thought they’d missed their chance at a loving family can be brought together through adoption. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see more people who really need it – the older children in foster care, for example – being adopted in the future.