The State of Adoption in America

Couple ready for adoptionFamily lawyers also work on adoption cases. While it seems more straightforward than their usual cases, divorce and child custody, it isn’t. Any family attorney can attest to it.

There are several legal concerns involved in such cases, many of them misunderstood. Experts believe this might be causing major changes in the way Americans view adoption as a whole.

Crunching Numbers

Two states are at the forefront of the American foster care and orphan situation: California and Texas. In 2013, these two states had the most number of children in foster care, awaiting adoption. And throughout America, roughly 240,000 children who exited foster care in the same year spent almost two years in foster care. The average age of these children is 7.5 years old.

Such numbers might seem big, but not likely. Adoption is still a rare occurrence in the country. Over the past decade, rates have been slowly declining. From 2002 to 2016, a half-fold decrease in adoptions was recorded, the most notable one in 2011. In 2002, 1.1% (600,000 individuals) of women 18-44 years old adopted a child. In 2011, this went down to 0.61% (300,000 individuals).

Men adopted more during the same time frame. Experts believe this is due to men being more likely to adopt stepchildren during a marriage.

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Nevertheless, this has led to a more inclusive American household. Data from the U.S. Census reveals that one in every 25 families in America has both biological and adopted children. In addition, a good 40% of all adoptions involve the national foster care system.

Why is Adoption Not Widespread?

Many analysts believe that Americans generally want to adopt, but can’t. This is evident in the almost two million infertile couples on standby, wanting to adopt. It’s not just the legalities that present challenges, but the existence of birth parents as well. Take birth mothers, for example.

At the end of the day, it’s still largely the decision of a birth mother whether she’ll give her child away or not.

Adoption’s legalities are relatively straightforward, but birth parents can choose to dictate conditions, which might not suit adoptive parents. Given the desire to actually parent a child exists, there’s no denying that a childless couple will eventually agree to the terms.

All children have the right to a loving family. It’s time to make a move.

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