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Adoption by the Numbers

A mother and father's hands holding a newborn's hand.In the United States, adoption was officially made a legal process – not just an informal practice – in the 1850s. Today, more than 135,000 children are adopted every year, writes Asher Fogle, Good Housekeeping. Still, this was not always the case. Up until fairly recently, adoption was stigmatized. 

“Up to at least the 1970s, adoption was only for babies and only by married couples who could not produce children biologically,” says Gloria Hochman, National Adoption Center. “And people adopted children who looked like them.” 

Fortunately, much of that has changed. Today, “Open adoption, transracial domestic adoption, and adoption by LGBT couples and single parents have all increased,” says Fogle. And movements like National Adoption Awareness Month every November have further helped to normalize the process and shine a positive light on adoption – all kinds of adoption. 

Still, there are some common misconceptions. 

“People’s notions about adoptions, how it works, and who the people in it are, are still not well-informed,” says Adam Pertman, National Center on Adoption and Permanency.

Looking at Adoption Today!

Adoption Happens Quite Often

“One out of every 25 U.S. families with children have an adopted child,” writes Fogle. So, odds are you know someone who has adopted. Today, it is a completely normalized way to grow a family. In fact, according to the U.S. Census, about half of these families have both biological and adopted children. Adoption isn’t just for families that can’t conceive naturally.  

“The U.S. adopts more children than the rest of the world combined, internationally as well as domestically,” writes Fogle.

Interracial Adoptions Are on the Rise

Today, “40 percent of adopted children are of a different race, culture, or ethnicity than one or both of their parents,” says Fogle. And 71 percent of adopted children live with at least one white parent.

  • 18 percent of adopted children are Hispanic
  • 16 percent are black or African-American
  • 10 percent are asian
  • 2 percent are American Indian or Alaska Native

“We have a culture of immigration, of diverse families, of interracial marriage, of people looking different,” says Peterman.

LGBTQ Adoptions Are Also on the Rise

“Of same-sex couples raising children, 19% have at least one adopted child,” writes Fogle. This is up from just 8 percent in 2000.

“Research is showing that children raised by gay or lesbian couples show a lot of sensitivity, openness, and a freedom of biases, so there are birth parents who actually prefer placing children with them,” says Gloria Hochman, National Adoption Center. 

Foster Care by the Numbers

“There are 107,918 foster children eligible for and waiting to be adopted,” writes Fogle. Yet, only about 40 percent of adoptions are from the U.S. foster care system. “In 2014, 50,644 foster kids were adopted — a number that has stayed roughly consistent for the past five years,” says Fogle.

  • The average age of a waiting child is 7.7 years old.
  • 29 percent of children in foster care will spend at least three years in the system. 

Many People Have Considered Adoption

“81.5 million Americans have considered adoption,” writes Fogle. If you are one of them, our adoption counselors are here to help guide you through the decision making process. The journey of adoption may seem daunting and surreal. However, rest assured. You are not alone. Call us at (410) 683-2100. Our experienced professionals are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our primary goal is to help you through the process, making it more manageable and a reality.

Getting to Know Adoption Makes Family

Adoption Makes Family was founded to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents in a manner that is sensitive, compassionate, and personal. We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Allow the professional team at Adoption Makes Family to help and support you through your adoption journey.

If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at or use our online contact form.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 29th, 2019 at 9:39 am . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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