Sunday, January 10, 2010

Adoption Experiences of Women & Men

I just found this government report, Adoption Experiences of Women & Men and Demand for Children to Adopt by Women 18-44 Years of Age in the United States (catchy title, huh?!)published in 2008, reporting on data collected in 2002. Some stats --
Forty percent of women currently taking steps to adopt were 35–39 years of age,
double the percentage of the population of all women in this age group.

Three-quarters of women currently seeking to adopt a child had impaired fecundity or were surgically sterile.

Men were twice as likely as women 18–44 years of age to have adopted a child. Among ever-married persons, men (3.8%) were more than 2.5 times as likely as women (1.4%) to have adopted.

Hispanic and non-Hispanic black women were more likely to be currently seeking to adopt compared with non-Hispanic white women.
Nothing surprising, except perhaps the last one, that Hispanic and Black women were more likely to be currently (in 2002) seeking to adopt than White women. I would have thought otherwise. And the data about men being twice as likely as women to have adopted the child is likely explained by step-parent adoption.

The survey also asked women about relinquishing children, and noted the decline in relinquishment of babies in their first month of life. The report gave the following explanation:

In the case of nonrelative infant adoptions, providing a child with a family and providing a couple or individual with a child are complementary purposes; the number of these adoptions are governed by the number of children available for adoption (supply) and the number of individuals and couples seeking children to adopt (demand). In the past 30 years, several societal changes have decreased the number of children placed for adoption.

First, keeping and raising their babies has become a more frequent choice of unmarried, pregnant women of all ages so that fewer babies have been relinquished for adoption.

Second, there had been an overall decline in the teen birth rate since 1970 (although preliminary data for 2006 show a 3% increase in the teen birth rate compared with 2005). In 1970, the teen birth rate was 68.3 (births per thousand women 15–19 years of age). It declined to 51.5 in 1978, fluctuated between 50.2 and 53.0 until 1988, rose to 61.8 in 1991, then experienced a steady decline through 2005 where it reached a low of 40.4, rising in 2006 to 41.9. Since teenage mothers historically were most likely to relinquish their infants for adoption, this has had a significant effect on the number of infants available for adoption.

Lastly, legislation requiring that reasonable efforts be made to preserve and reunify families (e.g., The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980), and to give preference to placement of children with relatives who meet state standards for child safety (e.g., The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996) have also limited the number of infants available to nonrelatives for adoption. The combined impact of these societal changes and legislative actions has been a decline in the number of native-born infants and young children available for adoption with little expectation that relinquishment rates will rise to meet the current level of demand.
Interesting that a government report is using the the terms "supply" and "demand" in the adoption context. Not a place I expect to see language of commodification and markets. . . .

1 comment:

Lee in Canada said...

"Among (n)ever-married persons, men (3.8%) were more than 2.5 times as likely as women (1.4%) to have adopted." What?!? I don't get this. I know one single man who has adopted and hundreds of single women. Am I missing something?