Nationwide, about 134,000 domestic adoptions were reported in 2007, according to the most recent figures available from the National Council for Adoption. That's a 3 percent increase from just five years before.
The economy has affected birth parents in complex ways, said Frank Garrott, president of the Gladney Center for Adoption, a national and international adoption agency based in Fort Worth, Texas.
“It's really hard to define that trend,” Garrott said. “Certainly the economy does come into play with some young women and their families make that decision. At the same time, we kind of see a counter-trend. As some young women get into a situation where they're really struggling and they are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, that baby is the one thing that really gives them hope. ... It may not be a trend at all.”
But the face of families involved in the adoption process is changing a bit, Garrott said.
As adoption has become a more socially acceptable option, more families with children are looking to adoption as a solution for unplanned pregnancies.
“To me, that's so sad,” he said. “That couple knows the joy of parenting firsthand. To make that incredibly painful decision that one more child in the family is going to sink them, it's so painful when you think about putting yourself in their shoes.”
In recent years, birth mothers seeking help from Deaconess are a little older than in the past, McCool said. Most are in the 25- to 34-year-old age bracket. Several are married. Some already have children.
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