Benefits of Adoption
1. Benefits for Children
Adopted children do as well as or better than their non-adopted counterparts, according to a 1994 study by the Search Institute, a Minneapolis-based public policy research organization specializing in questions of concern to states and cities.1) This study concludes that:
- Teens who were adopted at birth are more likely than children born into intact families to live with two parents in a middle-class family.2)
- Adopted adolescents score higher than children of single parents on self-esteem, confidence in their own judgment, self-directedness, positive view of others, and feelings of security within their families.5)
- Compared with the general child population, children placed with adoptive couples are better off economically. Their parents are better educated and older than the parents of other children.8)
- Adoptive parents are less likely to divorce.9)
Virtually all of these findings have been replicated by Nicholas Zill, Vice President and Director of Child and Family Studies at Westat Research Corporation of Maryland, in his analysis of data from the federal government's 1988 National Health Interview Survey on Child Health.10) Results from the survey were compared across four groups: adopted children, children of unmarried mothers being raised by the mother, children of intact families, and children being raised by their grandparents. The data indicated that adopted children:
- Enjoy a quality of home environment superior to all the other groups;11)
- Have superior access to health care compared to all the other groups;12)
- Enjoy health similar to that of children of intact families and superior to that of the other two groups; and
When compared with those adopted later, born outside of marriage and raised by the single mother, or raised in an intact family, children who are adopted in infancy:
- Repeat grades less often than any other group;
- See mental health professionals less than all other groups, except children of intact families;
- Have better health status than all other groups;
- Have a better standing in their school classes than all other groups, except children raised in intact families; and
- Have fewer behavior problems than all other groups, except children raised in intact families.
2. Benefits for Biological Mothers
Teenage mothers who choose adoption fare better than mothers who choose to be single parents on a number of measures.
- They have higher educational aspirations, are more likely to finish school, and less likely to live in poverty and receive public assistance than mothers who keep their children.14)
- They delay marriage longer and are more likely to marry eventually.
- They are more likely to be employed 12 months after the birth and less likely to repeat out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
- They are no more likely to suffer negative psychological consequences, such as depression, than are mothers who rear children as single parents.15)
This entry draws heavily from Promoting Adoption Reform: Congress Can Give Children Another Chance.