Adoption Infographics

Almost one in three Americans has considered adopting a child at some point in their life. Unfortunately, not nearly that many have taken concrete steps toward adoption, and even fewer have actually adopted a child. These adoption infographics highlight important facets of the current state of adoption including how many children are awaiting adoption, how many people have adopted, what avenues people might take to adopt and adoption’s close ties to foster care.

Adoption Infographics: How many people are adopting?

About 2 million people across the United States can currently call themselves adoptive parents – that’s about as many as the entire population of New Mexico. According to data gathered by the US Department of Health and Human Services, many of these 2 million Americans are currently married, between the ages of 40 and 44 years old and have an income of roughly 1.5 times the poverty level. There is no clear indication that men or women are more likely to adopt a child. However, women with fertility problems are much more likely to adopt than women who can have their own children. On the contrary, men who have already fathered a child in the past are more likely to adopt than men who have not fathered a child.

Adoption Infographics: Adoption Options

People considering adoption can choose from three different options: foster care adoption, domestic adoption and international adoption. Most people considering adoption (71%) stated they would like to adopt through foster care. Many of those same people stated they would consider adoption domestically (60%) as well. Fewer stated they would seriously consider adopting a child from another country (40%). Adoption through foster care, the least expensive adoption option, is sought most often by women, blacks and those with annual incomes between $25,000 and $50,000. Domestic adoption is sought most often by men, whites, married couples and people between 25 and 34 years old. International adoption – the most expensive option – is sought most often by Hispanics and those with higher incomes.

Adoption Infographics: Why don’t more people adopt from foster care?

With more than 100,000 foster children awaiting adoption at any given moment, it can be difficult at first to understand why more people seeking to adopt would be reluctant to adopt from foster care. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, women seeking to adopt stated that they would prefer to adopt a child who is less than two years old, does not have a disability and does not have any siblings. Those three traits are uncommon in many children in foster care, where there are a disproportionate number of older children with siblings. Misconceptions about foster care may also play a role in potential adoptive parents ’ reluctance to adopt from foster care: one study found that 50% of people considering adoption wrongly assumed that children enter foster care because of delinquency. Moreover, 60% of people underestimated the large number of children in foster care awaiting adoption.

Author: Thomas Castles, FAFS Communication and Development Associate

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