Why Aren’t People Adopting?

Adoption is a cause close to my heart. I was not adopted, but my best friend and her brother were. I’ll never forget when my friend told me she was adopted. I looked at her, and I looked at her mom and I said, “But you two look so much alike!” She just smiled and looked at her mom and said, “That’s because we were meant to be together.” Her mom, who chose to adopt children after finding out she couldn’t have any of her own, was fond of saying that she and her brother were especially special babies because they were so desperately wanted. Every year, my friend gets two celebratory days – one for her birthday, and one for the day she came home.

At her wedding, we were waiting in the church basement for the ceremony to begin and her mom started crying. When we asked her what was wrong, she said that, at these times, she often thinks about her daughter’s birth mother, and is so grateful her birth mother gave her the opportunity to raise a beautiful child into a beautiful woman. Now, my friend has a beautiful biological daughter, and often talks about how she and her husband would maybe like to adopt more children down the road.

November is National Adoption Month, and November 17 was National Adoption Day. According to the National Adoption Day website, the annual event has allowed more than 40,000 children to find their forever homes, and currently there are over 100,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted.

These statistics are staggering. More and more women are waiting to have children until later in life, and are willing to freeze their eggs or go through numerous painful and time-consuming fertility treatments to have their own children rather than adopt a child that desperately needs a home.

Why aren’t more people adopting children?

According to Susan Newman, Ph.D. at Psychology Today, the reasons are varied. Many partners who want children want newborn babies so they can experience those cute baby years, but oftentimes the heartbreak associated with trying to adopt a newborn is too much to bear as birth mothers can, and do, change their minds about adoptions when they see their babies. Most of the children waiting for homes are over the age of three and, by that time, are often the victims of considerable physical and/or emotional abuse.

Furthermore, cost is incredibly prohibitive. Adoption.com states, ”Adopting from the U.S. foster care system is generally the least expensive type of adoption, usually involving little or no cost, and states often provide subsidies to adoptive parents…Agency and private adoptions can range from $5,000 to $40,000 or more depending on a variety of factors including services provided, travel expenses, birthmother expenses, requirements in the state, and other factors. International adoptions can range from $7,000 to $30,000.” This can be especially prohibitive considering many insurance carriers cover fertility treatments as well as doctors appointments leading up to and including the birth of the child.

As if all that weren’t enough, Newman says that the legal issues  when it comes to adoption are considerable. With tighter restrictions, hopeful parents often have to wait years before they can bring their child home.

If only adoption were easier

If adoption were easier, and less expensive, it might be a more feasible option for many couples, not to mention it could help solve our world’s population crisis. However, there are lots of good reasons for the delays and costs adoptive parents experience. Adoption agencies need to be sure that the adoptive parents are good parents, birth mothers need to be fully aware of their rights and medical bills need to be taken care of. While it might be frustrating or prohibitive for adoptive parents to pay all that money and wait for a child, you wouldn’t want to be put in a situation where a birth mother changed her mind because she wasn’t informed, and we certainly don’t want children going to bad homes.

I hope that National Adoption Month continues to raise awareness about this important issue and continues to put deserving children in good homes for years to come.

Have you had an experience with adoption? Please share them in the comments.


Related Stories

Nebraska Planned Parenthood Clinics to Offer Adoption

Virginia Senate Approves Anti-Gay Adoption Bill

Catholic Group Abandons Illinois Battle Over Gay Adoptions


Photo Credit: paparutzi


Kelly S
Past Member 23 days ago

you have 2 be rich and nice,,,,,,,,

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

Side note, no.. it does NOT need to be "easier" to adopt. There are already too many nut jobs who slip through the cracks and ruin perfectly stable kids. Do you know how many religious fanatics get gets and screw them up (my adoptive family was TAME compared to MANY foster homes that considered taking us) No, if anything the background on these people needs to be MORE intense. Being adopted by "anyone" isn't the goal, the goal is to be adopted by a fit parent or couple. Many of us would be better off moving about than ending up with crazy people, or people who perhaps nature weeded out (as far as procreating goes) bc they just weren't meant to raise humans.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

(continued) kids (3 and under) because they were never there for more than a week. Babies WILL be adopted. So adopt someone who is out of chances. change a life that without you, won't be changed.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

This story really speaks to me. I was abandoned by my bio mom at 1.5, and my biological father raped and abuse my two sisters and I. He became frustrated often, and left me with 3 of my older siblings (brother 3, sister 6, sister 8) alone. Two weeks later our social worker walked in, finding us filthy, without food, frightened and sickly. My 8 year old sister had been washing mine and my brothers diapers and clothes in the creek by our house. There were snakes in our bath tub (not to mention the "house" we lived in was actually a barn with electricity). Needless to say, we were all separated and put into the system. I moved 6 families in 6 years. I was adopted finally, along with my bio brother. We were older and had difficulties adjusting, and neither of us did s well as one might hope. My brother became a drug addict in early high school, and ended up in a group home at 17. I did well in school and never got into any trouble, but was diagnosed with attachment disorder and have had issues with severe depression and personal relationship choices. No one wants older kids. It is a fact they drill into you as soon as you go to your first "meet n greet" with a potential family. They want the cute ones. We always semi jokingly called foster care "the shelter", because we were all strays who were a burden on whoever took us in, and all potential "buyers" wanted the cute "pups".. the younger cuter ones who wouldnt remember being hungry, or cold, or abused. I remember hating young ki

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you Ashley, for Sharing this!

Stella Gamboni
Stella Gamboni5 years ago

I know a fair number of people who *have* adopted.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill5 years ago

There is entirely too much government red tape and expense. They need to make it easier to adopt so more children can be in loving homes.

Debrah Roemisch
Debrah Roemisch5 years ago

to those who commented on the diffculties of adopting older children--a suggestion is to be a life long foster parent instead. I know a couple who adopted 2 older children --they were not poor by any means but were not rich either. They found later they would have been a lot better off becoming permament foster parents because then they would have received more state help with the kids extensive medical and pyshchological needs whick nearly bankrupt them..

Samir Nassir
Past Member 5 years ago


Ginger Strivelli
Ginger Strivelli5 years ago

people naturally crave having their own children...being pregnant, giving birth having that DNA connection, being apart of the family tree...'you have my grandmother's eyes'....
And now with fertility medicine so advanced more people can somehow make that happen.

And like the article says older kids are the 'affordable ones' to adopt but are also often troubled and harder to bond with the same as one's natural child or even a child they adopt at birth.

We would eb wise to help birth mothers keep their children, give them benefits, housing, training, rehab, whatever they need to be able to raise their own kids rather than sending those kids of into foster care to likely not be adopted.