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A Birth Mother's Take on National Adoption Month — Part 2

As a part of my quest to learn more about National Adoption Month in the U.S., I decided to see what types of statistics were made available to the public regarding anything adoption. I also narrowed my searches with more specific information requests like open adoption yearly statistics. Unfortunately, there is a lack of data available on adoption.

As a nation, we can look at this and realize that adoption is highly undervalued in society today. As a birth mother, I don’t need statistics to tell me that choosing adoption and becoming a birth mother means being judged and stereotyped at times. However, I also see much progress being made in enough places by enough strong women to be encouraged.

Here are the most recent adoption statistics I was able to find:

Statistics on Adoption in the U.S.

The most recent statistics related to adoptions in the U.S. are from 2014. The data was gathered and dissected through the help of the National Council for Adoption. These are the most recent findings:

  • While public agencies handled about 20 percent of unrelated adoptions in the 1950s, this rose steadily to 68 percent in 2014.
  • Private agency adoptions have fallen from 40 percent of the total in the early 1960s to 24 percent in 2014.
  • Independent adoptions comprised half of unrelated adoptions in the 1950s and dropped steadily through the 1970s, to nearly one-third of unrelated adoptions in 1982 and 1986. In 2014, they fell to an all-time low of 9 percent of unrelated adoptions.

Adoption: By the Numbers, National Council for Adoption, 2017

The Truth Regarding Adoption Research

The government does not require any form of statistics to be reported from private adoption agencies and other adoption professionals beyond the foster care system, as managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. This means that while there are plenty of statistics out there about adoption from foster care, there is very little information about the brave birth mothers who choose adoption for their children voluntarily. The only voluntary or private adoption research must be done by various organizations who decide to take on such a task. Private research is something we don’t see frequently in the voluntary adoption community. However, there are some amazing organizations across the country funding such research.

The National Council for Adoption completes such research every five years in order to help educate society on voluntary adoption statistics. If you are interested in becoming an advocate for the National Council for Adoption, you can sign up for their email list.

What Does All This Mean?

In my opinion, National Adoption Month is a wonderful event that should be celebrated with excitement, gratitude, and educational awareness. I think we should all understand why National Adoption Month is such an important celebration and share articles like this on social media. I think we should learn more about the benefits of open adoption by spending more time educating ourselves and less time judging one another. I think we should all love our children in the best ways that we are able to, and never take any of the moments with them for granted, no matter how few or frequent they may be.

However, this research shows that National Adoption Month has historically had little to do with the women who choose adoption for their babies. Being a birth mother still has yet to be celebrated by the nation. While it’s certainly important and worthwhile to celebrate foster care adoption, I believe National Adoption Month could do more to celebrate birth mothers in all forms of adoption.

What can we do about this: we can become our own advocates and change the way our sphere of influence perceives adoption. We can educate our family and friends on how beautiful choosing adoption can be, and maybe, just maybe, they will educate someone else.

Or even better, they will be able to be a support in an adoption situation they may know of.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on National Adoption Month next week!

Read Part 1: A History here.

~Lindsay Arielle

Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption seven years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.