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Are Babies that Are Given Up for Adoption Always Adopted?

You’ve seen it before in TV shows and movies. A desperate young mother wraps her baby in a blanket and places him or her on the doorstep of an orphanage, hoping that a better life is ahead.

This media depiction of adoption used to have some truth to it. The process was associated with secrecy and shame, and birth mothers had very little control. Many were left wondering, “Are babies that are given up for adoption always adopted?”

The answer to that question is yes. Thankfully, adoption is much different today. Back then, many birth mothers were left to wonder what happened to their babies. But today, birth mothers are given control of the adoption process. And, most importantly, they know that their child will be placed with a safe, loving family that can provide a life full of opportunities.

If you’re considering adoption and wondering how many kids given up for adoption actually get adopted, or how many children go without getting adopted, a better understanding of how adoption works today will ease these fears. That’s why we’ve provided an inside look for people wondering, “Do children given up for adoption get placed into a family?” But if you’d like to speak with an adoption specialist, you can always fill out our free online form to get more information.


When you choose adoption for your baby, you will place your baby through a process called domestic infant adoption. The process is based around a mother’s needs, and everything is set up to make sure she feels respected. Unlike those TV stories about leaving a baby on a doorstep, a prospective birth mother in a modern-day domestic infant adoption gets to choose the specific family she thinks is best for her baby. She gets to know that family, and can even maintain contact after the adoption with the adoptive family and her baby.

There are always more adoptive families than there are prospective birth mothers. In domestic infant adoption, the answer to, “How many children go without getting adopted?” is zero.

The adoption process, while unique for each person, follows these basic steps:

  • Step 1: Work with an adoption specialist to create an adoption plan. This plan sets the guidelines for the adoption process. Through this outline, your adoption specialist will guide you through each and every step.
  • Step 2: Choose the adoptive family who is best for the baby. This choice is completely up to you. Being able to choose the family after looking at several adoption profiles creates a sense of confidence. When you read through their life story, you’ll know that your baby will be adopted by a loving family. Putting a child up for adoption but nobody would want them isn’t a possibility in domestic infant adoption.
  • Step 3: Get to know the family pre-placement. Most domestic infant adoptions are at least semi-open. This means that you and the adoptive family can get to know each other through communication like emails, phone calls or video calls. No matter what your comfort level is, you’ll meet a family who fits what you’re looking for.
  • Step 4: The hospital stay and placement with the adoptive family. After you give birth, you can officially sign the adoption paperwork. This is when the baby is placed with the adoptive parents. Your baby will go straight to their new family, so you won’t have to fear how many children go without getting adopted.
  • Step 5: Maintaining contact post-placement. Thanks to open adoption, there can be a continued relationship after placement has occurred. Not only can you be sure the baby will be adopted, but you can also stay connected as the child grows and thrives in their adoptive family.


When you’re asking how many children go without getting adopted, you are most likely thinking of the foster care system. This process is entirely separate from the domestic infant adoption process, which is a common misunderstanding. If an expectant mother chooses to place her baby for adoption, her baby does not go into foster care with the hope of finding an adoptive family. When an expectant mother chooses adoption, she picks the family for her baby, and the state never takes custody or is involved in caring for the child.

Children are placed in foster care for a variety of different reasons. It is usually ordered by a judge due to something that constitutes an unsafe environment for a child. This could be due to their living situation, drug use, neglect or many other occurrences. For most children in foster care, the goal is called “reunification,” which is the process of returning to the care of their biological parents. For example, a child could be placed into a foster home for six months while their mother or father goes through rehabilitation, and then they will be reunited afterward.

There are, however, many children in foster care whose biological parents’ rights have been terminated. These children become eligible for foster care adoption. In this case, if you were to ask how many children go without getting adopted, the answer may surprise you. Although it is difficult to quantify, roughly 20,000 children “age out” of foster care each year. This means they are now legally adults without ever finding a family through adoption. This is one of the reasons there is such a large need for foster parents across the country.

How Can I Make Sure that My Baby is Adopted by the Perfect Family?

If you are considering placing your baby for adoption, your baby will not enter the foster care system, and

putting a child up for adoption but nobody would adopt them won’t happen. There are thousands of hopeful adoptive parents going through the domestic infant adoption process who would be overjoyed to adopt your baby.

When it comes to finding the perfect family, your first step should be to find the perfect agency. Many of them, like national adoption agencies, are known for the quality of their services and their large staff. There are even those that have a personal experience with adoption, which means that they know exactly what makes a great family. They can help you find the perfect fit when choosing an adoptive family for your baby based on:

  • Whether or not they already have children
  • Where they live
  • How old they are
  • Their race or ethnicity
  • And any other preference you may have

You are in charge of finding a family that fits your criteria, and you will absolutely find that family. And no matter what stage of your pregnancy you’re at, or if you’ve already delivered, you won’t have to worry about putting a child up for adoption but nobody would adopt them. Because, just like it was for Randi, the perfect family is just waiting to meet you and your baby:

“When we got matched with them, it was like an instant connection,” Randi said. Matthew and Katheryn made themselves available to Randi throughout her pregnancy with weekly phone calls. “If I wanted to talk one week, they would talk to me. If I didn’t, if my emotions were just too strong, they were like, ‘Ok, let’s talk next week,’ Randi said.”

What Happens Next?

If you’re a woman considering adoption and you still have questions about how many children go without getting adopted, we’d be happy to answer them. And if you are a hopeful parent surprised by the number of children who age out of foster care, you could look into foster care adoption as a way to meet the needs of those children. To speak with a professional about placing a baby for adoption, please fill out our free online form to get more information.