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Benefits of Adoption

JCWillke   |   October 01, 2003

Benefits to the Child
The number of out-of-wedlock births in the United States has peaked. It hit a record high of 1.3 million in 1999, but the adoption rate has still been declining. Forty years ago, almost 10% of all babies born to unwed mothers were placed in adoptive arms. By the middle of the ‘90s, it had fallen to one percent.

There are many reasons for this. The removal of the stigma of unwed motherhood in our society certainly was a big one. The campaign by the pro-abortion industry to discredit adoption is also a large factor. In addition, there are a lot of misconceptions out there, so let’s look at a study of the impact on adopted children.

A study by the Search Institute of over 700 families examined these children twelve to eighteen years after they were born and placed for adoption. Here’s what the study showed:

  • Adopted adolescents’ self-esteem was as high or higher than their peers.
  • Adopted adolescents are as deeply attached to their adoptive parents as their siblings who were not adopted.
  • 95% of the parents said they had a very strong attachment to their adopted child.
  • How many parents were divorced or separated? Only 11%. This compared to 28% of a cross-section nationally.
  • 75% of adopted adolescents are psychologically healthy.
  • Adopted adolescents report having as much support from family and friends as their non-adopted siblings have.

Another somewhat similar study compared adopted children with three other groups: children born out of wedlock and raised by a single mother; children raised by grandparents without their biologic parents; and children who live with both of their biologic parents. Among these three, how did the adopted children fare?

  • They had superior home environments, more so than any of the other groups.
  • They were in better health than children living with unmarried mothers and those living with grandparents.
  • Access to medical care was similar to children in intact families, and better than the others.
  • Children repeating a grade, being suspended or expelled from school–how did they do? Their numbers were the same as children in intact families, and their records were much better than children living with unmarried mothers or living with grandparents.

So, what’s the bottom-line here, friends? Adopted kids do very well.

Benefits to the Birth Mother
I have listed above some of the benefits that children placed for adoption have. Let’s now look at the unwed mother herself–the woman who unselfishly placed that child in another pair of loving arms.

There’s a study from Planned Parenthood’s Family Planning Perspectives of 270 unwed mothers. It reported that those young mothers who placed their babies for adoption had considerably more favorable social, economic and educational outcomes than did those who kept their babies and parented as single parents. Comparing the two groups, the study showed that those who placed their children for adoption were:

  • More likely to finish vocational training and more likely to have educational aspirations.
  • More likely to delay marriage and considerably less likely to have another out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
  • More likely to be employed six to twelve months after giving birth and, across the board, almost all
    had higher household incomes.

Here’s another study at Columbia University of over 400 pregnant teenagers. It checked them at six months and again at four years after giving birth. Again, those who placed their babies for adoption fared much better than single mothers who chose to parent their own child. In this study, mothers who placed their babies for adoption were:

  • More likely to complete high school; more likely to attend college; more likely to have higher educational aspirations; more likely
    to be employed six months and four years after giving birth; and – a big one – more likely to be married.
  • They were less likely to be on welfare. There were fewer of them who were cohabiting and fewer who had another out-of-wedlock
  • Those who placed their babies were more likely to have greater overall satisfaction with their lives, including satisfaction with their
    work, finances and relationship with their partners.
  • Finally, they were more likely to be optimistic about their own future. And, among this group, there were fewer women suffering
    from depression.

In summary, unwed mothers who carried their babies to term and placed them in loving arms for adoption scored higher, with greater satisfaction and with greater social stability on almost every level, that is, in comparison to the young mothers who kept their babies and proceeded to raise them as single mothers.

Remember, I’m not talking about every single mother. I’m talking about averages. Some single mothers do a bang-up job, and we owe them a great debt for what they can accomplish and do with their children.

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