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Adoption Facts


Some adoption facts apply universally:

Legal fact: Adoptees are parented by neither or only one of their biological parents.

Economic fact: Adoption costs money, sometimes a great deal of money.

Social fact: Whether Americans have a direct experience of adoption or not, we do not all understand it or support it.

The numbers:

  • Approximately 7 million Americans are adopted persons;
  • Approximately 140,000 children are adopted by American families each year.
  • As many as 100 million Americans have adoption in their immediate family (adopting, placing, adopted);

Many groups and organizations compile adoption numbers, however, it’s important to indicate whether or not numbers are approximate, estimates, or guesstimates.

For example:

  • The number of children adopted each year from the U.S. foster care system is reported by each state. Reporting is mandatory: states must report these numbers in full.
  • The number of adopted children under the age of 18 reported in the 2000 U.S. Census is based on a sampling of families, and is dependant on accurate reporting and accurate tabulation. Therefore, these numbers are "best estimates," and the census report itself includes "error factors."
  • The number of children adopted each year from other countries is based on the number of "orphan visas" issued by the U.S. State Department. While some of these visas may be issued to children who are not being adopted, most are, so these numbers are used.
  • The number of children adopted each year in total by American families is an estimate only. The number of adoptions of children who are not adopted through the U.S. foster care system are not reported (except on a voluntary basis) and private adoption professionals have no mandatory reporting procedures either.

Find Your Facts:

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