Adoption in the US

Part
01
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Part
01

Adoption Awareness

Statistics show that 64% of US potential foster care adopters say they would consider adopting from foster care because of their awareness of the need for adoption. Compared to Gen X'ers and Baby Boomers, Millenials are more likely to consider adoption.

Adoption Awareness in the US

Awareness By Generations

  • Compared to the general population (5%), 9% of Millennials are likely to show interest in adoption, motivated by reasons such as overpopulation (26%) and 21% because their partners do not want to be pregnant.
  • The YouGov poll found that 42% of Millennials compared to 60% of Gen X’ers and 72% of Baby Boomers are less likely to indicate that they have never considered adoption as an option to being parents.
  • 25% of Millenials say they have not considered adoption because they do not think they can afford it. In contrast, 22% of the generation say they have not considered because they want to have their biological children.
  • 23% of Millennials have not considered adoption because they do not wish to have any children.

Part
02
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Part
02

Teen Adoption Awareness

Though no specific number of individuals could be defined from the information available, it can be estimated that millions of Americans are likely to be aware that there are teenagers in the foster care system waiting for adoption. Wealthier individuals, individuals with fertility issues, people who have experience with the foster care system and/or adoption previously, and adults living in particular states are more likely to be aware.

Millions of American Adults Are Likely to Be Aware

  • When potential adoptive parents approach an adoption agency or adoption attorney, they are given information on all ages of children available. The age-range is one of the ways the prospective parents whittle down the choices as some families want specific-age children added to their families. So, any family that has recently gone through or looked into the adoption process is most likely to be aware of the need for adopting teens.
  • Since about 31% of American families have adopted a family member, which correlates to approximately 100 M Americans who would have been made aware of the needs of potential adoptees of all ages. Notably, the Donaldson Adoption Institute states that “about 81.5 million Americans have considered adopting a child at one time in their lives,” which translates to about 40% of all US adults. These individuals would be more likely to be aware of adoption options.
  • Between 2007 and 2014, the rate of adoptions (for babies, children, and teens) fell by 17%, showing a distinct decline in the number getting adopted out of foster care. Notably, however, in 2017 and 2018, the US showed a record number of adoptions the largest increase since the AFCARS began tracking this data. An increase in the number of adoptions correlates to an increase in the number of people who are likely to be aware of the need for adopting teens.
  • Approximately 2 M couples (4 M people) are on waiting lists to adopt children (of any age) in the US, so these individuals are likely to be aware of the age-options for potential adoptees. Additionally, at least 10% of American women have fertility issues and may consider adoption, so these women are more likely to be aware of adoption options, as well.
  • As noted by American Adoptions, “In addition, these numbers do not take into account how many parents want to adopt for reasons other than infertility. Many more hopeful parents choose to grow their families through adoption, whether they are unmarried individuals, members of the LGBT community, or anyone else who feels that they are meant to adopt.”

Wealthier Individuals Are Likely More Aware

  • The average cost for domestic adoption in the US is nearly $38 K, so only those individuals with enough savings set aside can afford the process. Because of this, it’s more likely that individuals with higher incomes have been made aware of all the options for different aged children to adopt.
  • As noted by Adoption.org, for an adoption completed through an adoption agency, potential parents pay “from $5,000 to $40,000+, with almost 60% falling within $10,000 $30,000, and the average being around $28,000. Some adoption agencies have a sliding fee scale where adoption costs are based on your income. Families who adopt from foster care, typically pay no more than $2,000, with most paying nothing.”
  • A survey from YouGov shows that 20% of Americans don’t believe they could afford to adopt a child or teen, even if they wanted to do so.

Adults Living in Specific States Are Likely More Aware

  • Adults living in the states of Utah, Alaska, Indiana, West Virginia, and Arkansas may be likely to be more aware than those living in other states, since these are the states in which the most domestic adoptions take place in the US. Additionally, since recent years have seen increases in the foster care adoptions in Arizona, Montana, Oklahoma, and Vermont, adults in those states are also more likely to be aware.
  • Individuals living in Maryland, Oregon, Michigan, and Connecticut are less likely to be aware as those states saw a huge decline in the number of adoptions out of foster care in recent years.

Ages of Adoptive Parents

  • Notably, there appears to be no information on how aware different generations are of teen adoption availability. That said, since the general age-limit “rule of thumb” is to limit adoptions to those under 40 years of age, it is likely that younger generations are “generally aware” of these options. Since some statistics show that more older people (Baby Boomers, older Gen Xers) are seeking to adopt more often than they were in the past, it is likely that this group has a fairly high awareness, as well.
  • No states have a cut-off (or upper-age limit) for adoptive parents, though most agencies are much more restrictive of those over the age of 40.
  • The level of awareness may also depend on which state the prospective parents live, as well. Ten states require adoptive parents to be at least 10 years older than the child, two states require parents to be at least 25 years old, three states require parents to be at least 21 years old, and seven states require prospective parents to be at least 18 years old. The level of awareness in the states allowing younger adoptions may be greater than in other states, though this cannot be definitively proven.

Research Strategy

These findings were synthesized from a collection of articles, studies, research reports, and surveys conducted by or produced by experts in the adoption industry.

Part
03
of twenty-five
Part
03

Adoption Motivations: Previous Experience

Three primary motivators that people who have no experience with adoption have for adopting a child are wanting to help a child in need, awareness of the need for adoption from foster care, and the inability to have their own biological children.

Want to Help a Child In Need

  • The most popular reason at 77% for an American who has no experience with adoption and who chooses to adopt a child from foster care is that they want to help a child in need.
  • A more recent survey from YouGov confirmed that 56% of potential adoptive parents with no experience with adoption want to adopt in order to help a child in need.
  • The primary motivation for wanting to help a child in need is that nearly half (49%) of the respondents to the 2017 US National Adoption Attitudes Survey indicated that they wanted to care for or nurture a child who has not had that before.
  • Additionally, a quarter of the respondents to the survey indicated that that foster care children are in need of good homes and families and 13% stated that all children need to know they are loved and deserve a better future.

Aware of the Need in Foster Care

  • The second-most popular reason at 64% for an American who has no experience with adoption and who chooses to adopt a child from foster care is that they are aware of the need for adoption from foster care.
  • The YouGov survey confirmed that 18% of Americans with no adoption experience want to adopt from foster homes because they are aware of the overpopulation issues facing the foster care system.
  • The primary motivation for adopting due being aware of the need in foster care is that people know there are many children in foster care who are available for adoption (10%).
  • Other motivations include the fact that adoptive parents want to care and nurture children (49%) who have been in the foster care system and their feelings that all children should experience love (13%) and an opportunity for a better future (13%).

Unable to Have Children

  • The third-most popular reason at 10% for an American who has no experience with adoption and who chooses to adopt a child from foster care is that they are unable to have biological children.
  • The YouGov survey found that 12% of Americans who are considering adopting from a foster home and have no previous experience with adoption want to do so because they are unable to have their own children.
  • The primary motivations for adopting because a person is unable to have biological children are that they want children (9%) and are having fertility issues (9%).

Research Note

The 2017 US National Adoption Attitudes Survey offers the most comprehensive statistics surrounding the reason for adoption that are currently available. This is the most recent study that has been published. However, the YouGov survey, which is more recent, but less comprehensive, supports all data from the 2017 survey. Therefore, we elected to use slightly older data than we normally would.

Part
04
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Part
04

Adoption Motivators: Teens

Although information on the primary motivators for adopting a teenager was scarce, some motivating factors included the desire to specifically raise an older child versus an infant or toddler; the personally rewarding nature of adopting a teenager; and the fact that teenagers are required to consent to their adoptions in nearly all states. No information could be found on how these motivators have changed over the past 5-10 years or how they differ based on adoption source or family structure.

Primary Motivator 1: Wanting to Raise an Older Child

  • Some prospective parents know that they aren't interested in raising a child from infancy, which makes adoption—and specifically adopting a teenager—an attractive alternative. These individuals feel more motivated to or prepared for the task of raising a teen versus the challenges that come along with raising a child from birth.
  • In one adoption website's survey of their Facebook group, adoptive parents noted skipping the "sleep-deprived infant phase and the tyrant toddler phase" as motivating factors for adopting a teenage child.

Primary Motivator 2: Adopting a Teenager is Rewarding

  • Although adopting any child can arguably be rewarding, some adoptive parents find adopting a teenager especially rewarding because many teens have already spent years in the foster care system. These teens have lost hope of ever finding a family, and it is a rewarding feeling to restore that hope.
  • Anecdotal evidence from Atlantic Re-Think Council suggests that "parents who adopt a teenager are given the opportunity to change lives," but what they often learn is that it changes not only the teen's life, but the adoptive parents' lives as well.
  • For example, among adoptions of foster children in Colorado in 2017, only 39 of 524 teens aged 12-14 years old (7%) were adopted and only six of 948 teens aged 15 and up (0.6%) were adopted. In comparison, 55% of children aged 0-2 were adopted in the same year in CO. Parents who adopt teens can thus feel that they are helping an under-served population in greater need.
  • Along those same lines, teenagers also have greater capacity to appreciate the small things that younger children may not understand or may take for granted, such as family dinners or one-on-one attention from adoptive parents, which can make the experience more rewarding for parents.
  • One family chose to adopt a teen "as a way to contribute to social justice" after learning how difficult it can be for many foster children to find permanent homes. This suggests the experience is not only rewarding for the adopted teen, but also for the family trying to fight social injustice.
  • Another couple felt that adopting teenage children was their calling, a chance to not necessarily create a perfect family, but "to love them as they are and for who they are." They received a great deal of satisfaction from doing something they felt they were called or destined to do.
  • When another family's plans to adopt a younger child fell through, they felt that God brought them teenagers in order to make their family whole. They reported that adopting teens brought "a sense of determination and resilience to the family" that was personally rewarding.
  • Another family found it greatly rewarding to be able to provide a stable home where adopted teens could be free to be themselves and learn what love truly was.
  • One adoptive mother who referred to teenagers as "bright, young spirits" reported how rewarding it was to give a teenager the solid family foundation they deserved and noted how she received more than she ever could have imagined in return.
  • Yet another family claimed that adopting a teenager made their lives perfect and filled a void in their lives they didn't know existed. In addition to feeling fulfilled, they appreciated being reminded of their own teenage years.
  • Primary Motivator 3: Teenage Children Must Consent to be Adopted

  • Unlike with younger children, most states require teenage children to consent to their adoption. Although the age of consent varies by state, 14 is the most common age, whereas some states require children as young as 10 to consent. Many parents have reported feeling that adopting a teenager provides an added reward, because they know the adopted child chose them to be their parents.
  • This conscious choice for both parties cannot be found when adopting any other age group.
  • One adoptive family interviewed by The Atlantic was motivated to adopt not just a teenager, but a teenager with particular hobbies. By adopting a teen with an already-developed personality and interests, they felt they could choose an individual who would best fit into their family and with whom they could share knowledge and interests. Likewise, a teen may also be able to appreciate choosing a family with whom he/she shared common ground or interests.

Longitudinal Changes to Motivators

  • No data could be found to indicate how motivators changed over the past 5-10 years or how these motivators differed based on adoption source or family structure.
  • However, A Family For Every Child noted that while teens were rarely considered for adoption in the past, adopters are now recognizing that "it's never too late for someone to join a family", and some individuals are even being adopted as adults.
  • According to the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), the number of children in foster care was up for the fifth year in a row as of 2017. However, the total number of children in foster care still remains lower than its peak of 567,000 children in 1999.
  • The NACAC report also notes that 13% (7,492) of the children adopted in 2017 were older than 12, whereas 118 adoptees were 18 years or older. This represents at least a one percent increase from 2016 in adoptions of children over 12 years old, but a decrease from 2016 in the 18+ age group.
  • As of September 30, 2017, 123,437 foster children were waiting to be adopted, an increase from 116,508 in 2016. The average age of these children is 7.6 years, and they have been in foster care for approximately 2.5 years.
  • 19% of those foster children waiting for adoptive homes were teenagers.

Research Strategy

We conducted research on potential motivations for adopting teenagers (over younger children or babies) by seeking pre-compiled surveys or statistics that indicated why most people choose adoption. The identified motivations in our findings were synthesized from a collection of resources from adoption industry experts, including American Adoptions and Adoption.com, among others. These were difficult to ascertain due to a lack of definitive information, so we took relevant statistics that correlated to the motivations, and augmented our information with anecdotal research.

To identify longitudinal changes in these motivations, we started with the same strategy of seeking publicly available data and included the last decade's worth of surveys and research from industry experts. Unfortunately, very little data on current or long-term motivations was available, and no data was available on longitudinal changes in these factors. We then continued forward, adjusting our strategy to include anecdotal information, sponsored content from adoption agencies, and other types of resources—from the last 5-10 years. We hoped that this search would provide indications as to motivations, since formal data was not available. Although we found additional statistics on adoption rates and more anecdotal data on motivators, we were not able to identify any trends over time in reasoning.

We then expanded the scope of our research to include global data over the last decade. Although the scope of this request is the US, we thought that it was possible an international organization conducted a survey or research on this topic. Unfortunately, this strategy also yielded no results. Since people's motivations are personal—and can include a wide array of reasons—it is likely that no formal research has been conducted on this, or that the reasons for adopting teens (or any children) have largely remained the same.
Part
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of twenty-five
Part
05

Adoption Motivators: Younger Children

While the motivations to adopt a child vary, studies show the top reasons include: wanting to help a child in need, infertility, wishing to expand a family, friends or family with previous adoptive experience, and altruism or generally wanting to do something noble. Different factors affect whether prospective parents pursue international adoption, domestic private adoption, or adopt through foster care agencies. Different factors affect the characteristics prospective parents look for in the child, one of which is age. While adoption of older children is desperately needed, most children adopted both domestically and internationally in the United States are under 12. In the 2017 Dave Thomas Foundation/Harris Poll, only 3% of respondents said they "preferred" a child over 13. Some primary motivators for prospective adoptive parents in choosing to adopt a younger child include: wanting to have a better bonding experience, raising a child with fewer social, health and educational issues, and less interference from the birth parents. Some of these attitudes are expressed more in the perceptions of problems in adopting older children (average age of a child in foster care is 8), than in the expressed advantages of younger ones.

Bonding


Health/Emotional Issues


Birth parent separation

  • While adopting from foster-care has the advantage of getting to spend time with the child before adopting, there is also the potential emotional turmoil of the courts or birth-parent stepping in. This is a factor for why some parents prefer to adopt internationally.

Motivators do not seem dependent on family structure, although, according to the Adoption Attitudes Survey, of people considering adoption 34% are single, 23% are married and 34% are living with someone, there was no distinction between homosexual and heterosexual couples. Empty nesters are the rare exception in their preference for older children. Grandparents adopt their own grandchildren. Families with adoption in their history are more likely to adopt in general.


Part
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of twenty-five
Part
06

Adoption Stigmas

Specific stigmas surrounding adoption include the perceptions that adopted children will have problems with trust and bonding, behavior and self-control, school or learning, and physical health and disability. Although these perceptions are still highest among children adopted from foster care, they seem to be decreasing over time for this segment. These stigmas for privately and internationally adopted children are remaining fairly steady since 2012.

Perceptions of Adoption

  • In 2017, 58% of Americans believe that every child is adoptable, which is an improvement over the 51% who believed this in 2012.
  • However, this means that 42% of Americans do not believe every child is adoptable or they are unsure.
  • Women are more likely than men to believe that every child is adoptable as 63% of women believe that every child is adoptable, but 28% of men believe that not every child is adoptable.
  • Younger Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 (75%) and slightly older Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 (65%) are more likely to believe that every child is adoptable.
  • People who are over the age of 65 are more likely to believe that not every child is adoptable (34%).
  • The largest stigma facing adoption in 2017 was that adopted children have problems with trust and bonding. This was true for 13% of people's perception of private infant adoptions, 29% of people's perception of international adoptions, and 45% of people's perception of foster care adoptions.
  • The second-largest stigma facing adoption in 2017 was that adopted children have problems with behavior and self-control. This was true for 12% of people's perception of private infant adoption, 23% of people's perception of international adoptions, and 40% of people's perception of foster care adoptions.
  • The third-largest stigma facing adoption in 2017 was that adopted children have problems with school or learning. This was true for 10% of people's perception of private infant adoptions, 32% of people's perception of international adoptions, and 33% of people's perception of foster care adoptions.
  • The fourth-largest stigma facing adoption in 2017 was that adopted children have problems with physical health and disability. This was true for 8% of people's perception of private infant adoptions, 23% of people's perception of international adoptions, and 22% of people's perception of foster care adoptions.

How Perception has Changed Over Time

  • The perception of adoption from the foster care system appears to be improving:
    • In 2007, 62% of American adults had a favorable or very favorable opinion of adoption from the foster care system, but in 2012, this percentage dropped to 44%.
    • In 2017, the percentage of American adults that had a favorable or very favorable opinion of adoption from the foster care system increased slightly to 49%.
    • Therefore, the perception of adoption from the foster care system is improving, but still lags behind the perception of a decade ago.
  • The perception of international adoption also appears to be improving:
    • In 2007, 38% of American adults had a favorable or very favorable opinion of international adoption, but in 2012, this percentage dropped to 27%.
    • In 2017, the percentage of American adults that had a favorable or very favorable opinion of international adoption increased to 33%.
    • Therefore, the perception of international adoption is improving, but it is still five percentage points behind what it was in 2007.
  • The perception of private adoption does not appear to be improving:
    • In 2007, 68% of American adults had a favorable or very favorable opinion of private adoption, but in 2012, this percentage fell to 42%.
    • In 2017, the percentage of American adults that had a favorable or very favorable opinion of private adoption only increased by one percentage point to 43%.
    • Therefore, the perception of private adoption is very negative compared to what it was in 2007 and it does not appear to be improving much.
  • Specific stigmas regarding adoption have remained steady for private infant adoptions:
    • In 2007, 16% of Americans believed that infants that are privately adopted will have problems with trust and bonding. This dropped to 12% in 2012 and climbed only slightly to 13% in 2017.
    • In 2007, 13% of Americans believed that infants that are privately adopted will have problems with behavior and self-control. This dropped to 10% in 2012 and increased back up to 12% in 2017.
    • In 2007, 10% of Americans believed that infants that are privately adopted will have problems with school or learning. This dipped to 7% in 2012, but was back up to 10% in 2017.
    • In 2007, 9% of Americans believed that infants that are privately adopted will have problems with physical health and disability. This went down to 6% in 2012, but increased to 8% in 2017.
  • Specific stigmas regarding international adoptions have declined since 2007, but remain steady since 2012:
    • In 2007, 35% of Americans believed that children adopted internationally will have problems with trust and bonding. This dropped to 32% in 2012 and further to 29% in 2017.
    • In 2007, 25% of Americans believed that children adopted internationally will have problems with behavior and self-control. This went down slightly to 23% in 2012 and remained at 23% in 2017.
    • In 2007, 35% of Americans believed that children adopted internationally will have problems with school or learning. This dropped to 30% in 2012 and went back up to 32% in 2017.
    • In 2007, 32% of Americans believed that children adopted internationally will have problems with physical health and disability. This decreased significantly to 23% in 2012 and remained at 23% in 3017.
  • Specific stigmas regarding foster care adoption are on the decline:
    • In 2007, 64% of Americans believed that children adopted through foster care will have problems with trust and bonding. This dropped to 53% in 2012 and further to 45% in 2017.
    • In 2007, 59% of Americans believed that children adopted through foster care will have problems with behavior and self-control. This dropped to 46% in 2012 and further to 40% in 2017.
    • In 2007, 49% of Americans believed that children adopted through foster care will have problems with school or learning. This decreased to 38% in 2012 and further to 33% in 2017.
    • In 2007, 34% of Americans believed that children adopted through foster care will have problems with physical health and disability. This went down to 23% in 2012 and slightly dipped again to 22% in 2017.

Research Note

The 2017 US National Adoption Attitudes Survey is the most recent and reliable report regarding adoption stigmas currently available. As such, all data was taken from this source.
Part
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of twenty-five
Part
07

Perceptions of Teenagers

Although there are many who see otherwise, in general, the perception of teenagers in modern society is largely on the same trend as that of antiquity, with a bias toward noticing the negative aspects of behavior patterns, along with the holding of views not shared with the older generations. Despite having any truth or not, these perceptions and stereotypes of teenagers have persisted, and have only been more emphasized in Generation Z, according to other generations. These negative perceptions of the youth of being lazy, more entitled, more self centered and narcissistic, unmotivated, having no patience nor morals, and being distracted and aloof from the real cares of the world, have been readily given to Generation Z, more so maybe than any before, as they are the latest to be under the scope of such criticism in this age of mass information.

Common Perceptions of Teenagers in the US by Other Generations

  • Generation Z, also nicknamed the "iGen," or the "Selfie Generation," for better or worse was the generation born with mass information and technology in their hands, unlike any generation before, and have been stereotyped to be totally impulsive and addicted to this technology, so much so that negative qualities such as laziness and being aloof from real concerns have only been emphasized.
  • In this age of consumerism and materialism, teenagers and Generation Z in particular have been perceived as being more entitled and selfish, impatient, and not understanding or having a real work ethic. Not understanding the value of hard work, Gen Z is seen to not know value of money as well.
  • Teenagers, with Gen Z being the latest evolution of such, are stereotyped as dangerous, reckless, or risk-takers. They have also been stereotyped to be in need of greater protection because of their brash, naive ways.
  • Generation Z is thought to be more disconnected than any generation before it from real human interaction with the rise of technology in the hands of everyone. They are largely believed to be unfavorable to actual face to face human interaction and conversation the more that digital and instant technology and information captures their attention.
  • Being born into such a vast world of mass information, their worldviews often differ greatly than the generations before it, even Generation X and the Millennials, so much that Gen Z is perceived to be unconcerned and distracted from the real cares of the world by all the generations before it, and thus immature and narcissistic.
  • Thought to be only concerned with social media stats and digital entertainment, and spending far too much time online, today's teenagers are thought to be losing their attention spans, and their ability to retain valuable information, or even care to learn more at all.
  • Generation Z, more so than generations before, (whether due to mass information, or more available outlets) is perceived to be the most prone to give in to bad influences such as destructive alcohol and drug behaviors.
  • Being much closer in age, and having much more of an understanding of the impacts of technology and mass information on one's worldviews, cares, and behaviors, both Millennials and Generation X are less prone to stereotype those of Gen Z with such negative qualities simply because of such factors. These generations are less likely than Baby Boomers or those of even older generations to typify Gen Z because of such influences, as they were directly influenced by them as well, often sharing similar views because of it (an example being both Millennials and Gen Z's environmental and social justice awareness). Although exponential generational gaps persist between all ages, and although those of all generations often see the youth in such ways, the dramatic perspectives held here of Gen Z are shared more by those further down the line in misunderstanding them such as the Baby Boomers, due to so many common shared lifestyle traits with Millennials and Gen X.

Research Strategy

A thorough searching of many varied sources such as reputable journals, news outlets, and research articles, revealed the general overall perception of teenagers and Gen Z by other generations, but was unable to definitively demonstrate how these opinions of Gen Z differed amongst these other generations specifically. A large portion of articles and reports focused on the gaps and misunderstandings between Baby Boomers and Gen Z, and after understanding the factors at blame, an assumption could be made that younger generations are less likely to view Gen Z in the same dramatic light, as they too were influenced largely by the same factors (although there are those of these younger generations who still hold to such perceptions of Gen Z). Once a thorough understanding of the perceptions of Baby Boomers on Gen Z was gained through multiple avenues, it was easy to understand that the further away in age and similar influence, the more likely the generation to stereotype in this way.
Part
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of twenty-five
Part
08

Adoptive Parents: Demographics

In the US, adoptive parents tend to be white and more than 30 years old. Majority of adoptive parents in the US are couples who are unable to have children.

AGE

RACE

SEX

  • There are twice as many men adopting than women. Some of these men are gay couples, while others previously fathered children.
  • Men who "adopt are also somewhat younger than their women counterparts with more than 25 percent in the 30-34 age range."

Family Structure

Children

Religion

Location

  • Most parents in the US adopt children domestically. Less than 10% are international adoptions.
  • The US states with the highest adoption rates are California (almost 20,000 adoptions), New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois, Florida, Michigan, and Ohio. These states have more than 10,000 adoptions annually.
  • The most popular countries that Americans adopt from are China, Russia, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and India.

Part
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Part
09

Adoptive Parents: Psychographics

Habits for adoptive parents include practicing Christianity, seeking medical aid regarding getting children, etc. Some of their values are helping needy children, providing care, security, and support to needy children, etc. Below are more insights into the psychographic profile of adoptive parents in the U.S.

Habits

  • Adoptive parents prefer practicing Christianity. According to a survey by EthicsDaily.com, an estimated 5% of practicing Christians in the U.S. have adopted, which is more than two times the total number of adults who have adopted.

Hobbies

  • Due to the lack of information specifically outlining hobbies for adoptive parents, nationwide surveys on hobbies for American parents are included; for instance, some common hobbies for Americans include jogging, running, and walking.
  • In 2017, according to Statista, 41.8% of Americans preferred car, backyard, and RV camping; 44.9% preferred hiking; 47.5% opted for road biking, mountain biking, and BMX; 49.1% went for freshwater, saltwater, and fly-fishing; while 55.9% preferred jogging, running, and trail running.
  • Other common hobbies for parents in the U.S. include gardening, photography, reading, cooking, internet classes, painting, taking local classes, learning a new skill (Photoshop), etc.

Spending Habits

  • Adoptive parents find adoptive costs favorable, especially foster care adoption, which is considered the lowest regarding costs.
  • The majority of adoptive parents find spending on adoption very inexpensive at 11%, somewhat inexpensive at 20%, neither expensive nor inexpensive at 33%, somewhat expensive at 27%, and very expensive at 9%.
  • Research indicates that a majority of adoptive parents are more than willing to spend following their opinions regarding the cost of adoption, which they largely consider inexpensive.
  • Overall, research findings show that in general, Americans spend over $5,000 a year on non-necessities. The statistics can also be attributed to adoptive parents in the U.S.

Values

  • Most adoptive parents, 77% value helping children in need through adoption. Helping children in need is the number one reason cited by many adoptive parents.
  • 25% of respondents in a 2017 survey on adoption claim they value providing adopted children with better homes and good families, compared to foster care. Another 5% value the children's safety and security.
  • In 2017, approximately 90% of adoptive parents preferred adopting a boy but would consider a girl, versus another 90% of adoptive who preferred a girl but would consider a boy.
  • 100% of adoptive parents value adopting children not over 13 years, 96% would value those aged 6 – 12 years, 91% those aged 2 – 5, and 90% would value those not less than two years old.

Research Methodology

Extensive searches across various adoption surveys and reports did not contain comprehensive data specific to the psychographics of adoptive parents. In this regard, information from secondary researches helped create the psychographic profile of adoptive parents in the United States. Using a report published in 2017 dubbed "2017 U.S. Adoption Attitudes Survey" with psychographic elements, we managed to draw a few insights from the report that relate to adoptive parents. Importantly, we relied on general data on parents' hobbies and spending habits due to the lack of specific data on the hobbies and spending habits of adoptive parents. On that note, we assumed that adoptive parents and American parents exhibit the same spending behaviors, which are more driven by lifestyle and disposable income, and share more or the same hobbies like other American parents. Overall, we used a combination of sources to curate the psychographic profile of adoptive parents in the U.S., outlined above.
Part
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Part
10

Prospective Adoptive Parents: Psychographics

Some of the hobbies of prospective adoptive parents in the United States include reading, going on camping and road trips, engaging in recreational sports/activities, and volunteering. Meanwhile, they value education, open communication, intellectual curiosity, and respect.

Habits

  • Most prospective adoptive parents in the United States have a habit of engrossing themselves in their daily activities, hobbies, etc., including reading, exercising, remaining active, among others.
  • Prospective adoptive parents in the United States have a habit of prioritizing their mealtimes, which they use to connect with one another. Eating their meals as a family is essential to prospective adoptive parents.
  • Another habit of prospective adoptive parents in the United States is watching various movies within the comfort of their homes.
  • They also have a habit of actively practicing their faiths, predominantly one of the multiple Christian denominations that are recognized in the United States.

Hobbies

Spending Habits

Values

  • One of the values that prospective adoptive parents in the United States have is that they remain "ready and willing to make a difference in the lives of children in foster care."
  • Prospective adoptive parents in the country also place significant value in education, desiring to help raise individuals that are thoughtful and possess the confidence to prosper.
  • They value being someone that is emotionally intelligent, sympathetic, happy, independent, and responsible, as well as someone that is comfortable and proud of themselves.
  • Moreover, they value respect, compassion, and open communication. Prospective adoptive parents also value intellectual curiosity, creativity, and openness, as well as ensuring that children know that they are supported, adored, and nurtured.
  • Most prospective adoptive parents in the United States express a desire to maintain a relationship and regularly communicate with a child's birth parent, believing that it is crucial to enable them to have a connection.

Research Strategy:

While we were able to locate most of the requested information regarding the habits, hobbies, and values of prospective adoptive parents in the United States, we were unable to find sufficient details on their spending habits. Below is an outline of the research strategies we employed to find this information.

Our research began by searching for surveys and studies conducted by different research groups, advocacy groups, and charitable organizations centered on prospective adoptive parents in the United States. Such groups tend to publish survey and study results on adoption, including information surrounding the psychographics of adoptive parents. We searched through reports from the Dave Thomas Foundation, the Nebraska Foster & Adoptive Parent Association (NFAPA), AdoptUSKids, Taylor & Francis Online, Researchgate, among others. However, none of them provided data on the spending habits of prospective adoptive parents. Most of the sources we encountered focused on parents that have already concluded the adoption process, attitudes towards adoption in the United States, and the perspectives from parents on adoption preparation.

Next, we scoured for reports and articles published by credible publications/entities discussing prospective adoptive parents in the United States to find information on their spending habits. These included Yahoo Finance, The New York Times, The Guardian, among others. Since some reports and articles tend to include details on adoption in the United States, we believed they would address how prospective adopters like to spend their money. Nevertheless, none of them provided relevant information on this topic. The reports and articles we came across primarily concentrated on the spending of parents who have already gone through adoption. We found a report posted on Yahoo Finance that offered information on trends in adoption in the United States, but it did not provide the spending habits of prospective adoptive parents.

Finally, we examined the profiles of prospective adoptive parents through various adoption agencies in the United States, including Building Blocks Adoption Service Inc. and Open Adoption & Family Services. These profiles contain background information on the parents seeking to adopt children, which is why we used this research approach. However, this strategy did not provide the data we were seeking as the couples mostly offered information on their hobbies and values, as well as the reasons they want to adopt, but did not include their spending habits.
Part
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Part
11

Teen Adoption Statistics

While the available information is not sufficient to provide the number and demographic of people in the U.S. who are actively looking to adopt teenagers, the research team has provided useful data: there are about two million people looking to adopt children in the United States. However, American adopters prefer younger children over teenagers, with only about 5% of children aged between 15 years and 18 years finding homes in 2017. Below is an explanation of the methodology as well as an overview of the useful findings.
  • According to AdoptUSKids, American adopters prefer younger children over teenagers, with only about 5% of children aged between 15 years and 18 years finding homes in 2017. This is despite teens account for about 20% of the children in foster care.
  • According to the Adoption Network, "there are no national statistics on how many people are waiting to adopt, but experts estimate it is somewhere between one and two million couples."
  • American Adoptions states that it is difficult to obtain reliable data on the number of Americans waiting to adopt but cites sources that estimate the number to be about two million. This means that there about 36 families waiting to adopt for every child put up for adoption.
  • According to the 2018 AFCARS Report, only 10% of teenagers aged between 13 and 18 years were adopted in the United States in 2018.
  • A 2018 CDC report analyses data from 2011-2015. According to the report, about 25% of U.S. women aged 18-44 years in 2011–2015 considered adoption. While 1.2% of the lot sought to adopt a child, only 0.7% were successful.
  • Women aged between 25 and 44 years were more likely to seek to adopt a child than those aged between 18 and 24 years.
  • According to another CDC report, "people who have adopted are more likely to be men, to be over 30, to be ever married, to have given birth or fathered a child, and to have ever used infertility services than people who have not adopted."
  • Additionally, adoptive mothers are usually older than non-adoptive mothers with about 81% aged 35-44 years compared to 52% of birth mothers.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To provide the number of people in the United States who are actively looking to adopt teenagers, the research team began by searching through the public domain for readily-available reports from adoption-focused resources and agencies such as Adoption Network, Adoption.org, and American Adoptions. We also searched for media reports in the hope that some have highlighted information garnered from surveys or research. While there were some reports on the bias towards teenage children among adopters, there was no breakdown of the demographics that adopt teenage children. We also established that there is very limited information on the overall number of U.S.-based adopters since "there are no national statistics on how many people are waiting to adopt."

Next, the research team decided to conduct a more targeted research in the hope that we could find data that would enable us to compile the required information. We did this by searching for U.S. government statistics provided by resources such as the Children's Bureau, the Department of State, and Social Services. While these resources provided data on the demographics of the children who are adopted in the United States, there was nothing on the adopters, or those who are actively looking to adopt.

Due to the obvious bias towards adopting teenagers in the United States, the research diverted its attention towards younger children. We decided to search for data on the number of people who are actively looking to adopt younger children so that we could triangulate the information. Our logic was that if we found the number and demographic of people who prefer younger children, then we could assume that the rest would have a preference for older children. Again, we were not successful as information on the subject is not available.
Part
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Part
12

Adoptive Parents: Media Preferences

Adoptive parents in the US are a very specific group, and as a result, there is no media preference data available that relates specifically to this group. By determining the average age of adoptive parents, we have been able to determine the media preferences for the population of this age.

Adoptive Parents in the US

Media Preferences.

  • This generation spends more time online than Millennials, spending 21 hours a week online across smartphones, PCs, and tablets. On average Gen X spends 110 minutes each day on their mobile device.
  • Gen X spends around 32 hours each week consuming all media types. 68% watch YouTube for their daily news.
  • The average Gen Xer spends 34% of their daily screen time watching live television. The only group that spent less time watching live television was the 18-35 year old demographic.
  • 42% of Gen X watch 1-2 hours of TV daily, while 40% watch 3-5 hours.
  • They are most likely to watch their TV content through online streaming services. 78% watched most of their television on Netflix compared to live television. The top three video content providers for Gen X were Netflix (69%), YouTube (54%), and Amazon (23%).
  • Facebook is the website that Gen X visit most. Amazon is also popular with Gen X. Gen Xers prefer to watch online videos on either Facebook or YouTube. They watch 1.5 billion YouTube videos daily.
  • Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with 86% of the demographic it. 45.9% use Instagram, 24.5% Twitter, and 19.1% Snapchat. They spend an average of 54 minutes each day on Facebook. Social media is used primarily to keep in touch with family and friends.
  • Gen X's favorite television show over the last 20 years is Game of Thrones.
  • The top users of health related apps are Gen X. Gen Xers are also likely to use apps to watch movies and for travel.
  • Email plays a large role in the lives of Gen X. This demographic checks it regularly at home and work. They are more likely to subscribe to eNewsletters than other generations.

Other Useful Information About Gen X

  • 35% of Gen X have college degrees.
  • Their average income is $50,400 per year.
Part
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Part
13

Prospective Adoptive Parents: Media Preferences

Extensive searches across industry databases, government information portals, and welfare agencies did not uncover generalized statistics showing the specific media preferences for prospective adoptive parents aged 40-60. However, information abundantly available on this topic provides case-specific examples, which are not useful in drawing general conclusions. In this regard, provided below are some helpful findings regarding the examples of media channels preferred by prospective adoptive parents aged.

Prospective Adoptive Parents: Media Preferences Helpful Findings

  • According to the most recent survey by Harris Poll, commissioned by Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, friends and family, TV, and newspapers/magazines are the top sources of adoption information for prospective adoptive parents.
  • The survey, which is updated every five years was last updated in 2017 and shows that family and neighbors are the leading sources of information at 40%, TV 30%, foster agency 22%, internet search engine 22%, child welfare agency 21%, newspapers/magazines 20%, and internet news sites 18%.
  • According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, prospective adoptive parents can use social media platforms and apps like Facebook and Snapchat to connect with people in new and more immediate ways. Other platforms used include video conferencing, online chats, and private Facebook groups.
  • Modern parents are adopting using social media. For instance, Becky Gómez (46) and Jim Gómez (45) used Facebook and Instagram to adopt their child. One family also shared a song parody on Facebook, which got shared about 500 times and elicited over 40,000 views.
  • Some top adoption magazines include RainbowKids, which features monthly articles with expert advice from the larger adoption community.
  • Equally, Adoptive Families Magazine is an award-winning national adoption magazine, which is also the leading adoption information portal for prospective adoptive parents before, during, and after adoption.

Research Methodology

In finding information about the media preferences of prospective adoptive parents in the U.S., your research team commenced searching for national surveys and reports on adoption in the U.S., with more focus on the adoptive parents' media preferences. This approach led us to a Harris Poll survey completed in 2017 with in-depth statistics on adoptive parents' social media preferences; however, the statistics were not specific to apps, TV shows, frequency of mobile habits, etc. that pertain to this query. On that note, we abstracted portions of the survey findings, which we have included as helpful findings above.

Next, we decided to check government portals and welfare organizations with recommendations regarding support and information services regarding child adoption. We looked at reports published by the Child Welfare Information Gateway and the Adoptions from the Heart organization. These sources, too, did not feature in-depth analyses of the media preferences of prospective adoptive parents but contained general information about websites and resources for adoptive parents and their children. For example, the Adoptions from the Heart organization page features links to adoption magazines, financing an adoption, adoption doctors, etc. Therefore, we could not use their findings since they did not explicitly state whether their findings are specific to the media preferences of adoptive parents.

Lastly, we opted to search for information on local and national news agencies such as News Day, the New York Times, Business Wire, etc. Unfortunately, we only found case-specific examples that are not general to all adoptive parents. For example, we uncovered cases where parents have used Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to adopt children; however, these examples do not mean that all prospective adoptive parents prefer these media channels. Thus, due to the lack of generalized data supported by hard statistics and specific to prospective adoptive parents, the findings above reflect on the examples of websites and media channels adoptive parents prefer.
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Part
14

Adoptive Parents: Affinities

Lana Kelsey, Kindred and Co., and Adoption.com are three brands/influencers/personalities with whom adoptive parents identify.

LANA KELSEY

  • Lana Kelsey is the statewide coordinator for Training for Adoption Competency (TAC), a competency-based training program that equips health professionals with the necessary skills to provide adoption competent services.
  • Kelsey is part of open adoption and provides post-adoption support to adoptive families. She also encourages the birth mothers who are usually the forgotten parties in the adoptive process by sending them Mother's Day cards.
  • She is also a part of the North American Council for Adopted Children (NACAC), an organization which "supports, educates, inspires, and advocates so that adoptive families thrive and every child in foster care has a permanent, safe, loving family."
  • The organization believes that one of the best support adoptive and foster care parents can receive is from another parent. As such, it provides resources and assistance to adoptive families, as well as informs them about groups in their communities.

KINDRED AND CO.

  • Kindred and Co. is an adoption community that believes in sharing stories to help adoptive families learn from the experiences of others.
  • The community features blogs from adoptive parents and provides advice and support at all stages of the adoptive process to the parents.
  • Kindred and Co.'s website feed provides a broad range of perspectives and solutions to the toughest aspects of adoptive parenting.
  • It also makes the adoption process easier for adoptive parents by providing modern adoption profile services.

ADOPTION.COM

  • Adoption.com is the world's most-used adoption site and features the most extensive online adoption community of more than 238,000 members.
  • The organization publishes adoption articles, videos, and other adoption-related content. It takes pride in being a part of the adoption journey of a large community base of successful adoptive families.
  • According to CEO Nathan Gwilliam, the organization is about "bringing together the adoption community and giving them a place where they can have a voice."
  • Adoption.com boasts over 1 million pages of adoption-related content on its website and a massive social media following of over 450,000 followers.
Part
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Part
15

Prospective Adoptive Parents: Affinities

Adoptive parents may identify or feel an affinity towards Madonna, Hoda Kotb, and/or Victoria Rowell given that each of these individuals is well-known by the public and they each have personal experiences that prospective adoptive parents could relate to. Madonna faced and overcame numerous challenges during the adoption of her children which may resonate with prospective adoptive parents. Hoda Kotb adopted two children while in her 50s which may provide hope for prospective parents concerned about their age. Victoria Rowell spent her entire youth in foster care and now advocates for foster children so she has a unique perspective to offer prospective parents.

Madonna

  • As a pop signer and actress, Madonna gained celebrity status in the 1980s. By 1991 she already had 21 Top 10 hits.
  • In 2008, Forbes magazine proclaimed Madonna to be the world's wealthiest female musician.
  • Madonna now has six children, 4 of which she adopted from Malawi. She faced numerous challenges throughout each of the adoptions from critics claiming she used her fame to fast-track the adoption process, legal battles claiming Malawi law did not support international adoption, and allegations that she was unfit to adopt given her divorced status. Madonna persevered through each battle.
  • Madonna's celebrity status and fame coupled with the fact that she has adopted 4 children, potentially makes her someone prospective parents would have an affinity towards. In particular, the fact that she overcame numerous challenges both legally and from critics during the adoption processes will likely resonate with prospective parents who may be concerned about facing similar obstacles.
  • Additionally, two of Madonna's children were adopted when they were 4 which may resonate with prospective parents considering adopting children other than newborns.

Hoda Kotb

  • Hoda Kotb is the co-anchor for NBC's TODAY show which is viewed by more than 5 million people every day.
  • Hoda received Daytime Emmy's in 2010, 2011 and 2012 for her work on TODAY.
  • Hoda has written 4 books, 2 of which are New York Times best-selling books including an adult book titled, "I Really Needed This Today: Words to Live By" and a children's book titled, "I've Loved You Since Forever".
  • In February 2017, Hoda adopted her first child, Haley Joy, at the age of 52. She adopted her second child, Catherine Hope in April 2019, when she was 54.
  • Given that Hoda is well-known by the public, evidenced by the fact that the TODAY show is viewed by more than 5 million people every day and that she has already inspired other parents to adopt including television personality, Andy Cohen, Hoda would likely be someone prospective adoptive parents would have an affinity towards.
  • Further, older prospective parents who are considering adoption but are concerned about their age may identify with Hoda Kotb, given that Hoda adopted her first daughter at the age of 52 and the second at the age of 54.

Victoria Rowell

  • A professional dancer and model in her early years, Victoria Rowell's career shifted to acting where she became well-known for her award-winning roles in One Day to Live, As the World Turns, and The Young and the Restless.
  • After entering the foster system at only 16 days old, Victoria spent her entire youth in foster care.
  • Victoria founded a nonprofit organization she called Rowell’s Foster Children’s Positive Plan (RFCPP) which advocates for foster children in the form of scholarships for fine arts lessons and athletic training.
  • As a well-known actress, Victoria Rowell is an individual that prospective parents could potentially have an affinity towards given her personal experience in foster care and her continued work with foster children today.
  • Additionally, Victoria spent her entire youth life until the age of 18 in foster care, so she could speak to what life as a teenager is like in foster care which may resonate with prospective parents considering adopting teenagers.

Research Strategy

In order to identify brands, celebrities, influencers or personalities with whom prospective adoptive parents could identify or have an affinity towards, research was initially focused on well-known individuals or celebrities who want to adopt in the future. After searching reliable news reports, biographies, and articles, little information was found about celebrities or well-known persons who currently want to but have not yet adopted a child. Therefore, research was focused on finding examples of well-known individuals that have already adopted children, in particular teenagers. While little information was found relating to celebrities that adopted have teenagers, there are numerous sources for well-known individuals who have adopted younger children. Given that there was little information relating to adopting teenagers, we included the third individual listed, Victoria Rowell, to provide a different perspective as she has personal experience as a teenager in foster care.
Part
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Part
16

Cultural Milestones: Adoption

Prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents who have completed the adoption process use social media in similar ways, including as platforms to share the adoption journey, as ways to maintain contact with birth families in open adoption situations, and as platforms whose uses by adopted children need to be limited or controlled for safety reasons.

The Adoption Journey

  • Prospective adoptive parents post about their search for a child to adopt. "Facebook has a design that allows for multiple uses when it comes to adoption. People can not only create personal profiles but pages and groups about their adoption journey."
  • "With platforms like Twitter ... prospective adoptive parents [can] keep their followers updated" on the progress of their adoption journey. They can also "follow influencers in the adoption world. "
  • Social media platforms that are based on sharing of photos, such as Instagram and Snapchat, "are a great way to update followers on the adoption journey. Both of these platforms are also a place to display the everyday life of a prospective adoptive parent."
  • Prospective adoptive parents post profiles of themselves to help demonstrate their fitness for adoption and their values.
  • Birth parents use social media to find information about people who are interested in adopting their babies. "When a birth parent is looking at adoption profiles, it is very likely that they may search through the social media presence of those prospective adoptive parents. ... This can give a lot of birth parents a better idea of the person you are day to day. It also helps get the word out that you are adopting."
  • Using social media, prospective adoptive couples "... can go on Facebook or Instagram and share quick-hit snapshots of their lives, giving birth parents a window into who they are and what they're like, basically painting a picture for them of how the child might be raised.
  • Some prospective adoptive parents use social media to raise funds to pay the adoption fees. "Social media is the quickest way to reach people. It is the most efficient way to let the largest amount of people know about your intent to adopt and about the money you might need in order to move forward. Many people use sites such as GoFundMe" and share about fundraising opportunities through Facebook and Twitter."
  • Prospective adoptive parents and parents who have completed the adoption process use social media to find information about adoption issues such as transracial adoption and cross cultural adoption and ways to navigate them.

Maintaining Contact Between Birth Families and Adoptive Families

  • Many adoptive families use social media to maintain contact with their adopted child's birth parent or parents. "Social media helps [sic] children who have been adopted stay connected with their families, including birth siblings who may be living in foster homes or with other adoptive families. These connections can help adoptive parents fill gaps in their child's medical history and other birth-family information."
  • Creating a private Facebook page is one way to control who sees the photos and information about adopted children. In an open adoption, adoptive parents can set up a "separate, private website or private Facebook page to share pictures, information and milestones between the birth and adoptive families."
  • An example of a Facebook post from an adoptive mother to a birth family is this: "Armed with my smart phone, I recorded our six-month-old son taking his first few bites of baby food. He reacted as you might have expected surprised, then disgusted, and finally it all came oozing out and down his chin. It was a major milestone in his development and worthy of sharing. Immediately after I posted it to Facebook, his birth mom and birth grandfather both “Liked” it and commented on it. "
  • Social media posts about adopted children can have unintended consequences that adoptive parents must consider. One example: "When we adopted our second child, his birth mom expressed interest in connecting with us on Facebook and Skype. Without hesitation, I accepted her Facebook 'friend' request. Then 'friend' requests began pouring in from her parents, her siblings, and her extended family many that we didn’t know. ... I struggled with how to proceed."

Limiting Adopted Children's Contacts with Birth Families

  • Sometimes it is a matter of safety for adoptive families to control or prevent contact with birth family members. "“When we adopted Ava at birth, we had an explicit written agreement with her birth parents that we would send them annual letters and pictures via the adoption agency and that Ava could contact her birth parents when she turned 18,” Charlene explains. But now, Ava’s biological younger sister, who’s being raised by Ava’s birth parents, has contacted Ava on Facebook. Ava’s birth parents didn’t know about this contact before it happened because Ava’s sister did it from a friend’s smartphone. Now the girls are Facebook friends. "
  • "All the ins and outs and intrigue of the girls’ communications are broadcast on their Facebook walls. As a result, Ava is now in touch with five other biological siblings, four of whom had been adopted by four other families. There is much mental illness, addiction, incarceration, and upheaval in Ava’s birth family, and it is unknown what is going on in the other four adoptive families. " The adoptive family lost control of their daughter's social media use.
  • "Today, adoptive parents must anticipate and plan for the likelihood of digital contact with birth family members."

Research Strategy

We did not find any scholarly articles, blog posts, or newspaper articles about adoptive parents posting cultural milestones on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms. However, on Facebook Search, we found several pages on adoption, just as our sources had suggested. One set of pages is called "Adoption Stories". Others are called Adoption Support Network, Adoption Support Group, Adoption Groups, Adoption, U.S. Kids for Adoption, and so on. There was no immediately available way to sample these pages to determine whether adoptive parents were posting cultural milestones. There are articles available such as "The Ten Best Adoption Blogs", but in viewing a couple of these, we did not find mentions of parents posting cultural milestones on social media. We looked at surveys of adoptive parents, but found that the parents were not asked questions about cultural milestones being posted on social media. Instead, adoptive parents were asked about their struggles, triumphs, need for information, and so on, as any parent might be asked. There were surveys of social workers and how they use social media in their adoption work. There were surveys of parents and children and how the parents monitor the children's media use. It appears that no one has published any information on the question of adoptive parents' cultural milestone posts.
Part
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Part
17

Adoption: Social Conversations

Three of the most popular topics of discussion for adoptive parents on social media include whether to inform children of their adoption, reasons for returning adoptive children, and how to pick adoptive children.

Whether To Inform Children of Their Adoption

Reasons for Returning Adoptive Children

How To Pick Adoptive Children

Research Strategy

In order to identify the most popular topics of discussion for adoptive parents on social media, we looked through different platforms such as Facebook, Reddit and blogs for forums where adoptive parents discussed issues. We eventually chose Reddit as the most reliable way to see which topics were discussed the most, because it shows how many people commented on a particular topic. We went through different topics discussed by adoptive parents on the platform, and chose those with the most comments as the most popular.
Part
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Part
18

US Adoption Rates

Based on the available statistics, the number of adopted teenagers in the U.S. per annum would be 13,500 and the number adoptions of children aged 12 years and below would be about 121,500.

Intercountry Adoptions
  • According to the Department of State, there were about 4,058 intercountry adoptions involving the United States in 2018. The number of intercountry adoptions in 2018 was an 82% was a reduction of about 82% since 2004.
  • Of all intercountry adoptions, 34 children were aged below one year, 1,124 were aged from 1-2 years, 912 were aged from 3-4 years, and 1,320 were aged from 5-12 years, making a total of 3,390.
  • Of these adoptions, about 606 children were aged between 13 and 17 years and only 62 were aged 18 and above, making a total of 668 adoptions.

Total Adoptions

  • Based on the available data, 2014 was the last year that full data is available. In 2014, there were 110,373 total adoptions (both domestic and intercountry) in the United States.
  • However, the Adoption Network estimates that there are currently about 135,000 adoption in the United States per annum.
  • The Children's Bureau only provides a breakdown of the number of adoptions involving agencies, probably because they are reported. According to its 2018 AFCARS report, 63,123 children were adopted with welfare agency involvement in 2018. Of these, about 90% are aged 12 years and below while 10% are aged between 13 and 18 years.

Triangulation

  • Assuming that the percentages of the number of adoptions involving agencies reflects the entire distribution, and taking the estimates provided by the Adoption Network, then the number of teenagers in the U.S. per annum would be 13,500 (10% of 135,000) and the number adoptions of children aged 12 years and below would be 121,500 (90% of 135,000).
RESEARCH STATISTICS
While it was not difficult to find the number of intercountry adoptions (because they are regulated by the Department of State), 2014 was the last year that full data is available for the total number of adoptions in the United States. Notably, adoption numbers involving agencies was available, probably because there are reporting protocols. However, we found estimates by the Adoption Network that enabled us to calculate more current estimates. Additionally, while there was some demographic breakdowns of adopters in the United States, there was no breakdown by the age of the adoptees. This was determined after searching through the public domain for industry-relates and media reports then considering both government and commercial statistics sites. We also tried to find statistics surrounding younger children in the hope that we could triangulate, but to no avail. However, the research team determined that there is a bias towards teenage children as most potential adopters prefer younger children.

Part
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Part
19

Adoption Rate Drivers

In recent years, non-traditional family units and inter-generational living have greatly increased the US adoption rates. Transracial and single-parent families, as well as same-sex couples, are adopting children, with over 2 million LGBTQ individuals interested in adoption. In addition, relative/kinship adoption is on the rise because US grandparents are increasingly adopting their grandchildren.

Non-traditional Family Units Increase Adoption Rates in the US

Today’s family units are more diverse, particularly in the world of adoption. LGBTQ, same-sex marriages, transracial, and single-parent households are increasingly considering adoption in the US.

LGBTQ and Same-sex Marriage

Transracial Families

Single-parent Families

Inter-generational Living Raises US Adoption Rates

Part
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Part
20

Celebrities Who Were Adopted

Celebrities or notable figures who were adopted as teenagers include Ken Shamrock, Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson.

1. Ken Shamrock

2. Bill Clinton

3. Jesse Jackson


Part
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Part
21

Foster Care in the US

It is estimated between 1.61 million and 2.14 million Americans have spent time in foster care at some point in their lives. Some interesting insights around foster care in the US have also been included.

Interesting Insights

  • 690,000 US children spent time in foster care in 2017.
  • The average stay in foster care is two years, with 6% staying five or more years.
  • 33% of children entering foster care are African American.
  • 11% of those in foster care are in group homes or residential facilities.
  • 49% of those in foster care are returned to their parents or primary caregivers.
  • Data from 2008 to 2017 shows the number of children under 18 in foster care on any day varies. In 2008, there were 453,039 children in foster care, while in 2012, there were 375,472. Since then, the number has continued to rise to 443,00 in 2017. The median number of children in foster care over this period was 414,256.

Calculation of Number of Americans who Spent Time in Foster Care

  • Between 1990 and 2017 the percentage of US children in foster care varied between 0.54% to 0.79%. The median was 0.65%. The most recent census data records the number of children under 18 in the US at 74,181,467.
  • In 1986, the number of US children in foster care on any day was 273,000, rising to 360,000 in 1989. The US census in 1990 recorded 64,200,000 children under the age of 18.
  • Based on this data the median number of children in foster care between 1986 and 1989 was 316,500 or 0.49%. Data prior to this time was relatively stable, with 1960 and 1986 having similar numbers.
  • The US population is 329,227,000.
  • The percentage of children in foster care between 1986 and 2017 was between 0.49% and 0.65%.
  • The estimated number of Americans who have spent time in foster care is between 1.61 million and 2.14 million.

Research Strategy

We first attempted to determine the number of people in the US who had spent time in foster care at some point in their lives by reviewing government publications, reports, and statistics. These sources provided some general data regarding the number of children in foster care at any particular time. There was almost no information from before 1991.

Our second strategy saw us review the publications, reports, and statistics compiled by third-party organizations, including child rights groups, foster care awareness groups, and various media groups. These sources provided some useful statistics and information regarding the numbers in foster care between 1986 and 2017. There was no data regarding the number of Americans who have been in foster care at some point.

Given the information that we had located, we felt that it was possible to triangulate this figure. We had two sources of data for the period between 1986 (-1989) to (1991-) 2017. The high and low percentage of children in foster care was available for each period. The median for each period was determined, and these figures leveraged against the American population. The two sources were not complete datasets, rather highlights of each period, which is why we have used the median for each period.

Median 1986-1989 = 0.49%
Median 1991-2017 = 0.65%
American population = 329,227,000
(0.0049 x 329,227,000) — (0.065 x 329,227,000)
= 1.61 million — 2.14 million

We have assumed, in making this calculation, that the number of people who spent time in foster care before 1986 was consistent with the 1986–1989 dataset. This assumption was made because the data suggested there was relative stability in child and foster care numbers, between 1960 and 1986. We have also assumed that the upper and lower limits we had calculated could be applied to the general population.
Part
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Part
22

Teenage Adoption

The time frame it takes to adopt a teenager in the US varies based on the form of adoption. Kinship adoption takes a minimum of 3 months for the process to be completed whereas, Fictive kin adoption takes a minimum of 6 months.

Key findings

  • According to research from Adoption org, it typically takes a minimum of three months to adopts teens in most states in the United States.
  • Fictive kin adoption of teens usually takes a minimum of 6 months, this is the kind of adoption that involves teachers, coaches, youth pastors, and others adopting teens they already know and have a relationship with.
  • The time it takes to adopt a teen in the US depends on factors such as paperwork, background checks, home inspections and, more.
  • The form of teen adoption which tends to be the fastest is known as a kinship adoption, this form of adoption tends to be faster and preferable because "family members are not strangers. They know one another, have eaten in one another’s homes, and are familiar with one another’s culture. It’s a natural transition."
  • The US also allows a form of foster adoption where the teen stays in the house of the adopter for about 6 months before the actual adoption.
  • According to UMFS, It takes a period of 3 to 6 months for a licensed foster parent.
  • Recent research shows that "teenagers in the U.S. are not adopted as often as younger children, with only 5 percent of kids between 15 and 18 years old finding their forever homes in 2017.
Part
23
of twenty-five
Part
23

Adoption Process Hurdles

According to survey results by YouGov, cost (20%), not wanting children (20%), only preferring biological children (13%), being unprepared for emotional needs (10%) and being unprepared for health needs (8%) were the top reasons that people in the US did not consider adoption. Based on our findings, the most common hurdles that prospective parents who are interested in adoption faced include its cost, legal challenges, health and emotional concerns, and the waiting period/uncertainty.

Cost of Adoption

  • Cost is among the biggest hurdles faced by prospective parents considering adoption. An article by Adoption Life states that the average cost of adoption in the US ranges from $30,000-$45,000. However, depending on the adoption route taken the cost range will vary and may start from a few thousand dollars.
  • The cost typically includes an application fee, home-study fees and updates, outreach and program fees, and post-placement services. There may be additional costs depending on whether the birth family requires living expenses or medical support (agency and court-approved).
  • While adopting a child through foster care eliminates most of the above costs and is significantly less expensive compared to domestic (agency or private) or international routes, adoption through this method is not always guaranteed and the process can take roughly 1-1.5 years.

Legal Constraints

  • According to an article from Cofsky and Zeidman (Attorneys at Law), irrespective of the adoption route taken, there are numerous legal concerns that must be considered. For e.g: if one of the biological birth parents has not relinquished their rights to the child, it will cause further legal challenges. It is vital that both parents are aware of the adoption, whether open or closed.
  • Adopting a child from another country would also require compliance with country-specific laws relating to adoption, meeting visa requirements, etc.

Health Problems and Emotional Issues

  • Adoptive parents may have concerns about the potential health problems of the child. Being unaware of the child's medical history and health needs may cause unexpected issues (e.g financial) later on. Such health issues may arise from inherited diseases and possible drug use during pregnancy.
  • Another common hurdle that adaptive parents fear is having to deal with emotional issues after adopting a child. This may include parenting challenges of raising an adopted child, problems with adjusting to a new family, issues with birth parents, etc.

Waiting Period and the Uncertainty

  • According to the National Adoption Foundation, adopting a child can take a few months to several years, and can be very stressful and time-consuming. Waiting time depends on the age of the child, race, and type of adoption.
  • There is a much longer waiting period to adopt an infant or Western European children. Adapting a newborn child or a child from overseas can take several years. The waiting period for older, Eastern European, African and Asian descent, and minority children is relatively shorter.
  • An article from Low Country Parent states that "it can involve a home inspection, a financial review and a background check. But whether it’s done through a public, private or international agency, one part of the adoption process is universal: the anxious, hopeful waiting."


Part
24
of twenty-five
Part
24

Adoption Advertising

Social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter are popular channels for advertising adoption services, with the former being much more popular than the latter. YouTube is another popular social media channel of choice, as well as running concurrent TV spots of the videos.

State Laws on Adoption Advertising

  • Most US states allow government and child welfare agencies to advertise “for finding suitable homes for children.” Additionally, in 24 states, agencies that are licensed to provide adoption services are permitted to advertise those services. In two states (Kansas and New Mexico), agencies not licensed by the state may also advertise “as long as the advertisement clearly indicates that the agency is not licensed.”
  • Other states also limit which entities or persons can advertise for adoptions and how they advertise. This applies to attorneys specializing in adoption, birth parents wishing to place a child up for adoption, prospective parents hoping to adopt, and “prospective adoptive parents who have approved preplacement assessments.” In Mississippi, physicians can advertise, in Louisiana, crisis pregnancy centers can advertise, and in Colorado and Wisconsin, state adoption exchange and resource centers for adoption can advertise. Four states prohibit adoption advertising in cases of people trying to find children to adopt, people trying to place adoptive children, and related cases.
  • In Alabama and Kentucky, no advertising of any kind can be used for adoptions. Eleven states prohibit advertising for adoptions by any person or entity other than state agencies or those licensed by the state. Other states have specific rules prohibiting advertising by certain parties, like attorneys, clergy members, hospitals, and other agencies/organizations/entities.
  • A full list of the state laws related to adoption advertising can be found here.

YouTube Videos (& TV Video PSA-Spots) Are Popular Choices

  • YouTube videos which are also often used as PSA-Spot advertisements on television, are a popular place and method used to advertise for adoptions.
  • A national advertising campaign to raise “awareness of the need for adoptive families” has been running for 15 years. The “National Adoption Recruitment Campaign is a partnership of AdoptUSKids, the Children’s Bureau, and the Ad Council.” Recent years’ campaigns have included a selection of videos posted on the AdoptUsKids YouTube channel, which each video and PSA ending with “You can’t imagine the reward. Thousands of teens in foster care ready to make an impact on your life,” serving to remind prospective parents of the huge number of teens in foster care awaiting adoption.
  • This national campaign includes “new TV, radio, print, out-of-home, and digital PSA materials” which were distributed to media outlets all over the country, the time for which was completely donated (a value of over $608 M). Since the launch of the campaign, the advertising has assisted more than 32,000 children with finding adoptive homes.
  • Another current campaign by AdoptUsKids, which runs on YouTube and TV ad spots (among other places like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest) is the TV commercial called “First Date.” In this emotional spot, “a father assists his adopted teenage son in asking a girl to prom by helping him build large decorated letters that spell out ‘PROM?’ to display on her lawn.” Related commercials from the agency include “Teen Proofing,” “First Heartbreak,” “Real Rewards,” and “Haircut.”
  • AdoptUsKids advertises through their website, on Facebook and Twitter, hosts videos on YouTube, and runs TV and radio spots. The Ad Council advertises in the exact same way (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TV, radio). It is not known if either organization runs print ads.
  • General searches for YouTube channels related to adoption services returned hundreds (or thousands, this is unclear) of results for agencies promoting their adoption services. This appears to be one of the most popular places for these agencies as videos are a strong marketing tactic with this issue.

Facebook Is Also a Popular Social Media Choice

  • As noted above, Facebook is used by AdoptUsKids and by the Ad Council for ads related to adoption. Other agencies, both private and state, also use the social media channel to promote adoption services through articles, videos, and other posts.
  • In 2017, The Ad Council ran a advertising-based study on Facebook called the “Facebook Brand Lift Study;” this was another project in partnership with AdoptUsKids. The campaign involved two “different assets against a website click objective.” The first asset was a “30-second cutdown of our laugh-inducing “Morning Time” PSA, while the other was a longer emotional story about being adopted from foster care.”
  • The goal of the test was to determine which video (the shorter comedy-based one or the longer emotion-based) appealed more to viewers. The shorter, funnier video took the winning spot in number of click links (driving 9000 more clicks and 100,000 more sessions than the other), and in the total number of views (earning more than 400,000 views of the entire 30-second video). The longer, emotional video earned the top spot for “time spent on site,” and for total number of shares (beating the shorter video by almost 3500 shares).
  • A search for “adoption agencies” on Facebook turned up hundreds of agencies, although some of them were related to pet/animal adoptions rather than the adoption of children. One example is a private adoption agency in Colorado called CO4Kids that focuses their posts on everything related to children’s safety, health, and welfare, including adoption services.
  • Additionally, all three state agencies researched (Florida, Colorado, Washington) had Facebook profiles, so it's likely that all similar state agencies (or most) also have profiles on the site.

Notes on Twitter

  • A search for multiple keywords related to adoption or adopting a child was conducted on Twitter and no related US-based ads or groups came up. That said, multiple state agencies have profiles on Twitter and use them to advertise various children’s rights and health issues, including adoption.

State Agencies’ Advertising for Adoption Services

  • A review of the state agencies in charge of adoption focused on the advertising or marketing they create for adoption services was conducted on three states.
  • In Florida, the Office of Adoption and Child Protection is the overarching office in charge of these services. Their annual reports, like this one from 2017, show no information on marketing or advertising, nor could any instances of ads or marketing materials be located for this state organization. The agency in charge of foster care is the Florida Department of Children and Families. The only advertising, apart from press releases, that they appear to do is on Twitter and Facebook.
  • In Colorado, the Department of Human Services is in charge of foster care and adoptions in the state. Their news page shows only press releases, blogs, publications, and reports, but nothing related to advertising of any additional types. Continued search for examples of any ads created by this agency returned limited results, with the exception of general print articles, like this one from The Denver Post (published in 2016), which details the state’s free “kinship adoption” program. They do have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles, however.
  • In Washington state, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families is in charge of adoption services for children in state foster care. This department’s media page shows only press releases and related print/digital media articles posted from those releases. [13] No other advertising of any kind could be found from this agency, though they do have a Facebook page, and appear to have a YouTube channel.
Part
25
of twenty-five
Part
25

Adoption Advertising Case Studies

Two examples of successful advertising campaigns around adoption include AdoptUSKids' emotional storytelling video and FosterMore's "Donate Your Small Talk" campaign. Details of these examples are below.

AdoptUSKids and Emotional Storytelling

  • AdoptUSKids.org, in partnership with the Ad Council, ran a 2-minute-and 39-second video on Facebook that tells the story of Ashley, a 16-year-old foster child who was adopted after three years in foster care.
  • The video touches on the surprise people have when hearing that Liz, the adoptive mother, adopted Ashley as a teenager.
  • It also talks about Liz's motivations for adopting Ashley as a teenager, including Ashley's difficult life and Liz's desire to give her a forever home.
  • Ashley explains that she never thought she would be adopted because she knew the statistics are poor for teenagers finding adoptive families.
  • The video explains the impact the adoption had on Ashley as she began to feel wanted for the first time in her life and illustrates how because of the adoption, Ashley was able to start a charity that provides comfort items to children removed from their homes and placed in foster care.
  • Finally, the video talks about how many children are in foster care who need homes and encourages viewers to consider adopting older children.
  • This video was uploaded to YouTube and Facebook.
  • The video received 40,000 reactions on Facebook and the visitors that clicked through to AdoptUSKids.org were more likely to request information and complete the campaign than other advertising methods.
  • On YouTube, the video has received 16,808 views and has been shared 3,500 more times than other video formats.

FosterMore's "Donate Your Small Talk" Campaign

  • Brand Knew, an ad agency, designed an advertising campaign for FosterMore, a "coalition of not for profit organizations and foundations working to raise awareness of the youth in America’s foster care system."
  • The campaign, which was titled "Donate Your Small Talk," was centered on foster care awareness and designed to "spark conversation and inspire people to spend their 'small talk' discussing things that matter, like foster care."
  • A landing page was created that provided visitors with foster care facts that could be easily shared on social media.
  • In a matter of weeks, both influencers and major television networks were repeating the foster care facts and the landing page became the "highest-trafficked part of the FosterMore website."
  • Additionally, Brand Knew created foster care-related videos that were posted on FosterMore's social media pages. The videos were about 30 seconds in length and featured people talking about foster care and providing foster care facts during everyday, ordinary situations such as sitting in a taxi cab, waiting to get their car serviced, and during a conference call.
  • The message of the videos was that just bringing up foster care information can make a difference to the kids in foster care.
  • These videos generated 4.1 million impressions, 55,600 click-throughs, and 523 conversions, which means that as a result of this campaign, 523 new adults registered to be foster mentors or adoptive parents over a six-month time frame.
  • Print ads were placed in Times Square and in "every taxi cab in New York City." The campaign also appeared on Good Morning America.
Sources
Sources

From Part 05
Quotes
  • "Perceived rewards associated with adopting a child. These perceived rewards can include choosing children with the characteristics the parents prefer, raising them according to the parents’ value and belief systems, and receiving social and emotional benefits following adoption, such as increased status and love (Hollingsworth & Ruffin, 2002). "
  • " Some potential factors impacting parents’ adoption motivations include institutional structures in domestic adoption and international adoptions (e.g., waiting times, costs, potential interference from birth parents) and use of different types of adoption agencies (Hollingsworth & Ruffin, 2002; Hellerstedt et al., 2008). Characteristics of adopted children, including physical and psychological characteristics, health issues, health insurance costs, age, gender, race, and culture represent additional factors that can impact adoptive parents’ motivations to adopt domestically or internationally (Riley, 1997; Hollingsworth & Ruffin, 2002; Lee, 2003; Ishizawa et al., 2006; Zhang & Lee, 2010; Kreider, 2011; Placek, 2011)."
  • "The major demographic characteristics of the domestic adoptive parents and the international adoptive parents in this sample were similar. All participants in this study were White. The majority of adoptive parents were aged 30-59, married, middle-income (i.e., $40,000 -$119,999), and had received some level of higher education (i.e., either some college, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or graduate degree)."
  • "distal global, national, community, and family cultural norms, expectations, perceptions, and experiences all converge at the proximal individual cultural filter level to shape adoption behaviors and decisions. Because I was adopted, it gave me the understanding of the importance to adopt a child. National culture can influence parents’ motivations to adopt in different ways, such as through public attitudes and norms, national adoption policies and laws, and adoption agencies’ decisions regarding whom they will and will not permit to adopt."
  • "Domestic adoptive parents and international adoptive parents indicated several similar motivations behind their decisions to adopt a child (Figure 1). The results of this study indicated that saving a child from an unpleasant environment, being unable to have a biological child, cultural factors, religious beliefs, a general desire to do something noble, and having the ability to provide for a child were the common major motivations shared between domestic and international adoptive parents. "
  • " About half of the adoptive families (six families) said that they cared about the adopted child’s age, and four of them clearly stated that they wanteda baby (a child younger than one year). The reasons that they wanted a younger child varied. Some of them were looking for an experience witha baby, while others thought that a younger baby would be healthier and would have experienced minimal trauma. "
  • "Shared domestic and international intrinsic adoption motivations identified by participants in this study included saving a child, the desire for more children, the desire toexpress personal liberty, positive previous experience as adoptive parents, contextual emotional experience, the desire to continue parenting, the desire to do something noble, the inability to have biological children, intrinsic religious beliefs, and choosing to reduce the population explosion. Extrinsic motivations were generally identified in this study as the externally driven motivations that originate outside of the parents that may be influenced by others, contexts, circumstances, expectations, perceptions, or other experiences. Shared domestic and international extrinsic motivations in this study included waiting time, financial costs, ability to provide for a child, spending time with a child before adoption (foster care system only), extrinsic religious belief, and laws and policies. These motiva-tions were shared by both domestic and international adoptive parents, though it is interesting to note that the specific circumstances for each family determined "
Quotes
  • "The age the child was adopted and the number of placements the child had in foster care werea couple risk factors of adoption discontinuity (Faulkneret al., 2017; Rolock & White, 2016).Children that experienced the least amount of discontinuity were children that were adopted or achieved permanence in some way before they turned threeyears old. Children are more likely to experience discontinuity the older they are. The probability of discontinuity is highest for teenagers (Rolock & White, 2016). "
Quotes
  • "Through the application of sociological theory, one can truly understand the role that societal influences and individual desires have on the motivations of potential adoptive parents. The family life course developmental framework illustrates how societal norms and expectations guide individual behaviors. For instance, a married couple in their 30’s should have children, as such infertile couples will seek out other means of growing their families if they have not had children by this stage in their life course. Additionally, they will seek a child that would mirror a birth child in terms of race and age. Social exchange and rational choice theories add in the individual self-interests of potential adoptive parents. When adopting, parents educate themselves and must decide what child characteristics are most important to them and what mode of adoption they wish to undertake (international, foster care or private domestic)."
  • "Figure 5 contains the conceptual model that is examined with data from adoptive parents gathered from The National Survey of Adoptive Families (CDC, 2007-2008). The variables in the model are parental motivations towards adoption (infertility, expand family, wants siblings for an existing child, altruistic reasons or have a close connection with adoption), variables related to why they would adopt from foster care (shorter wait, cheaper, wanted older child, wanted special needs child, previously adopted from foster care or wanted to give a child a home) and other forms of adoption (international and private domestic)."
  • "Wanting to adopt a child in need, wanting to expand their family, having friends who adopted, having infertility issues and having family members who have adopted were the top reasons why the respondents adopted. All three modes of adoption had the same top five reasons for adopting, but the ordering of their top two reasons fluctuated (wanting to expand their family and wanting to adopt a child in need)."
  • "For preferred child age, 10.1% were open to a child of any age, 50.6% preferred a child younger than 2 years of age, 25.8% preferred a child between the ages of 2 and 5 years of age, 10.1% preferred a child between the ages of 6 and 12 years of age and 3.4% preferred a child age 13 years or older. Of those not preferring a particular age group, 80% would accept a child under the age of 2 years, 75% would accept a child between the ages of 2 and 5 years, 44.1% would accept a child between the ages of 6 and 12 years and 19.5% would accept a child age 13 years or above. "
  • "Flexibility in Child AgeDescriptive statistics (t-tests, ANOVAs and correlations) are utilized to compare flexibility in a potential adoptive child’s age by the respondent’s race, has had a live birth(s), wants a/another child, marital status, age, income, education level and number of pregnancies (Table 20a, b & c). Wants A/Another Child, Current Marital Status and Total Annual Income are all statistically significant. Wanting a/another child is associated with decreased flexibility in desired child’s age. While both wanting a/another child and not wanting a/another child were both at the lower end of flexibility, those wanting a/another child were slightly closer to indifference in terms of child’s age (1.43 out of a scale of 1-3). Separated individuals are the most flexible, followed by never married and divorced in terms of child age. Separated individuals are close to indifferent 89 in terms of child’s age (1.88 out of a scale of 1-3). Married respondents were the least flexible with a 1.17 out of 3. Income is highly correlated with flexibility in child’s age in a negative direction, meaning that women with lower income levels are more flexible in child’s age. Furthermore, income is significantly correlated with education in a positive direction, meaning that as education increases so does income."
  • ""Results: The results show that the average woman seeking to adopt is older, nonwhite, married or separated and wants a/another child. Overall, respondents show flexibility in child race, gender and the number of children in a sibling group, but inflexibility in age and disability status. Respondent's race, age and education are not significant predictors of flexibility in any of the child characteristics. A higher number of pregnancies and a lower annual income predict overall flexibly in child characteristics. Motivations for adoption include: Wanting to expand their families and having friends who adopted are significant predictors of adopting internationally; Altruism is a significant predictor of adoption from foster care, and; Infertility and wanting a sibling for an existing child are significant predictors of adopting via private domestic adoption.""
Quotes
  • "• The construction of adoptive family relationships is a complex task involving establishing bonds between adoptees and adopters and developing a positive identity as a non-conventional, non-biological family. Psychological integration, the development of mutually rewarding relationships, and a sense of belonging and permanence are critical to the success of the adoption. • Although infants are “hard-wired” for attachment and may integrate readily into an adoptive family, attachment may be slower to establish with older children and those who have experienced adversity. Older children may enter into the relationship with mistrust and with negative expectations and attachment problems based on their previous experiences of maltreatment and loss and may respond in an atypical manner to the parents’ efforts to nurture and care for them. APs who are unprepared for these challenges may misinterpret children’s behaviors and respond in ways that discourage rather than promote attachment"
From Part 16
Quotes
  • "Social media has revolutionized so many aspects of everyday life. For adoption, social media can be an absolute game-changer. Social media can offer everything from research, support, fundraising and more. It can even be a platform for you to match with a child for adoption. On the other hand, social media can provide some downfalls in the adoption process and open you up to both scams and criticism. It will be using social media to your advantage and knowing how to do so that will make all of the difference in your adoption process. "
  • "Facebook has a design that allows for multiple uses when it comes to adoption. People can not only create personal profiles but pages and groups about their adoption journey. Prospective adoptive parents could even possibly solicit donations from others using the Facebook platform. "
  • "With platforms like Twitter, which utilizes short text communications, prospective adoptive parents could keep their followers updated on their adoption journey or follow influencers in the adoption world. "
  • "Photo social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat also have a place in the adoption world as well. Both are a great way to update followers on the adoption journey. Both of these platforms are also a place to display the everyday life of a prospective adoptive parent."
  • "When a birth parent is looking at adoption profiles, it is very likely that they may search through the social media presence of those prospective adoptive parents. ... Using social media to create an adoption profile can be very productive. You can post updates about your adoption, post more about your family, and even share photos of your daily life. This can give a lot of birth parents a better idea of the person you are day to day. It also helps get the word out that you are adopting. "
  • "Social media is also a great way to raise funds for your adoption. There is really no better way to let people know that you are adopting than through social media. In today’s world, people are so connected due to social media. We literally have the world at our fingertips! Social media is the quickest way to reach people. It is the most efficient way to let the largest amount of people know about your intent to adopt and about the money you might need in order to move forward. Many people use sites such as GoFundMe, however, they share these fundraising opportunities through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Sharing will allow others to share and to expand your call for support. "
  • "Social media is also a great way to find support for your adoption. This may be support from family and friends. Not only can you fundraise on your personal page, but it is often helpful to know that people are praying for you or wishing you well. Any extra encouragement can mean a lot in the hard times of the adoption process. You may also be able to get advice from others and also recommendations for adoption professionals or other aspects of your adoption process."
  • "You may be able to connect locally with people who have adopted in your area. I was easily able to find local adoption groups in my area. I was even able to find an adoption group associated with my church that I did not previously know about. It was nice to have others to turn to and to meet with in person if need be. I was able to connect with these people on social media and I’m still able to stay in touch with them for advice on raising children who are adopted. I was able to use these groups to find local adoption professionals and have good reviews on different adoption services in my area. "
  • "There are groups that exist like the I Love Adoption group from Adoption.com that will allow you to not only find information in articles about adoption, but you can also interact with people throughout the world who have adopted. "
  • "You will find groups about raising a child who has been adopted, transracial adoption, and multiple other categories. There is little you cannot find on social media for adoption, regarding the adoption process."
  • "It is also important to note that even with the support groups, you will find multiple anti-adoption groups. These groups can be really disheartening and really informational at the same time. Be aware as you are searching for groups when you come across these groups. It is better not to engage and to just read along if you are interested in their perspective. Many of these groups are formed by adoptees who have had a poor adoption experience, which, unfortunately, does happen. You may also find stories of parents who have had their children taken away from them and placed for adoption. Many of their stories are heartbreaking. "
Quotes
  • "Social media is transforming all aspects of adoption, from recruiting and preparing families for adoption to providing postadoption services. Social media helps children who have been adopted stay connected with their families, including birth siblings who may be living in foster homes or with other adoptive families. These connections can help adoptive parents fill gaps in their child's medical history and other birth-family information. With many social media platforms available, almost any adoption has the potential for ongoing relationships, allowing direct communication between the adoptive family and the child with the birth family (also referred to as openness in adoption). This climate of increased connectedness raises questions about how families can prepare for contact and what services are available to support them if communication begins before all parties are prepared."
Quotes
  • " Do not share identifying information (including photos) about the birth or adoptive family or the child. When sharing images of children, consider private photo-sharing websites that require a password to view posted photo galleries. If you have an open adoption, consider setting up a separate, private website or private Facebook page to share pictures, information and milestones between the birth and adoptive families. This will allow you to share adoption information with a select group of individuals without including the day-to-day information you might share on your public social media sites. "
  • " Monitor and censor what friends post on your social media pages. If you shared adoption information with a friend or family member outside of social media, they may post questions or information to your social media pages that publicly reveals this information. When posting to online adoption support groups or discussion forums, be careful to guard the privacy and identity of the members of your adoption. Consider changing names or using commonly used acronyms, such as “BP” for birth parent. "
  • "Share your pre-adoption social media plan with your partner, the birth father, and other friends and family members who are aware of your adoption to make sure everyone understands your wishes regarding the information that is shared on social media. If you receive a friend request from a child, speak to an adoption specialist before responding. Social media is often not the best format to make these types of connections, and you may consider redirecting the request to more traditional formats, such as personal letters or emails. "
Quotes
  • "Armed with my smart phone, I recorded our six-month-old son taking his first few bites of baby food. He reacted as you might have expected – surprised, then disgusted, and finally it all came oozing out and down his chin. It was a major milestone in his development and worthy of sharing. Immediately after I posted it to Facebook, his birth mom and birth grandfather both “Liked” it and commented on it. "
  • "When we adopted our second child, his birth mom expressed interest in connecting with us on Facebook and Skype. Without hesitation, I accepted her Facebook “friend” request. Then “friend” requests began pouring in from her parents, her siblings, and her extended family – many that we didn’t know. The open adoption arrangement that we discussed at placement was with his birth mom and not her Aunt Betty. With a desire to nurture our budding relationship and to protect her privacy and our own, I struggled with how to proceed."
  • "In addition to sharing information, Facebook has allowed us to get to know our son’s birth family better and to stay informed of what’s going on in their lives. Their status updates and online photos have helped us learn more about them, get to know their personalities, and see pictures of our son’s biological brother and sister. We also chat and email with his birth family through Facebook, and we have Skyped with them on special holidays; these tools are especially useful for helping us maintain a strong, long-distance relationship. "
Quotes
  • "“When we adopted Ava at birth, we had an explicit written agreement with her birth parents that we would send them annual letters and pictures via the adoption agency and that Ava could contact her birth parents when she turned 18,” Charlene explains. But now, Ava’s biological younger sister, who’s being raised by Ava’s birth parents, has contacted Ava on Facebook. Ava’s birth parents didn’t know about this contact before it happened because Ava’s sister did it from a friend’s smartphone. Now the girls are Facebook friends. "
  • "All the ins and outs and intrigue of the girls’ communications are broadcast on their Facebook walls. As a result, Ava is now in touch with five other biological siblings, four of whom had been adopted by four other families. There is much mental illness, addiction, incarceration, and upheaval in Ava’s birth family, and it is unknown what is going on in the other four adoptive families. "
  • "Today, adoptive parents must anticipate and plan for the likelihood of digital contact with birth family members. The outcomes of adoptees and birth family members connecting with each other electronically can ease the anguish spawned by the secrecy and cutoffs in traditional adoption practices. At the same time, electronic communications invite complexities and issues that challenge even the hardiest, wisest, best-prepared members of the adoption circle."
  • "Social workers are wise to educate today’s prospective adoptive and birth parents about the likelihood of someone other than them initiating electronic contact during the adoptee’s childhood. Informed about this possibility, parents can then be guided to lay the groundwork for anticipating this and responding to it when it occurs. Laying the groundwork has several key elements. For instance, prospective parents need pre- and postadoption information about and support in managing the normal, predictable feelings they and other participants in the adoption circle may have. They may need guidance about ways to create open communication about adoption issues within their household and extended families. They need to learn how to talk to and about all members of the extended family of adoption with compassion and respect. Social workers who find themselves counseling people whose lives are touched by adoption need high-quality continuing education in these areas so they can help parents find the words to talk about difficult adoption facts and feelings in ways that are helpful to the child. "
  • "Thinking ahead of time about these matters puts parents in a better position to engage in the child’s electronic communications; they can let their child know, for example, that they will occasionally monitor e-mails, Facebook messages, and cell phone records and will discuss concerns directly with the child and, if need be, with biological relatives involved in the contact. Parents must be familiar with how Facebook works. They must have their radar up for signs that their child is in contact with biological family members, especially in adoptions of children who were abused or neglected by their birth families and where there are court orders barring contact. "
Quotes
  • "Although private adoptions or DIY adoptions — in which prospective parents take it upon themselves to find a baby to adopt instead of paying an agency to match them with an expectant mom — are far from new, gone are the days of printed flyers tacked on community bulletin boards or pricey ads in the newspaper's classified section. With social media at their disposal, a new generation of would-be parents are empowered to market themselves — and for a fraction of the cost than in years past. "
  • ""Social media has opened the floodgates for a more direct line of communication between prospective adoptive parents and birth parents,” Hanlon said. “Couples can go on Facebook or Instagram and share quick-hit snapshots of their lives, giving birth parents a window into who they are and what they're like, basically painting a picture for them of how the child might be raised.” "
  • "Ryan Hanlon, vice president of the National Council for Adoption, a Virginia-based nonprofit that advocates for adoption-friendly practices and legislation, said social media is "playing a very special role" in changing the dynamics surrounding adoption. He noted the trend has grown in the past several years."
Quotes
  • "From Face-to-Face to Facebook: The Role of Technology and Social Media in Adoptive Family Relationships With Birth Family Members"
  • "Parents described three approaches to contact via technology with their child’s birth family: active, passive, and no contact. Active contact was characterized by an exchange of information between the two families, with back-and-forth communication via text, e-mail, or social media. In passive contact, the adoptive family sought out (and sometimes“tracked”) birth family members using social media but did not take the next step of initiating and maintaining direct contact. Some parents engaged in both types of contact. Finally, other families had no contact via technology, although many had contact via letters or phone calls..."
  • "Nine parents (four active contact, four passive contact, one no contact) said that their primary concerns regarding contact with birth families via social media or the Internet, in general, centered on respect for the birth family and concerns for their feelings.“I just feel like I’m somewhat invading [birth mother]’s privacy by doing it [looking up the birth mother on Facebook],” said Robert, a gay father of a5-year-old son adopted privately who had reported face-to-face contact and who had engaged in passive contact via technology. Those who did have active contact via social media with the birth parents but described such concerns generally stated that they had kept such contact to a minimum out of concern for intruding upon the birth family"
  • "The remainder of parents (nD9, 4 active contact, 4 passive contact, 1 no contact) described a different type of concern; namely, they were concerned about the intrusion of birth parents into their own family’s space through technology, a reference to the diffusion of boundaries with the introduction of this technology(Hertlein & Blumer,2014). "
  • "This study is the first to examine adoptive parents' thoughts about and experiences with navigating relationships with their children’s birth families via technology."
  • "Finally, about half of the adoptive families reported no contact with birth family members via technology, with only a few of these families reporting face-to-face contact with birth family members. These families’ lack of contact in general stemmed from concerns about boundaries or lack of identifying information about birth family members. "
  • "To date, advice from adoption agencies, the legal system, and counselors on managing online relationships between adoptive and birth families is mixed.“ Do we ‘friend’ each other on Facebook?” is a common question for adoptive families. Some experts recommend creating separate Facebook pages just managing adoptive–birth family relationships, to avoid publicizing details of an adoption in a forum that friends, extended family, and colleagues can readily access (Krueger,2014). Siegel (2012a) recommends creating a special e-mail address for communication with birth family members to use instead of social media. Thus, there are ways to set boundaries with online relationships, even during this time of increasing openness in adoption"
Quotes
  • "Adoption can be an emotional and seemingly never-ending path. But for the parents who pursue it, getting to that end goal is literally their greatest desire. Of course, once there, they still have to face all the challenges of parenting through adoption."
From Part 19
From Part 22
Quotes
  • " The minimum time in most states to adopt a teen is about three months depending on paperwork, background checks, and home inspections, etc. Kinship adoption is sometimes preferable because family members are not strangers. They know one another, have eaten in one another’s homes, and are familiar with one another’s culture. It’s a natural transition."
  • " there is a trend of teachers, coaches, youth pastors, and others adopting teens they already know and have a relationship with. This is called fictive kin adoption. This is easy because there is already a prior relationship built. The time for this type of adoption is a minimum of six months."
  • "there is the option of foster care adoption. The time is about six months that a foster youth will have to spend in your home before you will be allowed to adopt him or herthere is the option of foster care adoption. The time is about six months that a foster youth will have to spend in your home before you will be allowed to adopt him or her"
Quotes
  • "It takes an average of 3 to 6 months to become a licensed foster parent through UMFS "
Quotes
  • " after 6 months the child is considered discharged from foster care)"
Quotes
  • "Teenagers in the U.S. are not adopted as often as younger children, with only 5 percent of kids between 15 and 18 years old finding their forever homes in 2017, according to AdoptUSKids. About one in five children in the U.S. foster care system waiting to be adopted right now are teens, "