Understanding the Truth Behind Adoption Statistics

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Learn about basic adoption statistics.

Adoption statistics are easy to find. Many different agencies and organizations keep track of general statistics that anyone can view. However, a good sized amount of adoption data and statistics are incomplete, and some records are incorrect.

Limitations of Adoption Statistics

One of the best places to start your search, if you're looking for online statistics on adoption, is at Adoption.com. Adoption.com offers good information about why statistics can be so limiting in scope - something anyone looking to adopt or research adoption should understand. Some of the reasons why statistics about adoption can seem a little funky include the following:

  • Back in 1975 there was quite a lot of statistics related to adoption gathered by the National Center for Social Statistics (NCSS). To date, this information was the most comprehensive gathering of statistics. However, that was a long time ago. Systems for data collection likely weren't as comprehensive as they are today, and finding people who remember the research conduct exactly might be tough.
  • Then NCSS dissolved so that also limits the actual amount of statistical information available.
  • Some of the statistics we have available are on a voluntary basis only. For example, the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) collects information on both foster care and any children in the system who may have eventually been adopted.
  • In 1997 the Adoption and Safe Families Act was passed and with that, so were better data collection methods. However, 1997 is fairly recent, so far as adoption data goes.
  • The latest advances in adoption statistics make the process even more confusing because countless private agencies are collecting their own data. That means there are no standards and no rules. To top it off, much of this information is collected by surveys, which aren't the most statistically truthful tools for data collection - lots of room for human omission and error.

Adoption Statistic Basics

There are some general types of information that you can gather from statistics about adoption. If you go to the Child Welfare Information Gateway you can locate reports and statistics on a number of adoption issues. Sometimes the reports are a few years old because that was the last time they gathered and compiled statistics on adoption. These reports include topics such as…

  • In general - how many children were adopted in 2000 and 2001: A good general estimate of all the U.S children adopted for the years stated. For example this report offers round up figures, such as, about 127,000 children in all were adopted in the U.S. annually.
  • How many individuals are seeking to adopt.
  • Trends in foster care and adoption.
  • Immigrant visas issued to orphans coming to the United States.
  • International Adoption: trends and issues: This covers the growing out of country adoptions taking place, along with characteristics of the children adopted from other countries (outside the U.S).

All of the reports and the others at the Child Welfare Information Gateway are free. You can order some and download most.

Other Places to Find Statistics About Adoption

One great place to find statistics about adoption are blogs. More and more parents are documenting facts about adoption, and their own personal experiences with adoption on their blogs. Some good blogs that offer basic information, statistics, and personal experience include:

  • Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters: This link goes to a special page of this blog, where the blogger has compiled what appears to be the biggest list of adoption blogs known to man. This blogger not only includes general adoption blogs, but infertility blogs, IVF blogs, Domestic Adoption blogs, blogs for same sex couples who'd like to adopt, single parent adoption and so much more. This is a highly recommended and amazing list of resources for anyone wondering anything about adoption.

You can also look to books for some statistics. Keep in mind though, that books containing statistics can become obsolete almost before they're published. Still, books are worth a look because many tell you how to find current adoption statistics and how to get in touch with local agencies that can help you.

Lastly, you might want to try some adoption forums; you can see where other people gather information.

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Understanding the Truth Behind Adoption Statistics