Adoption, adoption seeking, and relinquishment for adoption in the United States
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Adoption, adoption seeking, and relinquishment for adoption in the United States

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      OBJECTIVES: This report presents national data on adoption and adoption-related behaviors among ever-married women 18-44 years of age in the United States, according to selected characteristics of the women. Trends are shown in the prevalence of adoption and relinquishment of children for adoption. For 1995, the report shows demand for adoption and women's preferences for characteristics of the child. METHODS: Data are based on nationally representative samples of women 15-44 years of age from the 1973, 1982, 1988, and 1995 National Surveys of Family Growth (NSFG). RESULTS: The percent of ever-married women 18-44 years of age who have ever adopted a child declined from 2.1 percent in 1973 to 1.3 percent in 1995. Of the 9.9 million women who had ever considered adoption, 16 percent had taken steps toward adoption, and 31 percent of these had actually adopted a child. Older women, nulliparous women, women with fecundity impairment, and women who have used infertility services were more likely to have considered adoption, to have taken concrete steps toward adoption, and to have actually adopted a child. In response to the questions about preferred characteristics of an adopted child, women expressed strong preferences with respect to age, sex, race, and disability level of the child, but were willing to accept children with the less-desired traits. Between 1989 and 1995, about 1 percent of babies born to never-married women were relinquished for adoption, down from 9 percent among such babies born before 1979. CONCLUSIONS: Federally supported adoption data collection sources corroborate the decline in adoption shown by the NSFG over the past 25 years. Demand for adoption in the United States varies, depending on whether demand is conceptualized liberally as "ever having considered adoption" or more narrowly, as "currently taking concrete steps toward adoption." The narrow definition was fulfilled by 232,000 ever-married women in 1995.
    • Content Notes:
      by Anjani Chandra, Joyce Abma, Penelope Maza, Christine Bachrach. Includes bibliographical references (p. 11-12).
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