National Adoption Month: How Adoptions are Changing

Adoption agencies have witnessed a huge change both American culture and international guidelines that have drastically changed adoption in the United States. For the most part, single mothers no longer feel their only option is to give their child up for adoption, and many opt to care for their babies. This added to the dramatic reductions in pregnancy and birth rates among teenagers, the number of adoptable US infants has greatly declined, according to the Institute for Family Studies.

Some other interesting points from the IFS’ most recent research into adoption:

  • Intercountry adoptions are at an all-time low since 1973. American families adopted 4,714 children internationally from October 2016 through September 2017. This is a 79% decline since the peak of intercountry adoptions in 2004.

  • Interracial adoptions are now common. Overall, 44% of adopted kindergarten students are being cared for by adoptive parents of a different race or ethnicity.

  • That being said, black adoptees went from making up 23% of all adoptees in 1999 to just 9% in 2011, a 61% decline.

  • Activist pushback against upper middle-class whites adopting black or American Indian babies from poor families may be influencing couples toward adoption choices that are less controversial.

These changes have caused agencies to shift and evolve their programs and focuses. We’ve seen more and more of our clients welcome same-sex and single parent families both to foster care and adoption, as well as an overall trend toward foster-to-adopt programs.

There’s a blending now between traditional adoptive families and foster care families, with some families continuing to foster while also trying to adopt current children in their care.

For youth in foster care, we’ve seen a growing awareness in advocacy and mentoring for youth, and empowering older youth to be a part of their permanency journey with outreach programs that pair youth with mentors, which often leads to adoption.

SAM has adapted as adoption and foster care have changed. Our program and case management tools have never been as flexible as they are today, allowing you to customize every detail of your work to suit the changing world of child welfare. We are proud to of our partnerships with our clients and the support we provide their staff as they focus on permanency for every child.