Adoption USA. A Chartbook Based on the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents. Part 2: The Adoption Process


Part 2 presents findings about the adoption process. Information presented includes parents’ motivation to adopt, parental satisfaction with the agency or attorney that assisted them in the adoption, and adoption expenses. In addition, this section includes information about the openness of adoptions as well as on the post-adoption services and supports families receive. Because this section includes information specific to the adoption process, comparisons with children in the general population are not ncluded.






  • Adopted children typically have parents who said they chose to adopt in order to provide a permanent home for a child, to expand their family, and/or because of infertility. Among the three adoption types, children adopted from foster care are least likely to have parents report infertility as a motivation for adoption, and most likely to report being motivated because they had previously adopted the child’s sibling.
  • Nearly nine out of ten adopted children have a parent who was satisfied with their adoption attorney or agency; more than nine out of ten believe that the agency disclosed all important information prior to the adoption. Children adopted from foster care are slightly less likely to have parents who were satisfied with the adoption agency or attorney, but the perception of failure to disclose important information prior to the adoption was rare across all three groups of adopted children.
  • Adoption expenses for children adopted privately in the United States or internationally are considerably higher than for children adopted from foster care.
  • Almost all adopted children ages 5 and older (97 percent) know they were adopted. Among children adopted by non-relatives, about one-third have a pre-adoption agreement regarding openness, and roughly one-third have had post-adoption contact with birth family members.
  • Three out of ten adopted children have a parent who reported that at least one adoption-specific support they needed was not received. Such supports include meeting with agency staff, child and parent adoption support groups, parent training, and web-based resources. Receipt of these services varies by adoption type, with children adopted internationally typically the most likely to have parents who received particular services.
  • Just over one out of five adopted children (21 percent) has a parent who reported not receiving at least one needed service not specific to adoption. Such services include child mental health care, family and crisis counseling, child residential treatment or hospitalization, and child drug or alcohol services, tutoring, and mentoring. In a few cases, receipt of services varies by adoption type, with children adopted from foster care typically more likely than other adopted children to have received particular services.
  • More than three-fourths of children adopted from foster care receive an adoption subsidy (78 percent); 64 percent have an adoption agreement that allows for both a subsidy and health insurance coverage.


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