November 29, 2010
Adoption: Good News,
By Mike McManus
Well,” according to a synthesis of the literature by Dr. Patrick Fagan,
Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute of the Family
benefit significantly from adoption,” he writes. Many move into “materially
advantaged homes and to the care of supportive, educated adoptive parents
who are very interested in all aspects of their child’s development.”
They are more
likely than children born into intact homes to live with both parents
because few adoptive parents divorce. “They scored higher than their middle
class counterparts” in school achievement, social competence, optimism and
volunteerism, “are less depressed than children of single parents and less
involved in alcohol abuse, vandalism, group fighting, police trouble.” They
also have higher self-esteem, self-directedness and positive views of
before they are 12 months old are just as attached to their parents as those
born to intact parents, but those who are adopted at older ages are less
secure. “The older the child is at adoption, the greater are his special
needs, and greater in turn is the need for parental constancy, flexibility
and engagement,” Fagan writes. However, adoptive mothers spend more time
with their children than do natural mothers, and most kids do well.
Even the birth
mothers who relinquish a child fare well, with higher educational
achievement and are less likely to live in poverty, or receive welfare than
mothers who keep their out-of-wedlock children. Nor did they suffer “any
extra social or psychological problems.”
Fagan cites a
study showing that 90 percent of Americans view adoption positively.
Yet of the 1.75
million children born to unwed parents, only 22,000 a year were adopted in
2002, reports Chuck Johnson, President of the National Council for
Adoption. And a soon-to be released survey of 2007, shows the numbers have
fallen even further.
Alarmingly, out-of-wedlock births have soared eight-fold from 5% of all
births to 41% in 2008. These children have the worst prospects in life. In
an earlier study, Dr. Fagan reported that compared to children from intact
homes, those from fatherless homes are:
24 times more likely to run away
15 times more apt to have behavior disorders and to end up in
prison as a teenager
11 times more likely to commit rape
7 times more apt to become teenage mothers
6 times more likely to drop out of school and 3 times as apt
to be expelled
33 times more likely to be seriously abused (requiring medical
73 times more likely to be killed.
The peak adoption
year was 1971 when 90,000 infants were adopted. About that time, major
states, such as New York, began making abortion legal. In 1973 the Supreme
Court issued its famous Roe v. Wade decision, legalizing abortion
nationally; abortions doubled overnight from 745,000 to 1.5 million. The
number has dropped modestly to 1.2 million a year.
with out-of-wedlock births, there are potentially 3 million children who
could be adopted each year – to the clear benefit of the child and the birth
Why are so few
adopted? Only one percent of babies to unwed moms are relinquished.
To its credit,
the Bush Administration created an adoption tax credit which was extended by
the Obama Administration and Congress in Health Care Reform, that now gives
a refundable tax credit worth $13,170 this year. It has had one positive
benefit, of increasing the number of adoptions out of foster care, which
have risen from 50,000 to 57,000.
Yet few infants
are adopted. Why?
Crisis Pregnancy Centers, who see perhaps 200,000 women a year – rarely
encourage unwed mothers to give their children for adoption. “The training
for Crisis Pregnancy Resource Centers, has volunteers telling women that
`God’s first plan is to mother the child,’ says Johnson of the Council for
“Only a woman who
is considered a poor risk because she would not be a good mother, if she is
on drugs, for example, is advised to consider the adoption option.”
This is tragic
for the children and their mothers.
Centers proudly proclaim they are “pro life.” But what kind of a life do
they favor? One where the children are at high risk of failure, abuse and
crime – or a life where the kids will fare better than those born to married
It is a question
that must be answered by Crisis Pregnancy Center volunteers.
They should read
Pat Fagan’s report, “Adoption Works Well.”