What are the Benefits of Being Adopted?
Adoption can sometimes get a bad rap. And, while adoption is certainly not all rainbows-and-butterflies, it’s also not all doom-and-gloom either. Like most complicated things in life, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Here at American Adoptions, we understand that. That’s why we work so hard to educate prospective birth and adoptive parents about the realities of this journey — and why we’re here to support those adopted through our agency, too.
It’s normal (and important) for prospective adoptive and birth parents to worry about the well-being of their child. They often ask us: With all the negative stories I hear out there, are there any adoption benefits for the child?
Adoptees, too, often ask: What are the benefits of being adopted when it comes with so many unique challenges?
While it’s certainly preferable for an expectant parent to be able to parent the child that they carry, we recognize that sometimes that’s just not possible. In those situations, there can be many benefits of adoption for children — and the two sets of parents involved in the triad. But, in this article, we’ll focus on possible adoption benefits for the child.
Please note: Just because this article focuses on the benefits of being adopted does not mean it invalidates those challenges that adoptees face. Instead, we offer a research-based approach to the benefits that adoption can bring in cases where it is the best option for an expectant parent.
As always, if you are considering adoption and need a professional, objective opinion on the benefits it can have, you can talk to a trained professional at American Adoptions.
1. A Safe, Stable Home Environment
There are many reasons an expectant parent may place their child for adoption. Most common is because they are unable to provide the safe and supportive home their child needs. This may be due to a toxic relationship, an unstable living situation, a substance abuse problem or another long-lasting situation.
When an expectant parent chooses adoption, their child has the chance to grow up in a safe and stable home. Adoptive parents must meet strict requirements to adopt; they must prove that they are financially, physically and emotionally ready for raising an adopted child. While no two adoptive parents do it the same way, they will provide an adopted child the kind of home the expectant parent often desires.
And it’s not just our personal experiences that support these benefits of adoption for children. A 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded some important facts:
- 85% of adopted children were in “very good to excellent health.”
- Adopted children were less likely than non-adopted children to live below the poverty line.
- Adopted children were more likely to have health insurance.
Of course, it’s impossible to say that all adoptees are in a better situation than if they were raised by their biological parents. And, while they may have had more struggles or fewer opportunities, it’s likely that many adoptees could have had happy and healthy childhoods with their biologically families. However, the birth parents that do choose adoption do it for a reason — and providing a safe, supportive and loving home for their child is often No. 1.
2. Access to More Opportunities
Adoptive parents are typically of a higher socioeconomic status than the general population. According to the 2007 study, 53% of them have a household income of $60,000 or more, and 75% have some sort of college degree.
In turn, education and opportunity are often incredibly important to these parents — and they encourage success in their adopted children. These are some of the most obvious adoption benefits for the child that have been subsequently demonstrated in recent studies:
- 85% of adopted children participated in extracurricular activities at school.
- 68% of adopted children were read to every day as young children.
- 73% of adopted children were sung to or told stories every day.
- More than half were also reported to have “very good or excellent” performance in reading, language arts and math.
In addition, adoptive parents are more likely to have the financial resources to support a child through college and other higher education. They have often saved and prepared for years for raising a child, and they may be able to provide a host of opportunities (travel, private lessons, etc.) that unprepared parents cannot.
Of course, personal and family situations can change quickly, but these benefits of being adopted have been demonstrated time and time again. For some prospective birth parents, these advantages help them decide adoption is right for their child.
3. Two Sets of Loving Parents
Biological parents have just as much love to give as adoptive parents, and those who weren’t adopted aren’t “worse off” than those who are adopted just because they have one “set” of parents. But it’s hard to deny the potential beauty in an open adoption relationship. Many adoptees say their relationship with their birth parents is one of the more unique adopted child benefits they experience.
For those expectant parents who do choose adoption, having an open adoption drastically increases their satisfaction with and adjustment after the placement, as indicated by several studies. The same applies to adoptees: Those who are adopted and have a direct, open relationship with their birth parents are typically more satisfied with their adoptee identity than those with no information on or contact with biological family members.
Take it from one of our adopted staff members, Jennifer, who was raised in a closed adoption:
“I do admit that I had a lot of questions growing up. From a medical standpoint, my health history ended when I was born. I didn’t have anything else beyond that for most of my life. Like all adoptees, I had questions about my birth parents and feelings of shame over not being wanted, especially because I had no information about my birth mother’s adoption decision.”
This is why American Adoptions requires all adoptive parents to be open to a certain degree of post-placement contact. While the final degree of contact is always up to the expectant parent choosing adoption, our standard of openness is strongly supported by modern adoption research.
If a child is placed with adoptive parents by their birth parents, this is one of the greatest benefits of being adopted — maintaining contact and a connection with their biological family, culture and history.
Of course, every adoptee’s experience is different. What may be seen as the benefits of being an adopted child by one may be viewed as challenges by another. This article isn’t meant to invalidate any adoptee’s personal experience — just offer what research and our experience over 25 years has taught American Adoptions.
To learn more about the adoption benefits for the child our specialists have seen, contact our agency online. Similarly, if you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and wondering about the benefits of adoption for children, please reach out to our adoption specialists at 1-800-ADOPTION or contact us here. We will always be here to provide the education and information you need to make the best decision for you.
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