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What Does Adoption Do to a Child?

The Effects of Being Adopted

Adoption is a life-changing decision for everyone involved. While birth parents and adoptive families can envision how their lives will progress after choosing adoption, the uncertainty of how the effects of being adopted will impact the child can lead to many different questions and concerns.

  • How does adoption affect child development?
  • What does adoption do to a child?
  • And so many more

If you have found yourself asking these types of questions, you have come to the right place. With the goal of adoption being to provide the child a lifetime of love and support, it's easy to focus on the positive life-changing impacts it can bring and to overlook some of the challenges of growing up adopted.

Although every adoption is unique, this guide provides general information and helpful insight on how adoptees are impacted by being adopted — in both positive and challenging ways.  

Anytime you have questions about how placing a child for adoption or how adopting a child may impact their life, you can either fill out this online form, or you can always call 1-800-ADOPTION to get more information from an adoption specialist. In the meantime, continue reading to learn more about the effects of being adopted.

How Adoption Affects Child Development

Birth parents and adoptive families want to provide the best opportunities and lifestyle for the child. But, how can you be confident in the positive long-term effects of adoption?

Every adoption situation is unique, and every child's response to adoption will vary. The largest contributing factor to how adoption affects a child's development is the household they grow up in, the love and support they receive from their adopted family, and how their adoption is discussed and explained as they grow up. While there can be challenges throughout the adoptive journey, there can also be many positive impacts.

Positive Impacts: What Does Adoption Do to a Child?

Before a birth parent has even interacted with a hopeful adoptive family, they already share common hopes and goals — providing a lifetime of love, support, and opportunity to the child. How these goals are achieved is one of the biggest influences on how adoption positively affects the child's development. 

In a study of adoptees completed by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, statistics show that adopted children often grow up having significant advantages. Some of the findings include:

  • Adopted children were more likely to have health insurance and less likely to live in households below the poverty line.
  • 85% of adopted children were in "very good to excellent health."
  • 68% of adoptees were read to every day as a child (compared to 48% of non-adopted children).
  • 73% of adopted children were sung to and told stories every day (compared to 59% of non-adopted children).
  • Adopted children were more likely to participate in extracurricular activities.
  • More than half of the studied adoptees reported having "very good or excellent" performance in reading, language arts, and math.

While statistical evidence is beneficial in determining the effects of being adopted, it can be difficult to explain through percentages the positive opportunities adoptees have while growing up. Opportunities they may not have had possible if they were not placed for adoption may include:

  • Adoptive parents being significantly more involved in their child's education and extracurricular activities than any other parents.
  • Growing up with a family who is willing and able to spend time together, travel, and participate in many different activities and events.
  • A safe and stable living environment
  • A financially stable home
  • Growing up with siblings and extended family
  • A greater support system through open adoption
  • A two-parent home
  • Increased chance of pursuing higher education
  • Many others

These are just a few of the positive effects of being adopted that can occur. Every situation is unique, but adoption can provide a significant amount of opportunity for adoptees. From an overall improvement in health to increased involvement with family and extracurricular activities, adopted children are given a chance at living a lifetime of love and support.

If you have questions about the positive impact of what adoption does to a child, fill out this online form or call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption professional. They will be more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have and shine more light on the effect of being adopted — the positives and the challenges.

Potential Challenging Effects of Being Adopted

Although there are so many positives associated with adoption, it would be irresponsible not to mention the potential for challenging impacts on adoptees.

While no two adoptions are the same, nor are the reactions to being adopted, there tends to be a significant difference between the effects of adoption on a child depending upon their age when placement occurred.

A child adopted as a newborn may not grow up with the same feelings or psychological effects as a child adopted as a teenager, but every situation is unique. Most of this has to do with the development stage of the child and if they were able to grasp the situation at the time of their adoption.

Even in light of the many positive impacts of adoption, nearly all adoptees will face some form of grief or challenges throughout their life. Some of the most common negative effects of being adopted include:

Another contributing factor towards creating negative effects of being adopted is a closed adoption.

Although adoptions continue to trend towards having some level of openness and post-placement contact, closed adoptions were a common type of adoption not long ago. In situations where adoptees grow up in a closed adoption, the lack of information and communication with their biological parents can cause issues with identity and feelings of doubt and concern.

Closed adoption can leave adoptees with questions about:

  • Why they were placed for adoption to begin with
  • Medical history
  • If they have any biological siblings
  • Genetic and personality traits
  • So much more

Given the increased risk of there being negative effects of being adopted in a closed adoption, the majority of adoption agencies, including American Adoptions, have set requirements to have some sort of post-placement communication between the birth parents and adoptive family.

This communication helps answer any questions an adoptee may have as they grow, makes obtaining medical records and family history easier, and ultimately provides adoptees with the peace of mind that their biological mother remained involved in their life, even after making one of the bravest decisions they have ever faced. 

Contact American Adoptions

Whether you are a birth parent or adoptive family, we hope you find peace of mind knowing that adoption is a life-changing decision that can provide a child a lifetime of love and opportunity. If you are considering placing a child for adoption or are hoping to adopt but have more questions about what adoption does to a child, we are here to help.

Although there is no foolproof answer to what effects of being adopted will impact an adopted child, studies, patterns, and general knowledge of adoption goes a long way in preparing. Fill out this online form or call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption professional to learn more about all of the positive and potential negative impacts of being adopted. 

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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