By Sarah Stewart Legal Group
With over 135,000 children adopted each year and nearly 428,000 children in foster care, adoption is common in the U.S. Adoption is a wonderful option for many families. But, the process is complicated and can be emotional for everyone involved.
Here are 7 facts you may not have known about adoption in the U.S.
(1) A Lot of People Are Affected By Adoption
Nearly 100 million U.S. citizens have adoption in their families. Almost 60 % of Americans have adopted or have experience with adoption. And, according to data from 2013, 7 million Americans living that year were adopted.
(2) You Can Get Tax Breaks with Adoption
Adoptive parents can take advantage of 2 main tax benefits. First, parents can get a tax credit for some expenses paid to adopt a child. For 2017, the maximum credit amount is $13,570. Second, parents can exclude employer- provided adoption assistance from their incomes.
(3) It Can Be Expensive
There are several different avenues people can take to adopt. Their options include private adoption, adoption through a government agency, or international adoption. Each choice comes with its own special price tag.
International adoptions cost the most and can range from $15,000 to upwards of $40,000. Private adoptions range from $8,000 up to $40,000. And adoptions from government agencies generally carry a lot of financial assistance, so they can range from $0 to around $3,000. Generally speaking, the lower the risk, the greater the cost.
(4) Kids Looking for Families Can Be Older
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates the average age of a child waiting for an adoptive family is 7.7 years old and around 11 % of foster children spend 5 years or more in foster care. Don’t count out older children if you plan to adopt.
(5) Celebrities Are Adopting
Celebrities have increased the visibility and viability of adoption as a family choice in the U.S. Sheryl Crow, Sandra Bullock, Angelina Jolie, and Madonna are just a few of many celebrities who have adopted children.
(6) LGTBQ Couples Can Have a Hard Time Adopting
Statistics show LGTBQ couples are raising about 4 % of America’s adopted children. However, some states have laws that allow adoption agencies to deny placements with families that have lifestyles that contradict the agencies’ religious beliefs.
These laws found in states like South Dakota, and close to approval in Oklahoma, make adoption more difficult for these families.
(7) Controversy Surrounds the Well-Being of Adopted Children
According the the Atlantic, a 2015 study found that adopted children are “significantly likelier than birth children to have behavior and learning problems.” The study found that despite the fact most adopted children grow up in homes where the parents are wealthier and more attentive than their birth families, nearly 2 times as many adopted children were diagnosed with learning disabilities than children raised in a home with birth parents.
However, in terms of physical health, adopted children fair better than their counterparts raised in their birth families’ homes.
A 2007 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found 85 % of adopted children have very good or excellent health, are more likely to have health insurance, and are less likely to live in poverty.
If you’re considering adoption, reach out to a professional today to help!