According to the National Council For Adoption, experts estimate that 100 million Americans either have families that are personally touched by adoption, know someone who has been adopted, or know someone who has adopted a child. Adoption is prevalent in our society for good reason. There are many benefits of adoption for those who choose this path. While everyone’s experience is different, the following sections will highlight some of the benefits often enjoyed by each corner of the adoption triad.
Benefits of Adoption for Adoptive Parents
- Becoming a Parent! Many men and women have dreamed of having children for years (some since childhood). Having a chance to bond, make memories, and help a young person to grow into a successful adult is definitely a special feeling. Parenting allows them to instill morals and values into someone who just may make the world a better place. Parenting brings joy, love, and purpose to many people’s lives. If you have ever wanted to become a parent, adoption is a great way to grow your family!
- Growing a Family Despite Fertility Concerns. Unfortunately, not everyone can have biological children. Struggles with fertility and repeated miscarriages can be devastating. Luckily, dealing with these concerns does not mean your desire to have a child is impossible. There are many children waiting for a loving home, and hopefully bringing one of these children into your home will be the best thing that ever happened to you. While your family can be made complete through adoption, remember that it is okay and quite normal to struggle with the emotional hardship of infertility. You are not alone and it’s an excellent idea to seek help to resolve infertility grief before choosing to adopt.
- All Types of Parents Can Adopt! You don’t have to be a highly educated, wealthy married couple to adopt a child. Adoption is open to people from many walks of life! Recently, our nation has seen an increase in the number of single-parent adoptions as well as adoptions by same-sex couples. Regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, education level, or socioeconomic status—if you have the ability to provide a loving and stable home to a child, the possibility of growing your family through adoption is very real.
- Adoption Tax Credit. Because the adoption process can sometimes be costly, the adoption tax credit is available to offset many of the expenses incurred. These can include adoption fees, attorney fees, court costs, as well as travel, food, and lodging expenses pertaining to the adoption. In order to receive this credit, you must be adopting a child under the age of 18 or legally adopting someone who is mentally and/or physically incapable of caring for themselves. The credit is currently just over $13,000.
- Employer-Provided Adoption Benefits. Many employers are now willing to offer maternity/parental leave for those who are growing their family through adoption. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, any company with at least 50 employees must offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to mothers and fathers who are welcoming a baby. In many states, this applies to adoptive parents as well. The employee’s job must be held and insurance benefits are continued during this time. For more information on these types of benefits, visit the following page: “Employer-Provided Adoption Benefits: Types of Benefits.”
- Exploring Other Cultures. If a parent or couple chooses to adopt a child that has a different culture or ethnicity than their own, they will often try to incorporate their child’s cultural background into their upbringing. Not only does this help to foster a stronger sense of self and identity in the child, but it can help to broaden the horizons of the parents as well. If you are considering adopting a child whose cultural background is different from your own, check out the “Transracial and Multicultural Adoption Guide” for helpful tips.
“Adoption has the dimension of connection — not only to your own tribe, but beyond, widening the scope of what constitutes love, ties and family. It is a larger embrace. By adopting, we stretch past our immediate circles and, by reaching out, find an unexpected sense of belonging with others.” -Actress Isabella Rossellini
Benefits of Adoption for Those Who Have Been Adopted
- Love From All Sides. What’s better than having the love of one family? Having the love of two! With open adoption becoming more commonplace, children who have been adopted are surrounded by love and support from a large extended family.
”If a mother and father can love more than one child, then certainly a child can love more than one mother or father.” -Unknown
- Open Adoptions! There are many benefits of open adoption. Before the 1970s, there was no such thing as an open adoption. Flash forward to today—95 percent of adoptions currently have some level of openness. Access to family medical history can be very important, especially when it comes to severe allergies or a history of certain genetic diseases. An open adoption also makes it possible for a child to learn about their ethnic roots and about the story of their adoption. With open adoption, a child can learn their story from the very beginning so that there is no confusion. This means there won’t be any awkward wondering about how/if/when/by whom the adopted person should find out that they were, in fact, adopted. With open adoption, they will never have to feel that their story was hidden from them. Studies show that open adoption provides a better sense of identity for the adopted person and fosters a healthier relationship with their adoptive parents.
- Stability and Opportunity. Children are placed for adoption for a myriad of reasons. One of the most common reasons is that the birth parents do not feel that they are in a position to provide for the child in the way they would like to. When parents choose to adopt, they have often spent a great deal of time preparing to welcome a child. Most adoptive parents are ready and willing to offer their children an emotionally and financially stable lifestyle in a safe and loving home.
- Forever Families. When a child is adopted through the foster care system, there is a possibility that they have lived in several homes with several families. They may have been housed in group homes or been in the system for quite some time. While the ultimate goal of foster care is to reunite children with their biological families, there are situations where it isn’t realistic. This can leave a child searching for a sense of belonging. Many children age out of the foster care system every year, never really feeling that they are a part of a family. When a child is adopted from foster care, they may feel as if they are finally “home.” Knowing that they have a forever family to support them and love them unconditionally is an amazing feeling.
Stephenie D. is an adult adoptee who came to her family through foster care adoption. Her success story is just one of many. Though her life started out in a difficult situation, her forever family has helped to raise her into a happy and thriving young woman with a desire to help others.
Benefits of Adoption for Birth Parents
- An Alternative to Abortion in an Unplanned Pregnancy. Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be a difficult and scary time. When a woman isn’t prepared to become a mother, she has to make some very important decisions. Parenting may not be an option for many reasons: financial, emotional, lack of support, etc. In this situation, many women pursue abortions. While it is ultimately a woman’s right to choose, adoption can be an alternative that provides many benefits. By choosing life and making an adoption plan for their child, they can go forward with the knowledge that they have blessed the lives of many. In a quote by former President George W. Bush, he states, “Adoption was such a positive alternative to abortion, a way to save one life and brighten two more: those of the adoptive parents.”
- Assistance With Housing and Expenses. If a potential birth mother finds herself in a situation where she doesn’t have a safe or steady place to live, there are many agencies that offer help and resources for housing. They are also often able to help with access to prenatal care, transportation to and from appointments, and mental health counseling when needed. Most agencies are also able to offer referrals for other help as needed (assistance with food, clothing, employment, and sometimes education).
- Opportunity to Pursue Goals. When an unplanned pregnancy occurs, it can sometimes make it difficult to continue the lifestyle a woman has been leading or would like to lead. An unexpected pregnancy and the stress that may come along with it can interfere with school/college, work, personal relationships, career goals, etc. If a woman finds that she is not in a place in her life where she is able to care for a child, she may feel that she is not even able to care for herself in the way she would like. By making an adoption plan for their child, they may feel that they have an opportunity to continue pursuing the goals they had set for themselves. Perhaps they will have the desire to achieve even more.
- Options for Openness. In decades past, unplanned pregnancies were often kept a secret, and adoptions were swept under the rug. These days, making an adoption plan is nothing to be ashamed of. Open adoptions give the birth parents the option to choose a family for their child. They will have the knowledge that their birth child is healthy, happy, and thriving. They may receive letters, photos, phone calls, or other types of updates. They may even be able to send gifts for birthdays and holidays. Many adoptions are completely open, including visits between the birth and adoptive families. This can be beneficial to all involved, and it has often been shown to reduce the severity of a birth mother’s post-placement grieving.
- Knowledge of the Child’s Well-Being. If a birth mother finds herself in an unsafe situation (as severe as homelessness and addiction or as simple as struggles with finances), she can have peace of mind knowing that she has placed her child in a stable home where they will be well taken care of.
- A Sense of Purpose. While it may not be true for everyone, many birth mothers go on to use their story in helping others. Through public speaking, support groups, or even reaching out to friends facing similar situations, many use their personal journey as a light in the darkness—helping others to find their way. Some women even pursue careers in the social work field. If nothing else, they will typically find a strength they never knew they had. “Birth Mom Strong” is a phrase for a reason.
The benefits of adoption cannot be completely summed up in one article. If you’d like to know how adoption has positively impacted the lives of people, ask around! With over 100 million people who have some type of adoption connection, chances are that you know someone personally who can share how adoption has changed their lives for the better.
Adoption.com has some amazing forums where you can connect with adoptive parents, adopted persons, and birth parents. You can also find many individuals who are still considering making an adoption plan or considering adoption. People from all different walks of life, on all different types of journeys, join together in support of each other. If you have any questions or just want someone to connect with about a certain topic related to adoption, these forums are a great place to look.
Are there other benefits of adoption that you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment below! We’d love to hear your experience and opinions!