Where have all the children gone?: the adoption market today

by Marie B. Hoeppner

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The number of children adopted has declined since 1970, suggesting that the pool of children available had decreased. Adoption by relatives remains almost constant, and currently represents the majority of adoptions. As a result, adoption by unrelated petitioners decreased proportionately. The tendency for children to be adopted by relatives in greater proportion than in the past may be attributed to the fact that more women are choosing to abort, leaving fewer children to be adopted by unrelated petitioners. The influence of abortion on reducing the numbers of children available for adoption does not account for the entire drop in supply; the growing propensity of unwed mothers to keep their babies is also a factor. Social-psychological correlates of unmarried mothers who keep their babies indicate that major predictors of that decision are low socioeconomic status, little education, religion, older age, and an insecure psychological profile.

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