Adoption has been under attack in recent decades and has
almost disappeared within western countries as an option for a mother who is
not in a position to bring up her child. Perhaps it was often handled badly in
the past, but family scholar Pat Fagan has found solid evidence that adoption
works well for children.

Adoption in the first 12 months of the child’s life produces
the best outcomes, but all children will benefit, regardless of their age at placement.
Adopted children outperform their non-adopted peers and non-adopted siblings.

This is his conclusion from a review of literature on the
subject. He also finds that

On the whole, parents are very satisfied with their adopted
children. These children, their biological mothers, and their adoptive families
all benefit from and feel their lives are enriched by the experience.

And the birth mothers?

Not only do the adopted children do better; so, too, do
their birth mothers who give them up for adoption. They have higher educational
aspirations, are more likely to finish school, and are less likely to live in
poverty or to receive public assistance than mothers who keep their
out-of-wedlock children. One study found that adolescent mothers who relinquish
their children for adoption are more likely to be employed 12 months after the birth.
The same study found that adolescent mothers who keep and rear children
conceived out of wedlock are more likely to conceive again within three years
after their first birth, but are not significantly more likely to give birth a
second time, suggesting they are more likely to abort the second child than are
those adolescents who relinquish their children. Furthermore, the mothers who
gave their children up for adoption did not suffer any extra social or
psychological problems.

Many adoptees as they grow up experience some degree of loss regarding their birth mother and other relatives:

About 70 percent of adult adoptees express feeling moderate
to significant degrees of “uncertainty and ambiguous loss” regarding
their birth parents. One study found that 70 percent of adoptees experienced
such feelings. The remaining 30 percent “expressed security and no apparent
[sense of] loss.”

In one UK study, among those who searched for their birth
parents (twice as many women as men) 23 per cent reported feeling unloved or
uncertain of being loved by their adoptive mothers, but 77 per cent did feel
loved. Attachment to a birth mother was more likely the younger the child was
at the time of adoption.

This a useful report for those who value adoption and want
to defend it. Copy and/or file it somewhere.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet