Questions About Adoption
Are Adopted Kids Happier?
Effects of Adoption on Child Development
At the core of adoption is the desire to give a child a life full of love and happiness. But, what are the effects of adoption on a child?
Every adoption is a unique experience. There have been many studies done over the years to determine the benefits of being adopted. The results have been resoundingly positive. But, there are also some challenges.
Connect with an adoption agency today for more information on the positive and negative effects of adoption on a child.
Are Adopted Kids Happier?
Yes. A driving factor in a birth parent’s decision to place their baby for adoption is to open up opportunities that children might not have without adoption. For adoptees, the benefits of being adopted can include a safe, stable home environment and a two-parent household.
“I felt (and still feel) strongly that adoption is a great gift to give, and I think sometimes people think that gift is just for the adoptive family and the baby,” Jennifer, an adoptee and birth parent specialist, said. “They’re becoming a family. But it’s a gift for the birth mom, too, especially if you can give her comfort in a time that must be very painful.”
Research has shown the effects of adoption on a child and concluded that adoptees have many unique advantages that non-adopted children may not experience. Some of these advantages include:
- Improved academic performance
- Additional extracurricular involvement
- Increased attention to their mental health
- The mentality of knowing they were chosen
- Having the love of two families
How Do Adopted Kids Feel about Being Adopted?
“I’m a happy, well-adjusted adult because I grew up with an open adoption,” Diana, an adoptee, said. “I’m so lucky to have such a fantastic relationship with both my birth and adoptive families. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without both of those sides of me.”
“Overall, I was proud to be adopted. It made me feel special and unique. I grew up with the ‘where did you come from’ books that were about adoption,” Allison, an adoptee, said. “They highlighted, and perhaps overemphasized, how special it was to be adopted. In fact, when I was in first grade, I had a friend over who left crying after reading one of the books because she wasn’t adopted and felt left out.”
When families are open about the adoption and you stay in touch, that can lead to many positive effects of adoption on a child.
“I feel no resentment towards my biological parents; in fact it’s quite the opposite,” John Michael, an adoptee, said. “I’m grateful for what they did. One day, I’m going to meet them. And when I do, I’m going to thank them for what they did for me.”
What Effects Does Adoption Have on a Child?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conducted a report in 2007 titled “Adoption USA,” which showed that the majority of adoptees thrive in their adoptive families. With open adoption, birth mothers can also explain to their child why they chose this path.
Adoption agencies support and encourage this shift toward increased openness, given that research has shown the positive effects of adoption on a child.
The 2007 report also found a few other benefits for adopted children, such as:
- Children who are adopted were more likely to be read to every day as a young child.
- Children who are adopted were more likely to participate in extracurricular activities as school-age children.
- More than half of children who are adopted were reported to have “excellent” or “very good” performance in reading, language arts and math.
The positive effects of adoption on a child continue.
Contact with birth families allows children who are adopted to maintain access to medical, genealogical and family histories. Children in open adoptions also have a better understanding of and more active communication about adoption with their adoptive parents.
Older adopted children who know the meaning of open adoption have a range of benefits, including:
- Having information to help them with identity formation
- Having positive feelings toward their birth parents
- Understanding the reasons for their adoption
The happiness of children who are adopted can be linked to healthy identity development. The effects of adoption on a child are overwhelmingly positive.
Children who understand and accept their adoption can lead happy, healthy and well-adjusted lives.
Adoption is a lifelong emotional journey. Understanding the effects of adoption on a child may help you decide whether you want to pursue this path.
But, you’re never alone in your decision-making. Adoption agencies offer free counseling during and after the adoption process. There are adoption specialists available to help.
Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.