Child Adoption: A Path to Parenthood?

Clare Menozzi, United Nations
Barry Mirkin, United Nations

In 1974, the World Population Plan of Action encouraged countries to facilitate child adoption so as to enable couples to achieve their desired family size. Thirty years later, there is the perception that an increasing number of persons are looking for alternative ways of experiencing parenthood, including via adoption. Is this really the case? The paper addresses this question by focusing on national data. Specifically, it examines data compiled by the United Nations Population Division on total, domestic, intercountry and step-parent adoptions for over 100 countries. The data are supplemented by information on national adoption legislation. The paper concludes that while in many cases couples and individuals may be resorting to adoption as a way to experience parenthood, not all countries conform to this pattern. In these countries, adoption cannot simply be viewed as a demographic response. Other factors, including societal norms and personal values may also be at play.

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Presented in Session 121: Alternative Pathways to Parenthood: New Reproductive Technologies, Adoption, and Stepparenting