Facts for Birth Mothers

Facts About Birth Mothers and Adopted Children

As domestic adoption continues to grow, more research has become available to highlight what affects adoption has on birth mothers and the children they place for adoption. According to several national studies, adoption can have a positive effect on both birth mothers and adoptees.


For Birth Mothers:
Significantly, unwed mothers who choose adoption do better than mothers who choose to be single parents:

  • They have higher educational aspirations, are more likely to finish school, and less likely to live in poverty and receive public assistance than mothers who keep their children.
  • They delay marriage longer are more likely to marry eventually, and are less likely to divorce.
  • They are more likely to be employed 12 months after the birth and less likely to repeat out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
  • They are no more likely to suffer negative psychological consequences, such as depression, than are mothers who rear children as single parents.

Source: McLaughlin SD, Manninen DL, Winges LD, Do Adolescents Who Relinquish Their Children Fare Better or Worse Than Those Who Raise Them? Family Planning Perspectives, 20:1 (Jan. – Feb., 1988), pp. 25-32


For Adopted Children:
Adopted children do as well – or better – than their non-adopted counterparts, according to a study by the Search Institute, a Minneapolis-based public policy research organization that specializes in questions of concern to states and cities. The 1994 study – the largest examination of adopted adolescents yet undertaken – found that:

  • Teens who were adopted at birth are more likely than children born into intact families to live with two parents in a middle-class family.
  • Adopted children score higher than their middle-class counterparts on indicators of school performance, social competency, optimism and volunteerism.
  • Adopted adolescents score higher than children of single parents on self-esteem, confidence in their own judgment, self-directedness, positive view of others and feelings of security within their families.
  • On health measures, adopted children and children of intact families share similarly high scores and both those groups score significantly higher than children raised by single parents.
  • Seven percent of children adopted in infancy repeated a grade, while 12 percent of children living with both biological parents repeated a grade.
  • Compared with the general child population, children placed with adoptive couples are better off economically. The data also found that adopted children enjoy a quality of home environment superior to all other groups and have superior access to health care.