What is Adoption?
Adoption is the legal act of permanently placing a child with a parent or parents other than the birth parents. Adoption results in severing the parental responsibilities and rights of the biological parents and placing those responsibilities and rights onto the adoptive parents.
After the finalization of an adoption, there is generally no legal difference between biological and adopted children, though, in some jurisdictions, some exceptions may apply.
Here are some statistics related to adoption in the United States:
- Number of children in foster care: As of 2022, an estimated 427,998 children in foster care are in the United States.
- Number of children adopted from foster care: In 2021, 54,240 children were adopted.
- Age of children adopted from foster care: The average age of a child adopted from foster care is six years old.
- Gender of children adopted from foster care: About 51% of children adopted from foster care are male.
- Race and ethnicity of children adopted from foster care: About 42% of children adopted from foster care are white, 27% are Hispanic, 17% are black, and 14% are of other races or ethnicities.
- Number of babies adopted yearly: Roughly 18,000 babies are adopted annually in the United States.
- Types of adoption: There are three main types of adoption in the United States: foster care, private, and intercountry adoption.
- Cost of adoption: The cost of adoption varies depending on the type of adoption and the agency or facilitator involved. However, the average cost of adoption is estimated to be $40,000.
- Adoption trends: The number of adoptions in the United States has declined. However, there has been an increase in the number of intercountry adoptions.
The following books provide helpful information for Private investigators who can use such books to help educate themselves on the legal complexities and to understand better the emotional state and struggles experienced by their clients. These books will help you answer such questions as:
- What is adoption, and what does it entail?
- What are the relevant agencies, and how do they work?
- What are the steps involved in the legal process?
- What are the laws and legal requirements in your state?
- Do you need an attorney or lawyer to assist with the process?
- Federal and state statistics and facts
Techniques for Tracing People – A helpful book designed to give adoptees, birth parents, parents, and siblings information on finding family members, locating vital documents, and uncovering relevant information. This is a useful book for private eyes assisting with the search process.
View our list of Private Detective Books.
Federal Government Organizations
The following websites are provided to assist Private Investigators in finding information on laws and legislation or to help anyone who is looking to be reunited with a family member or friend.
Office of Minority Health Resource Center – The mission of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) is to improve and protect the health of racial and ethnic minority populations by developing health policies and programs to eliminate health disparities.
Federally Funded Adoption Resource Centers and Clearinghouses
ABA Center on Children and the Law – Improving children’s lives through law, justice, knowledge, practice, and public policy advances.
Child Welfare League of America – The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), the nation’s oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization, has been known and respected as a champion for children since 1920. Our primary objective, and the title of our current strategic plan and National Framework for Community Action, is Making Children a National Priority.
National Criminal Justice Reference Service – National Criminal Justice Reference Service
National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement – a part of the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. The Center supports organizations committed to the welfare of children, youth, and families through training, technical assistance, research, and evaluation.
National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth – This section of the National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth (NCFY) Web site offers information on selected new youth initiatives, reports and publications, and funding announcements.
National and Regional Exchanges
National Adoption Center – The center expands opportunities for children to connect with families throughout the United States, particularly for children with special needs and those from minority cultures.
Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange– A private, non-profit agency providing extensive resources, programs, and services related to foster care. The site provides information on the adoption process, a partial photo listing of children who need to become part of a family, a calendar of events and training, online forms, and related links.
Other Resources and Links
- Adopting.org – Information and resources.
- Adoption Policy Resource Center – Advocacy for individual adoptive families and provides technical assistance to organizations and professionals.
- Adopting.Com – Everything prospective adoptive parents need to know about the process.
- Adoption.Com – Committed to helping as many children as possible find loving, permanent homes. Committed to helping special needs children in the U.S. and worldwide who otherwise couldn’t find families.
- Canadian Adoptee Registry
- Intelius People Search, is a provider of People Search and Background Check reports. Intelius has an extensive selection of people search reports, background checks, criminal records, court records, real estate, and financial reports.
Hire a Private Investigator to Help
Private investigators often become involved in adoption-related cases, primarily to help find an adoptee’s birth parents or to help birth parents find a child. Locating an adoptee’s birth parents is similar to a missing person case and can be just as emotional for all parties involved. Private detectives use various search methods and reports to locate birth parents and adopted children.