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Health & Parenting

Men Adopt Twice as Often as Women

Adoption Report From CDC: 2.3% of U.S. Men, 1.1% of Women Adopt Children
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But the male/female adoption disparity is complex. Despite cultural trends toward adoption by gay men, men who have never been married are far less likely to have adopted a child than are currently or formerly married men.

And here's another interesting statistic: Men who adopt are more likely to have fathered a child than men who do not adopt. For the other sex, it's the other way around: Women who have never had a child are more likely to adopt than are those who have given birth.

Ideal Adoption, Real Adoption

The CDC survey asked women seeking to adopt what they wanted in a child. The preferred child is younger than 2 years old, free of disabilities, and is an only child. Women would prefer to adopt a girl rather than a boy.

But most of these adoption-seeking women weren't fussy. Nearly 90% said they'd accept a child with a mild disability, 79% would accept a child 2 to 5 years old, and 75% would accept a set of siblings.

Race is not a major issue for most of these women. Among white adoption seekers, 84% would accept a black child and 95% would accept a child of a race neither black nor white. Among black adoption seekers, 75% would accept a white child and 93% would accept a child of a race neither black nor white.

Even so, two-thirds of women would not accept a child aged 13 years or older or a child with a severe disability.

And adoption preferences do play a role. There are virtually no healthy, newborn children waiting to be adopted. But in 2002, 124,000 American children in foster care waited to be adopted. The mean age of these children is 8.5 years, and they've been living in foster care for three years on average.

"Because the characteristics of children that women and couples seek to adopt ... may not correspond to the characteristics of children in the foster care system, women and couples may seek children from outside the foster care system to adopt," Jones notes in her report.

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