Advantages and Disadvantages of Adoption: Pros & Cons

Deciding to adopt a child is not something to be taken lightly. As with everything in life, there can be advantages and disadvantages of adoption that you will surely want to consider. What, though, are the advantages and disadvantages of adoption?

The biggest advantage or pro of adopting is that the child being adopted receives the gift of a new beginning. Your unconditional love given to a child in need is priceless. A very real disadvantage or con of adoption is the loss and grief the birth mother will experience.

No one family is the same as the other, just as one person’s set of advantages and disadvantages may be completely different from someone else’s.

You may view a specific aspect of adoption as an advantage, while someone else may view that same point as a disadvantage.

What you need to do is research the said pros and cons of adoption and decide for yourself what that means to you and your family.

No one else can decide for you what your views on adoption will be. Still, it is helpful to research others’ points of view to provide you with things to think about to help you form your own opinions.

The fact that you are doing your research shows that you are taking adoption seriously. It is a mistake to blindly think that adoption is a cakewalk.

As is the same mistake to assume that adoption is not a good option for you. Most people find that their opinions fall somewhere in the middle.

Let’s dive into commonly shared opinions on the pros and cons of adoption. Perhaps these considerations will open your mind to aspects of adoption that perhaps you had not yet given any thought to.

Young couple on couch hanging upside down with their child playing.

Considering Adoption

There are so many factors to think about when considering adoption and if it is right for your family.

Whether you have struggled with infertility, wish to adopt as a single parent, or would like to add to your already-growing family in different ways, considering adoption takes time and research.

If you are still healing from the loss of a pregnancy or the struggles of infertility, it is natural to want to take your time deciding if trying other alternatives is the way to go for you and your family.

Before we dive into the advantages and disadvantages of adoption, let me first congratulate you on your willingness to take the time to research the adoption process.

If you are feeling hesitant about adoption or are unsure if adoption is right for you and your family, you are on the right track. Why would I say that?

Being hesitant shows caring and concern for the reality of adoption. Those who have a pie-in-the-sky outlook on how adoption will be are setting themselves up for disappointment.

Of course, adopting a child is a special and memorable experience, and most who adopt do not regret their decision.

And like everything else in life, the reality is much different than a rosy-painted expectation of how things will be in our heads.

The fact that you are here reading this article shows that you are wise enough to realize there will be both pros and cons of adoption.

There will be pitfalls when adopting a child. There will be heartaches. Yet there will also be joys, love, and happiness that can far outweigh it all. You decide.

How much control do adoptive parents have over the type of child they adopt? Learn more here.

How to Decide to Adopt a Child

Deciding to adopt a child is part of the consideration process. But how do you decide to adopt a child?

Deciding to adopt a child requires knowing your reasons for wanting to adopt a child, and deciding which type of adoption is best for you and your family. Understand the adoption requirements so that there are no surprises further into the process, and consider how open you want your adoption to be.

People decide to adopt for a variety of reasons. Some suffer from infertility, while others may wish to add to their already-growing family by adopting a child.

There are times when a pregnancy would put a birth mother’s health in jeopardy, so they may choose adoption rather than taking the physical risk of going through a pregnancy.

So many children require a safe, loving home. Some families choose to adopt simply to know they are providing a child with a better future.

This unselfish act of love runs deep within them, and these adoptive parents many times adopt several children; not just one.

If there is a genetic disease that runs in one’s family, they may decide that adoption makes the most sense so as not to pass down an undesired medical disorder to their offspring.

Perhaps there is a family with all girls, and they wish for a boy. Adoption would give them the ability to grow their family knowing their next child will be the gender they so desperately wish for.

Not everyone has the desire to have countless amounts of children as they roll the dice with fingers and toes crossed hoping the next one will be a boy or a girl.

In our modern days, it is more common to see single parents adopting children. Perhaps they just have not met the right partner, yet their biological clock is ticking. Or, they may not have a desire to find a partner and know they are perfectly capable of raising a child on their own.

You will want to make sure that you have fully researched the adoption requirements in your state to be aware of what will be expected of you before you start your adoption journey.

Whatever your deciding factors are that come into play when you decide to adopt a child, feel confident that you gave ample consideration to your options as well as your reasons for your decision.

Do you have to be married to adopt a child? Learn the ins and outs of adopting a child as a single person.

Pros of Adoption

There are countless pros and advantages of adopting a child. What is gained by the unselfish act of adoption may be viewed differently depending on the family? So what are the pros of adoption?

The pros of adoption range from the love and happiness experienced by adding to one’s family to knowing a child in need has been provided an opportunity for a better life. A family is more than a blood relation. A family that adopts has the advantage of more love to share within.

Pros of adoption:

  • Providing a Loving Home to a Child in Need
  • Experiencing the Joy of Raising a Child
  • Becoming Familiar with a Different Culture
  • A Larger Family Means More Love
  • Birth Mother is Given Peace of Mind
  • The Child Has a Chance at a New Beginning
  • Lifelong Relationship

Not all children who are adopted are newborn babies. Many children who are adopted are a bit older and are being rescued from dysfunctional homes.

Children who end up in the foster care system have many times been either abandoned, neglected, or abused.

These children initially end up in the state’s care and are placed into group homes until a foster home can be found for them.

Once placed into the foster care system, the child’s parents are asked to fulfill certain requirements that will allow them to regain custody of their children. 

Some biological parents complete those requirements and some do not.

The feeling of knowing you are providing a child from trauma a stable, loving home has got to be one of the best feelings one could ever experience in this lifetime.

Starting a family and raising a child can be one of the most exciting accomplishments one will ever achieve.

It is hard to compare the feeling of knowing you are raising your child with love and guidance that will help mold who they will grow up to become.

The closeness, warmth, and love shared within a family unit are priceless and something most of us wish to experience at some point in our lives.

Adoption can make that a reality for those who wish to be a parent.

If you are adopting a child of a different ethnicity or culture, you will get to experience their traditions and culture with them.

Participating in things that bring the culture left behind closer to the child helps the child make a smoother transition and will also help them feel welcome in your home.

Watching documentaries on the culture and traditions of the child’s birthplace can be fun for the whole family, as can reading books and participating in events that revolve around the adopted child’s culture they came from.

Some parents were made to have large families.

The love they feel when sharing their homes and hearts with adopted children only grows with every child they adopt. When we add a new member to our family, even just one, we are adding a person to love into our lives.

And in turn, we have another person to love us.

When a birth mother decides to put her baby up for adoption, she is doing so out of love. For whatever reason, she knows her child will have a better life than the one she can provide herself.

Maybe the birth mother feels she is too young to raise a child. Perhaps a woman finds herself pregnant and realizes she is not cut out to be a parent.

Many different reasons are depending on the circumstances. What is important here is that when a mother puts her child up for adoption, it is done for peace of mind knowing she is doing the best she can for her unborn child.

A child conceived or born in a dysfunctional environment or a level of poverty stands a better chance at a life being adopted by stable, financially secure parents.

Sadly, children are born into abusive households every day, and not all children in need are newborn babies.

When you adopt a child, you are either rescuing a child from a life of trauma and hardship or giving a baby a better chance at life from the very beginning.

This, by far, could be viewed as the best pro and advantage of adoption that there is.

Open adoption means that the adoptive parents and the birth parents or birth mother share information and remain in contact, depending on what is comfortable for both parties involved.

For many, this is considered a positive, no one is left in the dark wondering who the birth parents are, who adopted their child, and so on.

Have you ever wondered if an adopted child can inherit from their biological parents?

Cons of Adoption

As with anything good in life, there is always a flip side that goes along with it. What are the cons of adoption?

The cons of adoption range from the high costs of adoption for the prospective adoptive parents to the pain the birth mother feels when giving up her child for adoption. Even though she knows she is doing the best things for her child, the pain is there and is very real.

Cons of Adoption:

  • Costs of Adoption
  • Birth Mother Will Experience Loss and Grief
  • Extended Family May Not Agree with Adoption
  • Child May Have Mental and Emotional Issues
  • Possible Unknown Medical History
  • Fear Children Will Reunite with Their Birth Parents

There are pros and cons to everything in life, and you must be going into the adoption process fully aware of all angles.

It is no secret that adopting a child can be very expensive. Both domestic and international adoption can range from costing roughly $25,000 to $50,000 to adopt a child.

And if you are entertaining the idea of researching international adoption, you will find that there are added costs that go far beyond what it would cost to adopt domestically.

For example, if you adopt a child out of the country, you will more than likely be required to go back to the country from which you are adopting more than once or twice.

The costs of travel alone can add up to an enormous amount, not to mention the expense of visas required for the travel.

The birth parents are faced with very difficult decisions when they are first contemplating giving their baby up for adoption.

A birth mother carries her child for nine months, surely becoming attached to the baby growing inside of her.

The decision to give one’s baby up for adoption can be a rollercoaster ride, to say the least. One minute, the birth mother might be feeling that she will not let anything stop her from raising her baby.

The next minute, she may be thinking that she cannot provide her baby with what her baby deserves.

Loving a child so much that a birth mother is willing to give the baby to someone else is one of the most selfless acts a mother can ever do for her child.

Birth parents must learn to adjust to life after the birth of the baby knowing they allowed someone else to raise their baby. On one hand, they have a warm feeling knowing they did what was best for their baby.

Time goes by, but the birth parents will never be able to forget they put their child up for adoption.

Even though it may have been in the best interest of the child, that maternal instinct and love never go away.

As a side note, one may also want to be emotionally aware that a birth mother may change her mind, even down to the very last minute.

When sharing your adoption decision with your extended family, be mindful that it might take some time for them to get on board with your decision.

Maybe they secretly had hoped to extend their bloodline. This is viewed as very important in some cultures, especially.

Perhaps they are concerned about the race and ethnicity of the child you adopt. They could be wondering about possible behavioral, emotional, and physical issues that can sometimes come with a child from a previously broken, unstable home.

It goes without saying that when you do not have the family history of an adopted child, you do not know what traumas a child may have endured.

For older children, some of what has happened to the child can be shared by the child themselves. There are times, though, when the child will not feel comfortable sharing his or her trauma history.

Counseling can be huge in helping older adopted children cope with their grief and loss from the possible traumas they have endured throughout their young life.

If you are adopting a baby, this will more than likely not be an issue.

When adopting domestically, the adoptive family is generally provided with the child’s medical and family history.

There are times, however, when the medical and family history is unknown, especially if you are adopting internationally.

This means the child will go through life not knowing their genetic history if they are prone to certain diseases, or what they could be doing day-to-day to help prevent a disease from rearing its ugly head.

A common fear many adoptive parents have is wondering if their adopted child will eventually want to find their birth parents.

Even though the adoptive parents know logically that their adopted child will always know they are their true parents who raised them, the thought of the adopted child and birth parents reuniting brings a deep feeling of insecurity.

In today’s domestic adoptions, it is more common to have somewhat of an open adoption arrangement with the birth mother or both birth parents depending on their comfort level.

For those who prefer to stay away from the concept of open adoption, international adoption may be a better fit. That is not to say that there cannot be closed domestic adoptions.

It all depends on what the birth mother and adoptive parents agree upon.

Home studies are a required part of the adoption process. Learn how to prepare for a home study and shave time off of your lengthy adoption process.

Is Adoption Right For Me?

Only you can decide if adoption is right for you. The decision should be yours and yours alone.

If you are being talked into the decision by a partner and you do not feel comfortable with the decision, speak up. Communicate your fears and concerns.

Are you single and contemplating adoption? Are you worried that the child would need both parents, so you might not proceed?

Although having two parents is a plus, it in no way makes you less of a parent if you decide to raise a child alone.

Do you have extended family that has negative views on your possible decision to adopt? Hear them out and validate their concerns while at the same time respectfully letting them know the decision is ultimately yours.

Chances are, they will come around.

Adopting a child is not right for everyone. In the end, do what you feel is right for you.

And let us not forget that the advantages of adoption affect not only ourselves but also the children who are adopted. Visit Advantages of Adoption for Children, written by a trusted national adoption agency, American Adoptions.

Pros and Cons of Private Adoption

Before we get into the pros and cons of private adoption, we first need to understand what private adoption is.

What is Private Adoption?

Private adoption is when an adoptive family works directly with the birth mother or parents of a child. Private adoption offers numerous benefits, but it also has some disadvantages.

Private adoption is one of the most prevalent kinds of adoption, particularly in the case of infant adoption.

In a private adoption, the birth parent or parents willingly place their child for adoption, frequently selecting the adoptive family.

Birth parents can locate a family on their own or with the aid of an adoption agency or attorney.

When it comes to adopting a child, private adoption is the most popular choice.

It is generally difficult to put newborns with prospective adoptive families through public adoption or adoption from foster care.

While it does occur, it is far less often than private adoption. Adoptive parents who wish to adopt a child will most likely use a private adoption agency.

Adoption fees may apply to prospective adoptive parents, including but not limited to agency, home study, housing expenses for the birth mother, court, and attorney fees, among others.

Depending on the conditions, it can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars.

To save some of the expenses, prospective parents might take this path and try to locate a match on their own.

By word of mouth, some of these adoptions take place among extended families or friends.

Prospective parents frequently match with someone they know, or with a circumstance involving a friend or family member.

Self-matching has been made much easier with the assistance of social media.

Private adoption allows for the longest journey since it usually begins with the birth mother’s pregnancy and continues long after the birth parents have placed their child.

What are the Pros of Private Adoption?

  • Adoptive parents are frequently able to communicate with a baby’s biological mother and may even provide assistance during her pregnancy. This gives the adoptive parents additional information about the infant and gives the birth mother the opportunity to have a role in the baby’s life if both parties are interested.
  • Many prospective parents wish to raise their children from birth, and private adoptions allow them to do so. The majority of older children are adopted through a government agency and may already be in foster care.
  • Working with a private adoption agency might take significantly longer than working with an adoption agency. International adoptions can take a long time since complications in both the United States and the child’s home country might cause delays. Adoptions conducted privately are frequently completed in less than a year.

What are the Cons of Private Adoption?

  • Parents who want to adopt a child privately encounter some uncertainties. Private adoption birth moms occasionally change their minds. Substance misuse or addiction, for example, might have a negative impact on the health of the baby’s mother.
  • Although consulting with an attorney during a private adoption is less expensive than working with an adoption agency, parents who adopt privately may be responsible for most or all of the birth mother’s medical expenses. Other costs, including child counselors, mediators, or drug misuse specialists, may be totally covered by the adoptive parents.
  • It might be difficult to find a birth mother who is willing to give her child up for adoption. Despite the fact that private adoption is a shorter procedure, many couples wait years to find a birth mother. Some couples announce their desire to adopt on social media and in publications, letting everyone know that they are committed to being amazing parents.
Trina Greenfield - Adoption Author

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she is able to provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.