Adoption Facts

Famous Adoptees

Aristotle, Babe Ruth, Clio Axilrod, Dave Thomas, Deborah Harry, Faith Hill, Greg Louganis, Marilyn Monroe, Melissa Gilbert, Nicole Richie, Ray Liotta, Run D.M.C., Sarah McLahlan, Scott Hamilton, Steve Jobs …even Candy Crush’s Tiffi and Kimmey, adopted by Mr. Toffee!

Are you adopted? Your name could be here too!


Approximately 135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year.

  • Close to 40% of these children are adopted by stepparents and another 40% or so from the U.S. foster care system (over 50,000 children a year). Private infant and international adoptions together make up the remainder and are much smaller numbers.
  • Adoption is an increasingly significant aspect of identity for adopted individuals as they develop, and remains so even when they are adults – in a study of adopted adults by the Adoption Institute, over ¾ rated their identity as an adopted person as important or very important during young adulthood.
  • Adopted individuals will have many questions throughout their lives for which they seek answers as they strive to incorporate being adopted into their own identity – questions like
    • Why am I not with the people who made me when most people are?
    • How am I like or different from my original family?
  • Overall, 4 out of 10 adopted children are in transracial adoptions – that is they are from a different race or ethnicity than either of their parents. This is especially the case for children adopted internationally.
  • Adopted individuals may experience stigma or discrimination based on adoption or race/ethnicity – in the Institute’s research this was particularly true for transracially adopted individuals of whom 80% reported experiencing race-based discrimination.
  • About half (51%) of all adoptive families include both birth and adopted children.
  • The most common motivation given for adopting by adoptive parents is that they wanted to provide a permanent home for a child – a primary factor in over 80% of adoptions.
  • About 40% of adopted children live in a family with only one adoptive parent.

Adoptive parents are overwhelmingly satisfied with their adoptions – in a national survey only 3% responded that they would not in retrospect make this same decision