According to an Adoption UK survey of 3,500 families asking about their motivations for adopting, only 58 per cent said they did so because they were unable to have biological children; which is to say that a surprising number appear to be opting for adoption ahead of, or instead of, having a birth child.
The survey did not ask those couples who were not infertile about their specific motives for adoption, but Alison Woodhead, Adoption UK’s Director of Public Affairs and Communication, maintained that “saving the planet, or not adding to the population” appears to be at least part of the equation for many of them, and as environmental issues rise to the top of people’s pile of concerns’ she suspects this will become a “significant motivating factor”, particularly for younger adopters, over the next decade.
Clearly, an element of altruism should be expected in would-be adopters, especially as the majority of children now placed for adoption are removed from their birth families due to significant violence, abuse or neglect, and thus have complex needs that prove to be a challenge for adoptive parents – indeed, Alice Noon, head of adoption at Coram, one of the UK’s largest independent adoption agencies, says that many couples who adopt as a first option go on to try to have their own children as they become aware that in child-rearing it is an advantage to know a child from his or her very beginnings.
Coram has three children waiting to be adopted for every family willing to take a child, and Government figures show adoptions falling by 18 per cent 2018, with the number of children being taken into care at a 10-year high. The adoption process most likely plays a part in the low number wanting to adopt, as Alison Woodhead admits, saying that the process facing would-be adopters is ‘“so tough that you wouldn’t survive it with rose-tinted spectacles”. Compare this to surrogacy, which seems to have no limits other than what you can afford.
But even without the hurdles placed before such couples, the question is whether the problem is a ‘shortage’ of adoptive parents, an over-supply of needy children – or both. Single mothers in serial relationships are having children removed from them and offered for adoption, while more married couples are getting divorced and never-married couples are splitting up at an accelerating rate, reducing the pool of couples suitable to adopt just as the number of children needing adoption is rising.
Far from addressing the problem of family disintegration, successive governments have produced “family friendly” policies aimed at getting mothers out to work, so there are even fewer families available to adopt other people’s psychologically damaged children – in effect, picking up the shattered human pieces resulting from failed official policies whose failures governments have failed to acknowledge, let alone address: fewer incentives to marry, easier divorce, but also abortion on an industrial scale.
Rachel Cocker explains that it was once more common for children to be given up for adoption by unmarried mothers immediately after birth, but now most children placed for adoption have been removed from their birth families because of abuse and/or neglect. However, instead of helping them to become better mothers, helping really infertile couples to adopt young babies and helping families to stay together, our governing classes stoke apocalyptic environmental fears that are taking away young couple’s hopes for the future, while also taking away abused children from broken families, and permanently removing unborn children from their mothers’ wombs as some sort of ‘solution’ to the world’s problems. They would concentrate on saving the Planet rather than actually trying to save a child.