Adoption in America [Infographic]

Since 1990, adoption rates in the United States have gradually risen. Data shows a 15% increase in the past 10 years, and in 2007 alone, more than 136,000 adoptions were recorded. Many people who adopt children will undoubtedly come in contact with a social worker throughout the process, whether prior to an adoption or once an adoption is complete.

The USC School of Social Work created the infographic “Adoption in America” to provide better insight into the adoption process in our country. It also gives a snapshot of who’s involved, from the facilitators to the parents and children who eventually become a family. We hope this inspires you to get involved and make a difference in an orphan’s life.

Adoption in America [INFOGRAPHIC]


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  • Lolly

    Nice graphic, but is the use of the word “orphan” correct or appropriate?

    • Adinah

      Orphan as a legal term is used correctly. Bio parents need not be deceased for a child to meet the legal definition of “orphan.”

  • Jason Kovacs

    Adoption’s globally have actually steadily decreased over the past 10 years by over 60%. Last year there was just a little over 9,000 adoptions internationally in the US. It would great to see an updated graphic like this. Thanks for putting this together!

  • alixan

    Do you have an infographic with data through 2011?

  • Pam

    this is a nice summary, wish we had one up here in canada that I could find. and yes, the “orphan” terminology is definitely a strange choice. i’ve been finding that it seems to be surfacing a lot lately for some bizarre reason. it’s very off-putting.

  • AmyAnn

    There is so very much wrong with this. As an adult adoptee, I find it even offensive. The label “orphan” is completely inappropriate for the majority of adoptees, whose first parents did not die (though perhaps adoptive parents/social workers want to believe or promote this pretense!) when they relinquished! It’s also striking that birthparents are not really represented here at all– not even in the section “Who’s involved in the process?”– aren’t they the most important parties involved?? And if you’re going to have a section on “The parents: Why do they want to adopt?”, wouldn’t it be more responsible to also include a section on “The parents: Why do they relinquish”??

    Your infographic is perpetuating harmful stereotypes about both adoptees and birthparents. Please take it down or work to make it better.

  • Corinne

    Being a mommy or daddy has nothing to do with DNA. The reverse is true. If you are being raised by an institution because your ” parents” were unfit, unable, or unwilling to be a mother or father, you are a orphan. To focus on the definition of a word and not the MEANING obscures the important point of this. Visit an orphanage or hold a child i your arms that has never had the single – hearted and focused love and affection of a parent or any person, then get back to me about pretenses and labels.

  • FauxClaud

    I have a HUGE issue with your definition of Orphans..though they are TRUE from the perspective of the adoption industry, they should NOT be acceptable definitions form a school of social work. While this definition might be consider accurate “legal” terms, just because something is legal, does not mean it is ethical. PLEASE research the subject of relinquishment coercion because it is still very real issue in this country! I would also like to add that it would have been very helpful to break out the number of voluntary domestic infant relinquishments from the step parent adoptions and foster domestic situations. That number is always missing.

  • Robyn Silev

    Yeah I agree with several of the comments below.
    I”m making an adoption infographic for my thesis I”ve spent a year on, and while the number of adoptions seems to have risen, the number of adoptions as it pertains to number of births has actually dropped. You might want to include that in your research.

  • Tyler

    Well I’m an orphan and I don’t find anything wrong with the terminology. It’s just a word that classifies us.

  • Juss Russ

    These adoption statistics are staggering. I hope some of these numbers have gone down since the past year truly. Juss Russ has been passionate about adoption for quite some time now and attributes his album Harder to the many children who have in a sense been forgotten. I hope to one day establish myself as the Juss Russ musician that many of my followers have said I could be in order to help the masses

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