The Advantages & Disadvantages of Adoption

Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

According to "The Boston Globe," 125,000 adoptions took place across the world in 2007. Adoption is the process by which a child without a parent or guardian able to care for him legally comes under the care of another guardian or set of guardians.

Adoption has many positive aspects, but people interested in adopting a child must weigh them against the negative aspects in order to make a decision that works best for them.

Home for the Child

Adoption allows a child to grow up in a household that is both willing and capable of taking care of him. Many families are incapable of properly giving the child the care he deserves, because of either personal, economic or social reasons. Adopting children from other countries, such as China, also gives the children opportunities that may not be available to them in their home countries.

Building Family

In addition to providing benefits for the child, adoption also provides benefits for the adopting guardians. Many couples are unable to have children on their own for medical or personal reasons, and adoption provides them with the opportunity to raise a child regardless of their problems. Many people may also choose to adopt in addition to having children in order to provide a home for children in need. Guardians may be eligible for a variety of benefits from workplaces and governments; for example, the IRS offers an adoption tax credit.


One disadvantage of adoption is the long, complicated and expensive application process. Adoption agencies typically employ stringent criteria for adopters in order to ensure that the children go to good homes. There can also be long waiting lists for children, especially newborns. In order to ensure that the legal issues of adoption are handled appropriately, people interested in adopting may have to hire a lawyer, which can be very expensive.


Adopted children, especially older children, may come from homes or situations that make it difficult for them to adjust to a new home, and the foster parents may ultimately be a poor fit for the child. Children may be born addicted to drugs or they may have been abused. These and other issues may make the ultimate pairing of adoptee and adopter unworkable, or it may place unexpected strain on the adopting family.