Socioeconomic Status

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socioeconomic status

Many adopted people are adopted from families with a lower socioeconomic status than the families who adopt them; for example, the birthparents may be both blue collar and lower middle-class people whereas the adoptive family is middle class or even upper class.

Not all birthparents are lower middle class, however, and not all adoptive parents wear "white collars." Many foster parents opt to adopt their foster children, and the average foster parent is a working-class person.

Some birthparents are middle-class or upper-class girls in high school or college who don't wish to parent a child and instead opt to place it for adoption. It is likely they will seek out an agency they feel would place their child with a socioeconomic background similar to their own, and many agencies do such socioeconomic matching.

When agencies allow birthparents to choose adoptive parents from nonidentifying resum?s or to meet them, birthparents generally choose a family that is more affluent than their own, wanting "something better" for their child. They are not necessarily seeking a rich family, but they don't want their children to suffer any economic privation.

Studies indicate that socioeconomic status and criminality of adopted individuals are linked inversely: the higher the socioeconomic status of the birthparent and/or the adoptive parent, the lower the probability the child will commit any criminal violations.

Many agencies inadvertently screen out poor or working-class applicants for adoption by virtue of the fees they must charge. If a family cannot afford a total fee of $6,000 and up, the agency frequently will not accept their application. As a result, many working-class families give up altogether, while others work two jobs and save their money for years in order to pay for the adoption.

Some agencies, however, will allow these families to make payments on a regular schedule. Still other agencies offer SLIDING SCALE FEES, which are dependent on a percentage of the adopting parents' income.

SPECIAL NEEDS adoptions are usually less costly than adoptions for healthy white infants, and many agencies are especially willing to work with families in these situations. In addition, state agencies charge minimal or no fees, and often offer subsidies for adopting special needs children.

Consequently, it is more likely that blue collar workers will adopt older children or children with special needs and white collar and middle-class workers will adopt healthy infants by virtue of the economics of adoption. (See also ADOPTION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM; COSTS TO ADOPT.)

Find more information on socioeconomic status

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