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Sally's Journal
October 5th, 2007
02:23 pm


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(First of all, an apology - I lied, and my adoption statistics are for 2005. Still, the adoption trend has been reasonably steady for many years, and the 2005 number is so safely within one of the catagories, that I think there is practically zero probability that the right answer has changed.)

There were 223 adoptions of children under 1 in 2005 in England and Wales.

There were 185,307 abortions in 2006 in England.

There were 635,748 live births in 2006 in England.

Like I said, scary statistics

I have some fuzzier data that suggest 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, and another that thinks 30% of live births were not planned (eg, I remember reading these somewhere and can't find it right now) These two statistics were from different places, but agree with each other at least.

So we conclude there are about 400,000 unplanned children conceived, of which about half are aborted, half are kept, and 1 in 2000 is adopted. (Actually, I think the adoption figure is misleadingly high, as I bet some of the adoptions are children who were taken into care whose parents did want them, and planned and wanted children of surrigate mothers might be officially adopted too?)

Well done borusa, saf2285 and cathedral_life who all got it right!

(81 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
I didn't think it was *that* low. hmm. I don't know what the procedure is - it doesn't seem very likely that ten times as many people what to adopt 1's as do 0's, so there must be some procedural thing going on. anyone got a clue?

Why did you select the under-1's statistic?
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
I guess that some of it is admin and faff. If you're a poor parent who wants to keep their children but cannot, there is lots of proceedure before the children get taken away to foster carers, and lots more before those children can be adopted. I'd guess that can easilly take more than a year.
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2007 02:06 pm (UTC)
Adoptions - but how many children were put up for adoption and *not* adopted but remained in a series of foster homes (or other substitute for adoption)? And how many people are there who we *would* allow to adopt if there were children there for them to adopt? How many of those abortions could possibly have resulted in happy adoption stories (and how many in seriously disabled children, dead children or dead or seriously disabled mothers? or in children that no one 'suitable' wants to adopt?)?

I think that it is scary that 400,000 unplanned children are conceived... the population is about 60 million of which about 30 million are presumably women. That's 1% of all women having unplanned pregnancies of course some of these women are too young or too old to have babies, but, personally, a 1% failure rate of contraception is pretty scary.
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
I don't think that's 1% failure rate of contraception, it's 1% stupidity rate which includes doing stupid things with contraception.

More generally, while I think there are too many abortions, I really don't think a good way to deal with this is to persuade women to carry to term and then have the baby adopted.
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC)
what is 'scary' about this statistic?
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)
It's scary when the world isn't the way I thought it was, and when lots of people assume things are one way when they're not like that at all.
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[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
I know a couple who put their baby up for adoption and, even though they knew well before she gave birth that they wanted to do this, and their baby was a healthy white baby, it was 9 months before the adoption finally went through due to bureaucracy (some of it good and useful and some of it not). It doesn't surprise me at all that more complicated cases could take over a year. I think you'd do better to look at the number of babies under 18 months if you want an accurate stat.

And it doesn't surprise or scare me as a set of stats. Pregnancy changes your body for life, if you don't want a baby, why would you put yourself through that? Not many people are that altruistic or that pro-life and don't want children.
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I suspect if you look for how many adoptions occur in the 1-3 year-old range, it will be rather higher. It takes a long time to arrange for an adoption.

Also I wonder how many of those abortions were repeats.

In short, my usual dubiousness when faced with any set of statistics: not enough information presented to let us know what they actually indicate...
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
Surrogate children are generally adopted but they are very uncommon indeed... I would estimate about 20 a year at most.

And there must be some sort of procedural thing...
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
Relating to questions in comments above, I believe that the demand for adopting babies is high. So many couples want children but find they can't get pregnant for one reason or another (IVF etc have very low success rates), and so want to adopt. Babies are most in demand, unsurprisingly enough, because you get the maximum amount of nurture-time to make the kid into part of your family. Older children and teenagers need adopting too, but fewer people are prepared to take on the challenge; these kids are up for adoption almost always because they've had a massively chaotic home life up to that point, and obviously this poor upbringing makes them very often very badly behaved.
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
I wonder if there's a mothering instinct effect that means once the child is born they suddenly love it and don't want to offer it for adoption? Or maybe I'm just too idealistic....
Date:October 6th, 2007 09:15 am (UTC)
Having just had a baby I'm sure that's not idealistic but plain true. The first few days after a birth, when a mother is instinctively bonding with her baby, are a deeply emotional time. The though of losing your baby or giving them away is a primally horrible thing. I had my baby four weeks ago and I'm still able to be reduced to tears by stories (like this http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/family/story/0,,2184432,00.html) of mothers giving away their babies and what they must have gone through.
[User Picture]
Date:October 6th, 2007 10:39 am (UTC)
I can't help thinking there is an element of influence by the media here. Maybe it's my limited exposure, but I can't remember the last time I saw a TV show featuring a happily adopted child. It's always either trying to convince the mother to keep the baby, rather than give it up for adoption, or a grown up adopted child rejecting their adopted family in a desperate search for "who they really are". It's no doubt because it makes better drama, there has to be conflict about something, but it does seem to have set up a lot of anti-adoption attitudes in our culture as a whole.

How much affect it has on abortion rates, I really don't know, but I can't help thinking that a women who was wavering about whether to abort might well be affected by the thought that adoption was a very bad solution - an idea that I don't think is borne out by the facts.
[User Picture]
Date:October 7th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
That strikes me as a very interesting point, which hadn't occurred to me, but to my mind could very well be a factor.
Date:October 6th, 2007 12:42 pm (UTC)
Despite my incorrect guesses I suppose the number of children adopted under 1 is going to be low, as the process can take so long that I can imagine any child may well have reached the age of 1 by the time the adoption actually becomes official (isn't there a settling in period as well?) Although I guess the process of checking the prospective adopters out could well happen pre-birth.

That is definitely a scary adoption statistic. It surely makes a mockery of the official rules for adoption (ie that you have to have a valid reason for wanting an adoption and "he/she was unplanned" I thought wasn't meant to cut it).

It's also a far cry from the idea that abortion was legalised mainly (debatable I realise) to deter people from dangerous backstreet abortions (why backstreet - surely these things happened in houses?). Obviously the stats for illegal abortions are probably non-existant/unreliable, but I cannot imagine it was ever 30% of the figure for live births.

I still cannot believe we haven't lowered the time limit for abortions when something silly like 1 in 5 babies born pre-n weeks (where n is the number of weeks an abortion can be done by in normal circumstances) survive. Surely this has to have ethical repurcussions about what stage life begins or at least what stage the death can be called murder/manslaughter?
Date:October 6th, 2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
It surely makes a mockery of the official rules for adoption abortion (ie that you have to have a valid reason for wanting an adoption abortion and "he/she was unplanned" I thought wasn't meant to cut it).

Indeed. The only ground for abortion in this country AIUI is risk to the mother's health as certified by two doctors. It is not abortion on demand. However, the reality is very difficult and that worries me.

One thing that worries me is that I've read books where characters have had abortions (as teenagers) and haven't come to terms with it.
Date:October 8th, 2007 10:06 am (UTC)
Pretty much the only children who get adopted under the age of 1 are those who are the younger siblings of children who have already been adopted (usually when there is a court order to remove any further children from an unfit parent)

Otherwise the standard procedure is to put the children into fostering for a time.
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