The World Population Plan of Action adopted in 1974 at the World Population Conference called for facilitating child adoption so that involuntary sterile and sub-fecund couples could achieve their desired family size. Implicit in this recommendation was the idea that adoption is a means to approximate biological parenthood for couples who would otherwise be unable to have children. More then three decades later the general view is that, in societies where marriages is being increasingly delayed, childbearing is postponed and levels of biological childlessness are on the rise, increasing number of persons are resorting to alternative means of experiencing parenthood, including through adoption. This report analysis adoption trends in the light of changes in nuptiality and childbearing in order to access the extent to which the generalized view presented above hold true.
This study, the first of its kind undertaken bt the Population Division, presents comparable information for 195 countries. The information presented related to: adoption policies and legislation; multilateral, regional and bilateral treaties on intercountry adoption; levels and trends of total, domestic and intercountry adoptions, and data on selected demographic characteristics of the individuals involved in adoption, namely the adopted person, the adoptive parents and the birth parents. The reports surveys recent trends and policies on child adoption while providing the cultural and historical background necessary to understand differences in country approaches.