Statement on Adoption

American College of Pediatricians – April 2013

ABSTRACT: Adoption is the best option for children who cannot be reared within their natural families. This statement addresses the measures that should be taken to optimize the adopted child’s well-being.

The American College of Pediatricians affirms adoption as the best option for children who cannot be raised within their natural families. An appropriate adoptive family provides a child with love, permanency, stability, and the same legal rights as a child born into that family.

Adoptive placement of an infant should be promoted as a courageous, loving, and life-giving alternative to abortion.

All adoption decisions should be made with the best interests of the child foremost. Adoption policies should reflect adults’ commitment to meeting the needs of the child, rather than the child fulfilling the needs or wishes of the adults.

Children needing adoptive placement outside their natural families are children who have significant risk for emotional, behavioral, and developmental concerns. Scientific studies consistently demonstrate that lifetime outcomes are best for children in a married mother-father household.1,2,3 Therefore, children should be placed with a married heterosexual couple ahead of other family forms.

All adoptions should take place under strict legal and ethical standards. Prospective parents or agencies that deliberately falsify adoption applications, domestic or international, should be prosecuted for fraud.

The College supports those court decisions declaring that persons have no inherent “right to adopt.” Adoption decisions should not be subject to “non-discrimination” laws. In making placement decisions, agencies have an ethical duty to consider the potential adoptive parents’ age, gender, sexual orientation, family structure, ethnicity, and religion, among other factors.

Principal author: Leah Willson MD, FCP
Original statement June 2008
Revised April 2013

The American College of Pediatricians is a national medical association of licensed physicians and healthcare professionals who specialize in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. The mission of the College is to enable all children to reach their optimal, physical and emotional health and well-being.


[1]  Kristin Anderson Moore, et al. “Marriage From a Child’s Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can We Do about It?” Child Trends Research Brief, June 2002, p. 6.

[2] David Popenoe and Barbara Whitehead. “The State of Our Unions 2007: The Social Health of Marriage in America” The National Marriage Project, (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, July 2007), p. 6.

[3] Blackwell DL. Family structure and children’s health in the United States: Findings from the National Health Interview Survey, 2001–2007. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(246). 2010.