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November 2009Vol. 10, No. 9Positive Outcomes for Late-Placed Adoptees

An increase in the percentage of children adopted at older ages prompted a new study that compared early- and late-placed adoptees on various measures of adulthood success. "Age at Adoption: Long-Term Measures of Success in Adulthood" used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth to assess socioeconomic status, educational level, and mental health of 141 adoptees who had been adopted at infancy, when they were 1 to 5 years old, or when they were 6 years or older. Researchers looked at adoptees' annual incomes, number of divorces, home ownership, levels of education, and cases of depression.

Findings show that age at adoption did not have a significant impact on later success. By the time the adoptees were in their 30s, the only difference was in educational attainment, with late-placed adoptees showing lower percentages of high school and college completion. The study highlights the need for greater educational subsidies and support of late-placed adoptees while presenting some encouraging data regarding adoptees' outcomes.  

"Age at Adoption: Long-Term Measures of Success in Adulthood," by Susan Decker and Megumi Omori, was published in Adoption Quarterly, Volume 12(1), and can be purchased online: