Long steps to adopt

More than 5,000 couples adopt one child each year. At the same time, 5,000 abandoned their adoption plans. A proportion that highlights the difficulties of the steps, now revealed in an official report.

One person out of two abandons adoption project

Adopting is always as difficult. This is the report of a report by Catherine Villeneuve-Gokalp presented at the National Institute of Demographic Studies.

Unequal to adoption

To adopt, you have to go through many steps. First, an application must be made to the general council of the place of residence. Social assistance and a psychologist (or psychiatrist) ensure that "the conditions offered by prospective parents correspond to the needs and interests of an adopted child". It takes several months. In case of refusal, it is necessary to wait 2 and a half years to make a new request.

Once this accreditation is obtained (it is valid for 5 years), it is necessary to apply to the child welfare or to a body authorized for the adoption. Or it is necessary to embark on the steps to adopt abroad, with the support of the adoption agency, created in 2006. And again, this requires patience (three years of waiting on average) , Organization and often money.

According to the study, half of the candidates for adoption abandon their project on the way.

If one person out of ten experiences a refusal of approval, one candidate out of four abandons even before passing this first step: in the majority of cases it is a voluntary disengagement because of a happy event (pregnancy) or Unhappy (a divorce). But there is also discouragement in learning about the delays of several years, the lack of guaranteed results and the high cost, especially for adoptions abroad.

Another half of the renunciation takes place paradoxically after obtaining the approval. This reflects the important difficulties in obtaining a child once one is officially "authorized": procedures, cost, travel abroad ... Because adoptions in the United States of wards are rare: only 1,000 of the 4 children To 5,000 adopted each year are small French, for whom the procedures are less complicated and less onerous.

For Catherine Villeneuve Gokalp, author of the study, the current system of adoption finally favors certain profiles of adopters to the detriment of others. Thus, parents who succeed in adopting are mostly couples rather than single, childless and aged 32 to 39 years. Above all, they come from favored backgrounds. Because the salary facilitates the obtaining of the authorization and makes it easier to face the expenses related to the adoption. In addition, executives would drop less along the way.

It seems therefore essential today to accompany parents to prevent them from becoming discouraged, and to remove certain obstacles to adoption that limit access to this possibility for many couples, particularly not well-off. Hopefully the newly adopted adoption agency will allow an evolution in the right direction ...


From the desire for adoption to the reception of a child, Population, National Institute for Demographic Studies, 2007.

French Agency for the adoption