When it comes to adoption, US parents avoid African-American babies, boys

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Washington, Apr 21 (ANI): Parents pursuing adoption within the United States tend to avoid taking African-American babies and boys, according to a study.

The above results came from the study conducted by economists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the London School of Economics, and New York University (NYU).

They found that parents have strong preferences regarding the types of babies they will apply for, tending to choose non-African-American girls, and favouring babies who are close to being born as opposed to those who have already been born or who are early in gestation.

These preferences are significant, and can be quantified in terms of the amount of money the potential adoptive parents are willing to pay in finalizing their adoption.

While the data are intriguing, the real value of the study is that it can give policymakers a more rational, evidence-driven base from which to consider the implications of policies and laws, such as those that restrict adoption by single-sex and foreign couples, said the researchers.

The key to these findings, according to the researchers, was the data set they were able to put together.

"These data are unique," said Leeat Yariv, associate professor of economics at Caltech.

The researchers, however, were able to gather information-from a website run by an adoption intermediary-over a five-year period (between 2004 and 2009).

The intermediary works to bring together-to match-potential adoptive parents with birth mothers seeking to relinquish their children for adoption.

The website operates somewhat like an online real estate site. We could see the attributes of the children-race, gender, age-and even the finalization costs, or the amount of money the adoptive parent would need to pay to finalize the adoption. In addition, we could see which children the potential adoptive parents applied for," she explained.

In other words, the team could see which babies attracted interest from potential adoptive parents, and determine which traits were most likely to lead to a successful adoption.

This revealed three main patterns-first, the researchers found that a non-African-American baby is seven times more likely to "attract the interest and attention of potential adoptive parents than an African-American baby," said Felli.

The second pattern shown was the gender preference.

"A girl has a higher-by slightly more than one-third-chance of attracting the attention of potential adoptive parents than a boy," said an author of the study.

The researchers also found that the interest of potential adoptive parents in a particular baby depends on the stage of gestation. While unborn children become increasingly attractive over the birth mother's pregnancy, probably because the match involves less uncertainty from the adoptive parents' perspective," said another study author.

"We find that the desirability of a child decreases dramatically right after birth," added the author.

This means, according to researchers that "bureaucratic obstacles disrupting an adoption plan at the time of birth are extremely detrimental to the future prospects of the child." (ANI)

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