Adoptive parents invest more time and financial resources in their children, compared with biological parents. That’s the finding of a US study that challenges the more conventional view - emphasized in legal and scholarly debates - that children are better off with their biological parents.
The study, involving around 13,000 US households that included first-graders, found that two-parent adoptive parents not only spend more money on their children, but they invest more time, such as reading to them, talking to them about their problems or eating meals together.
"Society often tells people that adoption isn’t normal," says Indianna University Professor Brian Powell. "When people make the decision that they want to have children, and then use unusual means to have them, they compensate for the barriers."
In the United States, two to four percent of households include adopted children, and researchers expect this number to grow. Instead of looking at two-parent adoptive parent households, most research that has examined parental expenditure on children has compared biological parents with stepparent households, and single parents. This omission is notable, Powell said, because many of the assumptions used in contemporary legal and scholarly discussions - some of which translate into legal rulings and public policy - about the importance of biological parents to the well-being of children rely on these older studies. In academia, the new findings contradict claims by evolutionary psychologists that parents are born to dote on their biological children more than their adoptive children.