From 1881, when adoptions were first legally possible, the rate of adoptions slowly increased. The most significant increase came after the Second World War. By the mid-1960s there were so many babies available for adoption that married couples could choose which one to take home. Changing social attitudes and improved access to state assistance meant that unmarried mothers became more likely to keep their children or live with partners in de-facto relationships. The adoption rate dropped sharply from the mid-1970s.
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Source: Keith C. Griffith, New Zealand adoption: history, practice, social and legal, 1840–1996: process and practice, special issues, records and access, Maori adoption, statutes and rules, bibliography, case law indexes. Wellington: K. C. Griffith, 1997, p. 116.