With every adoption there is a very deep and profound loss for at least two people, a mother and a child. Sometimes there are other family members affected, a father, grandparents, or siblings. Every adoption story is very unique but we must always remember that the only reason adoption exists in the first place is because a child has suffered the ultimate loss, the loss of his or her family. For this reason I believe parents considering placing their children for adoption should have extensive unbiased counseling and should never be persuaded by anyone to give up their child. There is nothing sadder than stories of birth mothers who spend their whole lives regretting a decision that they were forced into by husbands, parents, or anyone else, to place their child for adoption.
That said, there are many, many reasons parents are unable to raise their own children.
Sometimes, although rarely, a child is an orphan because his or her parents have died. Sometimes a child is lovingly placed for adoption by a young mother who does not believe herself to be financially or emotionally prepared to raise a child. Sometimes mothers leave their babies in the hospital or on a church doorstep with no real thought of plan of their future. Still other times children are removed from their families because of abuse or neglect. Social issues such as poverty, drug addiction, alcoholism, domestic violence, and teenage promiscuity all contribute to the orphan crisis. Also, in the case of many special needs children, ignorance has played a big role in the high numbers of children who are languishing in orphanages. In many cases doctors are actually encouraging mothers to abort or abandon their handicapped children.
Sometimes, when asked, adoptive parents choose to not disclose details of their adopted children's history to spare them any shame. Other adoptive parents want to educate others about the social problems that have hurt their children in order to help someone else. You should not be offended if an adoptive parent chooses to keep their child's history private.