Openness in Adoption: From Secrecy and Stigma to Knowledge and Connections. [Report]
Siegel, Deborah H. Smith, Susan Livingston.
Donaldson Adoption Institute.
Permission to Copy
Published: March 2012
This report is the first in a series that will address the phenomenon of openness in domestic infant adoptions. It summarizes research knowledge on the topic and presents findings from a survey of 100 infant adoption programs in the U.S. regarding their practices around openness and the qualities that facilitate successful open adoption relationships. Key findings indicate: (1) "Closed" infant adoptions have shrunk to a tiny minority (about 5 percent), with 40 percent "mediated" and 55 percent "open." In addition, 95 percent of agencies now offer open adoptions; (2) In the overwhelming majority of infant adoptions, adoptive parents and expectant parents considering adoption meet, and the expectant parents pick the new family for their baby; (3) Adoptive parents, like most participants in open adoptions, report positive experiences; more openness is also associated with greater satisfaction with the adoption process; (4) Women who have placed their infants for adoption - and then have ongoing contact with their children - report less grief, regret and worry, as well as more peace of mind; and (5) The primary beneficiaries of openness are the adopted persons - as children and later in life - because of access to birth relatives, as well as to their own family and medical histories. (Author abstract modified)
open adoption; infant adoption; research; surveys; adoption agencies; agency practice