Adoption Research Investigates Openness

Joe Veix

Results from an ongoing, 20-year study give us new insight into adoption.

As reported in the Examiner,
new results from a 20 year old study about the affects of openness in adoption were released.
The longitudinal study, called the Minnesota/Texas Adoption Project,
is national in scope, involving a larger sampling size than other adoption
studies, and is one of the first studies to give us an idea of how an open adoption system might be helpful. 

Until the mid-1970s, adoption was strictly confidential, but since
then the trend is shifting towards a more "open" system, where "contact occurs
between the adoptive family and birthparent(s), either directly or mediated
(e.g., through an adoption agency)."  With the study there will finally be research to guide adoption policy in this area.

The broad questions of the study are concerned with the affects of openness on adopted children, particularly whether it’s harmful or
not.  So far, the results (originally
reported in Adoptive Families,
which is unfortunately behind a pay wall) highlight a few interesting points

  • "Three qualities historically emphasized by agencies —
    physical resemblance to birth family, stay-at-home mom, and similar religious
    background — are less important today.
  • 33% of
    birthmothers would like more openness 3-6 months postpartum, and that figure
    increases to 38% by 18 months postpartum. Adoptive fathers, while less
    desiring of openness, also increase the amount of contact they want as time
  • Almost everyone — birthparents and adoptive parents alike —
    reports being satisfied with openness during the first and second year of the
    child’s life. 
  • Openness significantly correlates with satisfaction
    and post-adoption adjustment among birth and adoptive families alike."


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Adoption, openness

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