Adoption News Flash on “Open Adoptions”

A new report depicts just how extensively adoption in the United States has changed over the last several decades – from a period enshrouded in secrecy to today’s  “open” domestic adoptions, cases where the two families involved maintain an ongoing emotional relationship.

The report from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, “Openness in Adoption: From Secrecy and Stigma to Knowledge and Connections,” disseminates stats and adoption information from a  survey of 100 agencies.

Their key findings:

  • “Closed” infant adoptions have shrunk to approximately 5 percent, with 40 percent of adoptions now “mediated” and 55 percent “open”
  • 95 percent of agencies now offer open adoptions.
  • Adoptive parents, like most participants in open adoptions, report more positive experiences. More openness is also associated with greater satisfaction with the adoption process.
  • Women who have placed their infants for adoption and can sustain some level of bonding report less grief, as well as more peace of mind.
  • The primary beneficiaries of openness are adopted kids themselves because of access to birth relatives, emotional support and medical histories.

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute said in a report last month that the new norm is for birthparents considering adoption is to meet with prospective adoptive parents and pick the new family themselves.

“The degree of openness should be tailored to the preferences of the individual participants,” said Chuck Johnson of the National Council for Adoption, which represents over 50 adoption agencies. “It points to the huge importance of the right people being matched with each other.”

The Donaldson Institute said most participants find open adoptions a positive experience. In general, the report said, “Adoptive families are more satisfied with the adoption process and birth mothers experience less regret and worry.”

There are still widespread myths and misconceptions about open adoption. Do you have any?

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