For the past several generations, adoption was kept secret. Several factors have contributed to the increasing openness of adoption. First, there is growing awareness of the negative effects of secrecy and the benefits of openness for adopted children. Second, in response to large numbers of adoptees returning to adoption agencies seeking information, states have changed adoption laws. Third, social media is connecting adoptees to their biological families. Choosing openness at the time of the adoption may provide greater control over as well as preparation for future contact and facilitate communication between parties. It is important to be able to identify myths vs. facts about open adoption.
Whether you are considering adoption, know someone who recently adopted or have gone through the adoption process yourself, you likely know that today open adoption is the standard. Most modern adoptions, birth and adoptive parents share contact during and after the process, exchanging picture and letter updates, text messages, emails and phone calls and even arranging in-person visits.
Hand in Hand Pregnancy and Adoption encourages this contact because we have seen firsthand the benefits it has for everyone involved — and the research backs it up. Here are 10 facts about the benefits of open adoption for everyone in the adoption triad:
1. Today, closed adoptions are all but extinct; it’s estimated that only 5 percent of adoptions are closed.
3. In a survey of adoption professionals conducted by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the overwhelming majority of agencies reported that between 76–100 percent of expectant parents choose their babies’ adoptive parents.
4. With Hand in Hand Pregnancy and Adoption, 100 percent of prospective birth mothers have the right to choose the parents for their child and to get to them them before placement and decide what type of relationship they want to have with their baby and the adoptive family after birth.
5. Most birth and adoptive families in open adoptions report positive experiences, and those with more openness tend to be more satisfied with the adoption process.
6. Open adoption can help birth parents process their grief after placement. Birth mothers who have ongoing contact with their children report greater peace of mind and less grief, worry and regret than those who do not have contact.
7. Openness is especially beneficial for those at the center of the adoption – the children. Research shows that adolescents who have ongoing contact with their birth parents are more satisfied with their adoptions than those without contact. Openness allows them to better understand the reasons for their adoption, promotes more positive feelings toward their birth mother, provides them with information that aids in identity formation, and more.
8. Adoptive parents are becoming excited about open adoption. The California Long-Range Adoption Study found that the majority (73 percent) of adoptive parents are very comfortable with contact in their open adoptions. Other studies have found that openness in adoption reduces adoptive parents’ fear and increases their empathy toward birth parents and leads to benefits in their relationships with their adopted children.
9. In addition to “structural openness” (open adoption relationships with their birth parents), studies show that adopted children benefit from “communicative openness” within their families — meaning they are free to discuss adoption and express their feelings about their adoption with their parents. Children who experience more open adoption communication within their families have higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems, more trust for their parents, fewer feelings of alienation and better overall family functioning.
With the benefits of open adoption, most birth mothers choose to have some openness in her adoption plan and adoptive parents are wanting to develop a relationship with their children’s birth families. For more information about the adoption process visit our website or follow us on social media.
Visit https://www.handinhandpregnancy.com/what-is-open-adoption/ to learn more about open adoption.
- “Forum » Adoption Community.” Community, https://adoption.com/forums.
- “Adoption – Child Welfare Information Gateway.” Home – Child Welfare Information Gateway, https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption.
- “Kinship Center | Resources | Support Groups | Recommended Websites | Recommended Books.” Kinship Center | California Adoption, Foster Care and Relative Care Agency, http://www.kinshipcenter.org/resources.