The times of closed adoptions shrouded in secrecy are becoming a thing of the past, as The Washington Times reports that an estimated 95 percent of adoptions are now “open,” meaning at least some level of contact between the two families is regular and welcomed, according to a report from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
The study, "Openness in Adoption: From Secrecy and Stigma to Knowledge and Connections", found that the shrinking of completely closed or confidential adoptions—now at its smallest number ever, five percent (40 percent are “mediated”; 55 percent, “open”)—is actually beneficial for all involved, which may explain the change. Women who placed their infants up for adoption and have regular contact with the family and child involved report less signs of worry, grief and regret. The children benefit too, both emotionally and physically, through access to birth relatives and their family and medical histories. Adoptive parents also report greater satisfaction with open adoptions.
In order to achieve successful open adoption relationships, the Donaldson Institute recommends that:
- All parents involved (expectant ones considering adoption and pre-adoptive) should receive thorough counseling and training.
- All parents who choose open adoption should receive training on the factors that are important to achieving successful relationships, including strategies for working through tensions and maintaining a child-centered focus.
- All parents should be offered post-adoption services in order to work through any challenges they encounter in relation to openness.
- Additional research should be conducted to better understand the factors that promote successful open adoption relationships and ways in which practitioners can support them.
Have you adopted a child? If so, was the adoption open, closed, or somewhere in-between?