Press Release

STUDY SHOWS RISE IN ‘OPEN’ INFANT ADOPTIONS, WITH ONLY 5% NOW COMPLETELY ‘CLOSED’ NEW REPORT CITES BENEFITS OF – AND NEED FOR MORE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT – THESE EXTENDED FAMILIES

Media Advisory: For Immediate Release

 

NEW YORK, March 21, 2012 – A major new report, released today, depicts just how extensively adoption in the U.S. has changed over the last several decades – from a time when it was shrouded in so much secrecy that birth and adoptive families knew nothing about each other, to a new reality today in which the vast majority of infant adoptions are “open,” meaning the two families have some level of ongoing relationship.

The core of the report from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, “Openness in Adoption: From Secrecy and Stigma to Knowledge and Connections,” is a new Institute survey of agency practices relating to infant adoption placements. Our study, along with a review of other relevant research, yielded these key findings:

  • “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.
  • 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.
  • Adoptive parents, like most participants in open adoptions, report positive experiences; more openness is also associated with greater satisfaction with the adoption process.
  • 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.
  • 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.

“The good news is that adoption in our country is traveling a road toward greater openness and honesty,” said Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Adoption Institute. “But this new reality also brings challenges, and there are still widespread myths and misconceptions about open adoption – so we have a lot of work to do in educating the public, professionals, the media and the families themselves so that we can continue making progress for the millions of people involved.”

Among its components, the Institute’s 50-page report identifies factors that are important to achieving successful open adoption relationships and offers research-based recommendations for overcoming the fears, misconceptions and other barriers that the affected parties often face. The recommendations include counseling and training for all the parents involved (expectant and adoptive), as well as post-placement services to help them and their children work through any challenges they encounter.

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is the pre-eminent research, policy and education organization in its field. Its mission is to provide leadership that improves laws, policies and practices – through sound research, education and advocacy – in order to enhance the lives of everyone touched by adoption, foster or institutional care, and the range of nontraditional families in our country.

For more information about the Adoption Institute’s “Openness in Adoption” report or to schedule an interview with Executive Director Adam Pertman, email apertman@adoptioninstitute.org or call 617-763-0134. To learn more about the Institute, see our award-winning website, http://www.adoptioninstitute.org.