Open Adoption

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open adoption

The most accurate term to describe an adoptive placement, in which the BIRTHMOTHER and sometimes the BIRTHFATHER exchange specific identifying information with the adopting parents. Information such as names, addresses and other data may be exchanged so that ongoing contact between the adopting and birth families is possible. Whether ongoing contact is monthly, annually or sporadic depends on the parties and should be decided by them rather than an agency or attorney.

The definition of open adoption is critically important because tremendous confusion about the definition of this phrase abounds nationwide. Some agencies consider degrees of "openness" as open adoptions, for example, when the pregnant woman is given nonidentifying resumes to review, while other agencies consider a brief meeting with no exchange of identities to be an open adoption, and still others insist that only a disclosure of identities is an open adoption.

Consequently, until more universal agreement on a definition is achieved, it's very important to obtain an exact definition from the agency or attorney of what they mean by "open adoption."

Open adoption differs from COOPERATIVE ADOPTION, in which there is an assumption of an active and continued involvement on the part of the birthparent(s) with the child, with parental decisions shared or the birthparents consulted about major issues. Visits are common in cooperative adoption and may or may not occur in an open adoption.

Determining the Number of Open Adoptions

Because the federal government does not collect adoption statistics (except those of foster children who are adopted) as of this writing, it is difficult to determine how many adoptions have occurred, let alone how many open adoptions. It is possible, however, to use other research and statistics to estimate the percentage of open adoptions.

The National Council For Adoption reports there were about 25,000 infant adoptions in 1999. (Not including international adoptions.) The National Council For Adoption estimates the number of open adoptions nationwide at about 10%, or 2,500 per year.

History

Open adoptions were once the norm, and in the 1920s, women actually advertised their own children for adoption. Primarily indigent women, they performed their own screening and decided for themselves if the placement would occur.

Social workers and others were understandably distressed by this practice, both because they felt the parents might have considerable difficulty in adequately screening the people who would adopt their children and also because they were concerned about people who might actually sell their children.

As a result, social workers in Massachusetts and other states actively sought to ban parents from ADVERTISING their own children for adoption, and today most states that allow adoption advertising only allow adoption agencies, attorneys or prospective adoptive parents to advertise. (See ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION.) Some states prohibit advertising altogether, whereas other states require specific wording or limit advertising to agencies or attorneys only.

The advent of new adoption laws featuring confidentiality were promoted by agencies, at least in part as a response to the dominant role lawyers played in adoption. Confidential adoptions became the norm by the 1930s.

There has been an upturn in the number of open adoptions since 1970, primarily because lawyers began to reassert their dominant role in newborn adoptions by marketing direct placements as "open adoptions," among other approaches. As attorneys increased the numbers of adoptions that they assisted with and agency placements declined, especially in California, agencies again responded as they did earlier in the century. Agencies began modeling their policies regarding privacy on those of the attorneys and turned increasingly to open adoptions.

Today, choices within a framework of confidentiality are commonplace. In addition, more adopting parents are willing to provide nonidentifying information about themselves or to meet with a pregnant woman considering adoption.

One reason for this willingness is a belief it will be easier to adopt and the waiting period will be shorter if the prospective parents comply with such demands. Another reason is the belief that it is reasonable to give a birthmother considering adoption information about the couple who would like to adopt the child. Those who support this rationale believe the birthmother merits more control (in the form of information) than a confidential adoption will allow and should not have to rely on the word and reputation of agencies and their employees that the adopting parents are "good people."

A key reason for many agencies (and attorneys) offering open adoption is that there are fewer babies available for adoption than 20 or more years ago, thus birthparents have greater bargaining power and more control than in the past.

Another trend impacting open adoption is the desire of some birthparents and adopted adults to SEARCH for each other. Proponents of open adoption point out that searches are unnecessary in the case of open adoptions: the people already know each other's identities.

The risks and benefits of open adoption continue as a source of hot debate between proponents and dissenters. Although studies designed to assess the well-being of individuals adopted through open adoptions have been done, it will be at least 10 years before sufficient evidence is available.

Critics insist that it would be very unwise to actively promote open adoptions until we can see the effects of existing open adoptions; proponents of open adoption are eager to press ahead.

Arguments in Favor of Open Adoptions

Advocates of open adoptions insist that openness is best for the child, who will not spend his or her life wondering what a birthparent looked like or why he or she was "given up." (Even in traditional "closed" adoptions offering choices, the adopting parents are rarely given a photograph of the birthparent.)

Proponents cite studies of adopted adults who were institutionalized or who required psychotherapy and conclude that the secrecy inherent in traditional adoption contributed to or caused the mental illness. Those who oppose generalizing pathology suffered by some adopted persons in the entire population of adopted individuals cite studies of adopted adults. They indicate that most who were adopted under age five, and especially those children adopted as infants, are well adjusted.

Proponents say that if the adopted person suffers any health problems as a child or as an adult, the birthparent can more readily be contacted and no third parties need be involved. In a traditional adoption with confidentiality, the adopted person would need to contact the agency or attorney to search for the birthparent, would need to request an unsealing of the birth records by a court, or would need to hire someone to find the desired names or data.

Open adoption proponents insist the commonly felt experience among many new adoptive parents of wondering whether every young woman in the supermarket is the birthmother is not a problem in an open adoption when the adopting parents know exactly who the birthmother is.

They also add the fear of the unknown birthmother coming back to "reclaim" the child by kidnapping him or her disappears when an adoption is open. Despite the fact that a birthmother could theoretically take such action when she knows the identities of the adoptive parents, few have actually done so.

Advocates of open adoption argue knowing where the child is and with whom alleviates fears the birthmother has about the adoptive placement, and her confidence is transmitted to the adoptive parents.

Kenneth Watson, a well-known advocate of open adoption and the chair of the adoption task force of the CHILD WELFARE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, does not believe open adoption should be mandated, nor does he believe confidentiality should be required. However, believing that open adoption enables an adopted person to have a better sense of his or her identity, Watson holds that open adoption helps a child better cope with the loss of a birthparent as well as helps birthparents and adoptive parents cope with their sense of loss.

Although formerly a proponent and practitioner of confidential adoptions, Watson now compares himself to the salesman of asbestos 25 years ago who now knows asbestos is dangerous and who warns former customers about the danger.

Open adoption advocates also believe adoptive parents gain a strong respect for the birthmother when they actually know who she is. They claim the sense of ENTITLEMENT adoptive parents feel toward the child is stronger when the adoptive parents are personally chosen.

Some attorneys believe their open adoptions are better than agency adoptions because agencies generally prescreen individuals before they share data about them (or arrange meetings) with birthparents. As a result, they believe birthmothers in open adoptions have a much broader pool of potential parents to choose from. Agencies, however, believe it is safer for both the adoptive parents and the birthparents if the prospective parents have been screened and have already received counseling.

Kathleen Silber and Phylis Speedlin, authors of Dear Birthmother: Thank You for Our Baby, argue against confidential adoptions, saying that birthmothers, adoptive parents and adopted children are forced to accept whatever information an intermediary was willing to provide in a confidential adoption. Hence, adoptive parents see birthparents as "shadowy figures," and birthparents wonder intensely whether or not their children are all right.

Proponents also argue that open adoption helps prevent or minimize the guilt and lifelong pain suffered by many birthmothers. They say that voluntary adoption placements should have no place in a civilized society, but if they are permitted, they should at least be open.

Arguments in Favor of Confidential Adoption

Supporters of traditional adoption have numerous reasons for their objections to open adoption, and many are the reverse side of the arguments offered in support of open adoptions.

Opponents say that women are more likely to choose unwanted abortions or to have unwanted children they may later neglect or abuse if they do not have the option of maintaining confidentiality. The women (or the biological fathers) may be fearful of the child searching for them in later years and choose abortions over an open, nonconfidential adoption. Those who do not support open adoption also argue that the birthmother should not always have a say in choosing adoptive parents because she is sometimes in a highly emotional state and not always the best judge of what kind of people would make good parents or legal guardians. Adopting couples may feel less entitlement to a child, rather than more, when the birthmother is known and the birthmother knows who the parents are. Many argue that this could raise difficulties with adoptive parents bonding to the child. The adoptive parents may not feel like "real" parents and instead feel more like foster parents or legal guardians despite the emotional, legal and financial commitment they incur with adoption.

It is also argued that the birthmother will not psychologically relinquish her own feelings of entitlement toward the baby in an open adoption, and it may become difficult or impossible for her to disengage from the child. What she originally considered acceptable, for example, photographs sent to her every few months, may become unacceptable, and she may seek or demand more involvement with the child. Research appears to refute the hypothesis that the birthmother will experience less grief when she knows the identity of the adoptive parents.

A study of 59 birthmothers by Terril Blanton, M.S.S.W., C.S.W., crisis pregnancy counselor at Buckner Baptist Benevolences in Dallas, Texas, and Jeanne Deschner, Ph.D., associate professor at the Graduate School of Social Work at Arlington, Texas, was reported by the two researchers in 1990.

The researchers compared birthmothers who had chosen an open adoption (defined as at least having personally met the adoptive parents) to birthmothers who had chosen traditional confidential adoptions. These two groups were also compared to bereaved women whose children had died.

The birthmothers were an average age of 21.3 for the 18 open adoption birthmothers and 25.6 years for the 41 traditional adoption birthmothers. The researchers modified the Grief Experience Inventory; for example, modifying the question "The yearning I have for the deceased is so intense that I feel physical pain in my chest" to "The yearning I have for the relinquished child is so intense that I feel physical pain in my chest."

The researchers found that the birthmothers who placed their children in an open adoption suffered more than mothers whose children had died. Said the authors, "Indications were strong that biological mothers who know more about the later life of the child they relinquished have a harder time making an adjustment than do mothers whose tie to the child is broken off completely by means of death. Relinquishing mothers who know only that their children still live but have no details about their lives appear to experience an intermediate degree of grief."

The authors hypothesized that the birthmothers in an open adoption could be compared to divorced women who may have more difficulty adjusting to their loss than bereaved widows.

In addition, the birthmother may not fully accept the loss of her nurturing role. Said A. Dean Byrd, Ph.D., assistant commissioner for LDS Social Services in Salt Lake City, Utah, "Open adoption may encourage birth parents to avoid experiencing the loss, to postpone or prolong the separation and grieving process. Ongoing contact may serve as a continuous reminder of the loss, or as a stimulus for the fantasy that relinquishing a child is not really a loss at all."

In addition, her own personal situation may change, and the birthmother may marry and feel she can provide a stable home life. She then could theoretically argue for visits with the child.

Pregnant women may sometimes make demands adopting parents agree to out of desperation or fear because they want to adopt the child so greatly; for example, they may agree to a letter once a week or a phone call every other week.

After placement and especially after finalization, the adopting parents may lose their eagerness to communicate with the birthmother. Perhaps they were dishonest with the birthmother or perhaps they lost their enthusiasm for the previously agreed upon open adoption, especially as the child grew older and became aware of "two Mommies."

This has been happening for some time with differing results depending on the state. In a 1986 California case, the adoptive parents failed to follow through with promises made to a birthmother, and she sued for the return of the child. The child was returned to her, and she placed the child with another couple willing to meet her demands. In a similar case in Georgia, the adoptive parents prevailed because the court reasoned that "riders" may not be attached to an adoption agreement, and the birthmother had no legal standing.

Yet if the baby has been placed in an open adoption and the adoptive parents later "slam the door shut," this action could be very traumatic for the birthmother. In some cases, she may not have placed the child for adoption at all and would have opted to raise the child as a single parent had open adoption not been presented to her as a very positive option. Without the inducements offered through open adoption, she would have chosen to parent the child.

Another problem with open adoption is that human nature being as it is, there will be stress and disagreement (even between a married couple) on how to rear a child. Even if the child has no contact with the birthmother but perhaps sees the parent receiving cards, letters and photographs from the birthparent, this raises questions about who is or should be making parenting decisions, and the responses could generate discord and uncertainty in the child's mind. (Supporters of open adoption would greatly disagree with this point.)

In addition, if the child should have some contact with the birthparent, the child might then feel torn between his or her parents and birthparents.

Critics also fear some birthmothers may make unreasonable financial and emotional demands on a couple, either before the adoptive placement or in the future, playing on their guilt feelings over "taking her baby." (If the couple offers or gives the birthmother any money directly before placement or even finalization, this could be construed as BABY SELLING and is very dangerous and should be avoided.)

A past strong advocate of open adoption was Reuben Pannor, a retired agency-director who formerly oversaw adoptions at Vista Del Mar, an agency in California.

In the article "Open Adoption as Standard Practice," which Pannor co-authored in 1984 with therapist Annette Baran, the authors described their views that open adoptions are highly preferable to confidential adoptions.

But in a striking change, both Baran and Pannor renounced open adoption in an article written in 1990 for Orphan Voyage. Said the authors, "Open adoption, which we helped pioneer, is not a solution to the problems inherent in adoption. Without legal sanction, open adoption is an unenforceable agreement at the whim of the adoptive parents."

Many birthparent advocates and most of the child welfare and legal establishment, as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are calling for "court-enforced communication and visitation agreements" in open adoptions. This debate was one of the areas considered by The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) in drafting the UNIFORM ADOPTION ACT, but NCCUSL rejected court-enforced agreements, except in rare circumstances, such as stepparent adoptions.

For an exhaustive essay favoring such contracts, see Annette Ruth Appell, "The Move toward Legally Sanctioned Cooperative Adoption: Can It Survive the Uniform Adoption Act?" in the Summer 1996 issue of the Family Law Quarterly (vol. 30, no. 2).

Renouncing adoption altogether, both traditional and open, Baran and Pannor instead opt for a "simple adoption," or a form of guardianship, for those parents who are unable to care for their children.

Sometimes the age of the birthmother can be an important factor; for example, some experts, such as Adrienne Kraft and others, argue that adolescent birthmothers would have considerable difficulty with open adoptions and are unprepared to determine whether or not they should continue contact with a child through an open adoption. In addition, the adolescent birthmother may not understand that she is irrevocably transferring her parental rights.

Some proponents of open adoption insist that a birthmother's continued contact with a child is only seen in COOPERATIVE ADOPTIONS and is not a feature of open adoption. The lines may blur, however, from an open adoption into a cooperative adoption because the adults involved are unclear about what they've agreed to.

Some who say that they support open adoption also reveal serious conflicts about the practice. In her lengthy article in Law & Society Review, adoptive mother Barbara Yngvesson describes her own periodic confusion about open adoption, as well as the ambivalence of others, both birthparents and adoptive parents.

For example, she describes the feelings of the birthmother "Cassie" as feeling as if she is on the margins of a family and says, "She can see no place for herself in the adoptive family that will be 'comfortable' and 'clear' for her son, so that he will know 'who's who and what's what' and will not be confused about who is his 'real' mother. She's worried that he will 'hate' her for giving him away. As a result-and this has come up repeatedly in other birthmother interviews-her desire to act in the best interests of her son works against her desire to forge a relationship with the adoptive parents so that she can keep in contact with him. At the same time, her desire not 'to be left out' continually reminds them, and herself, of the tenuousness that each experiences in the connection to the adopted child."

Yngvesson also describes a birthmother who was terribly upset when the adoptive parents did not contact her on her son's birthday or on Mother's Day. The social worker contacted them and learned that the adoptive mother felt it might upset the birthmother to contact her, since her last contact with them had been pretty "generic," or noncommittal.

A third party, the social worker, clearly intruded herself into the process, pressing the adoptive parents to make contact, and using (perhaps unknowingly) guilt and shame among her tactics.

For example, according to what the social worker told the author, the social worker said to the adoptive father, "There are people who would give their left arm for a caring, loving birthmom like Cassie," and she also stated that Cassie had chosen them because she wanted openness. Said the social worker. "You said yes although no one contracted anything, that it would be four times a year plus a personal visit. My feeling is, you've got to live that up, the way you said you were going to do it. If you agreed to send her stuff, let her decide if she wants to open it." And "You need to nurture her, you need to nourish her, reach out to her."

Yngvesson also discusses "Eileen," a birthmother who purposely chose a Catholic family in an open adoption so that the child would know her as he grew up. But several years after the adoption, the adoptive father, also an attorney, told Eileen the contact was over and that there was nothing she could do about it legally.

In another article in Social Work, a piece strongly supportive of open adoption, author Deborah Siegel described the advantages and disadvantages of this practice. One disadvantage that sometimes occurred was an extreme closeness to the birthmother.

Said Siegel of one case, "They lived for a while with her in her apartment, counseled her through several crises, and wiped her brow during labor. A year after the adoption, they found that she was having trouble letting go of the intimate relationship with them despite previous agreements to do so; she continued occasionally to call them when she was in crisis." As a result, the adoptive parents have become unofficial counselors and saviors of the birthmother, who they feel they "owe" for their child. She, in turn, has become used to their assistance and, quite naturally, doesn't want to lose it.

In another case, the birthmother confided to the adoptive mother that she learned she was infertile. The adoptive mother had difficulty knowing how to deal with this knowledge and wanted to distance herself from it, but felt unable to, because she didn't want to hurt the birthmother's feelings.

Siegel and others describe methods to make an open adoption "work," but they sound very complex and more like planning a battle strategy than creating an adoption. For example, in her six-step guidelines, in Step 4, she recommends, "Because people's needs change over time, they should have an agreed-on mechanism for renegotiating their plan. For instance, they may agree that the person who wants a different arrangement will communicate that wish to the social worker, who will then contact the other party to begin formulating a new agreement. Leaving these issues inadequately explored before placement can arouse unnecessary anxieties and produce avoidable misunderstandings later."

Siegel and others who support open adoption insist that adoptive parents and birthparents are very pleased with the arrangement, despite the problems they discuss.

Finally, open or fully disclosed adoption is perceived by some critics as simply another social fad that has the potential to damage children.

Adult Adopted Persons and Open Adoption

Adopted adults are mixed in their feelings about open adoption. Studies have revealed that adopted persons who are actively seeking contact with their birthparents generally favor openness, primarily because it would ease their search or obviate the need for one.

Adopted adults who feel no need or interest in searching are less likely to favor open adoptions, although they may support the provision of nonidentifying information, especially if the information was updated. There is no indication that adults who were adopted through attorneys or other open adoptions in the past advocate this approach as standard practice, or, alternatively, that they support Pannor and Baran's call for an end to adoption as we know it. It will probably take a generation to see what adults adopted since 1970 think about the process.

The Open Adoption Process

The first step to an open adoption may be a contact with a social worker, attorney or a friend of the pregnant woman or adopting couple. The pregnant woman may view photographs and resumes of prospective adoptive couples and select one or more couples she'd like to meet. She may choose a family she thinks physically resembles herself, or she may simply like the way the husband and wife look in their photograph.

If she meets the couple, she may decide they appear to have good parenting skills and generally appear to offer security for the child to develop to his or her full potential.

The birthmother may also think the couple's hobbies and interests are similar to her own; for example, they may have expressed a love of travel, which she shares and values.

The adoption may not start out as open during the period when the birthmother reviews resumes and/or photographs. When states mandate confidentiality, the social worker or attorney may not lawfully disclose identities.

If the pregnant woman opts to meet the couple, and especially if she meets them more than once, it becomes extremely difficult to maintain confidentiality.

Some adoption agencies have devised a unique and controversial way to both house the pregnant woman and maintain the option of confidentiality: they place a pregnant woman in the home of a prospective adoptive couple, but NOT the woman whose child the couple would adopt. This practice is meant to foster a greater understanding into the decision-making process of birthparents and the emotions a birthmother experiences when she considers adoption.

As a result, the couple and the pregnant woman would theoretically develop empathetic feelings for each other without the pressure involved in an open adoption.

It is also important to understand a FOSTER PARENT ADOPTION is sometimes open simply because many foster parents know identifying information about the birthparents, especially if the child is over six. Even if the social worker doesn't share this information with the foster parents, the child may.

Some foster parents have allowed visitations in their own home during foster care and may have telephone or written communication with the birthparents after the adoption occurs.

There are also a very limited number of open adoptions occurring in INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION; however, this does not appear to be a trend at all. In fact, adoptive parents responding to a General Accounting Office questionnaire stated they wish to adopt a child from another country because they won't have to worry about the birthmother showing up at some time in the future or because they don't trust the U.S. adoption system.

One researcher, an economist, looked at the potential "human capital" impact of open adoption. Studying empirical evidence based on surveys of adoptive parents in northern Utah who adopted infants, Jeffrey Waddoups noted that his data were not drawn from a nationally representative sample (his respondents were more likely to have higher than average family incomes, higher levels of education, and they were less likely to be members of ethnic minority groups). His respondents were also probably mostly members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, since they were drawn from Utah.

The researcher found that uncertainty in the adoption environment, expressed in terms of open adoption impacts, such as the fear of not bonding with children or of sharing pictures of their children, ".?.?. may lead to lower levels of human capital investments in adopted children." In other words, open adoption, and especially the fear of not bonding with a child, may lead prospective adoptive parents to decrease their emotional investment in the adoption and to avoid certain types of adoption, especially open adoptions in the U.S.

Waddoup's findings are sobering and may help explain three trends that have been noted regarding adoption at the turn of the century: (1) an increased interest in international adoption and a corresponding decrease in families that are seeking to adopt in the United States; (2) an increased interest in pursuing more extensive and expensive assisted reproduction alternatives; and (3) an increase in the numbers of persons who prefer to remain childless, opting for neither adoption nor infertility treatment.

The 1991 GAO survey of parents who had adopted internationally revealed that 10% were concerned about U.S. adoption laws and practices. International adoptions continue to surge, despite the greater cost, higher uncertainty about the health status of the children and many difficulties associated in carrying out the adoptions (overseas travel, lack of familiarity with the culture, and even physical dangers).

RELATIVE ADOPTIONS are generally open and are a special category of adoption with unique pros and cons; for example, the child may resemble the adoptive parents. Sometimes relative adoptions are adversarial, resulting from a court battle. In some cases, there will be no counseling or social work assistance to help with the reorganization of kinship role and status and the concomitant feelings that occur. Emergent negative feelings among battling relatives can be extremely painful for the adopted child and affect him or her even to adulthood. (Gloria Vanderbilt wrote an intense account of her mother's battle to gain custody of Gloria, which she lost.)

STEPPARENT ADOPTIONS are, by their nature, open adoptions, and may sometimes involve additional acrimony as may occur in other forms of relative adoptions. (See also CONFIDENTIALITY; TRADITIONAL ADOPTIONS.)


Annette Baran and Reuben Pannor, "A Time for Sweeping Change," fax copy of article sent to Orphan Voyage, June 1990.

Terril L. Blanton and Jeanne Deschner, "Biological Mothers' Grief: The Postadoptive Experience in Open vs. Confidential Adoption," Child Welfare 69 (November-December 1990): 525-535.

A. Dean Byrd, "The Case for Confidential Adoption," Public Welfare (fall 1988): 20-23.

Carmello Cocozzelli, "Predicting the Decision of Biological Mothers to Retain or Relinquish Their Babies for Adoption: Implications for Open Placement," Child Welfare 68 (January-February 1989): 33-44.

Adrienne D. Kraft, M.A., Joseph Palombo, M.A., Dorena L. Mitchell, M.A., Patricia K. Woods, M.A., Anne W. Schmidt, M.A., and Nancy G. Tucker, M.S.W., "Some Theoretical Considerations on Confidential Adoption" (four-part series), Child and Adolescent Social Work, 2, 1; 2, 3; and 4, 1 (1985, 1986).

Jeanne Warren Lindsay, Open Adoption: A Caring Option (Buena Park, Calif.: Morning Glory Press, 1987).

Ruth G. McRoy, Harold D. Grotevant and Kerry L. White, Openness in Adoption: New Practices, New Issues (New York: Praeger, 1988).

Reuben Pannor and Annette Baran, "Open Adoption as Standard Practice," Child Welfare, May-June 1984, 245-250.

Deborah H. Siegel, "Open Adoption of Infants: Adoptive Parents' Perceptions of Advantages and Disadvantages," Social Work 38, no. 1 (January 1993): 15-23.

Kathleen Silber and Phylis Speedlin, Dear Birthmother: Thank You for Our Baby (San Antonio, Tex.: Corona, 1982).

Jerome Smith, Ph.D., and Franklin I. Miroff, You're Our Child: The Adoption Experience (Lanham, Md.: Madison Books, 1987).

Jeffrey Waddoups, "Open Adoption, Human Capital Formation, and Uncertainty," Journal of Family and Economic Issues 15, no. 1 (spring 1994).

Kenneth W. Watson, "The Case for Open Adoption," Public Welfare (fall 1988): 24-28.

Barbara Yngvesson, "Negotiating Motherhood: Identity and Difference in 'Open' Adoptions" Law & Society Review 31, no. 1 (1997): 31-81.

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