Many people have heard both the terms “open adoption” and “closed adoption.” An open adoption is defined as: a form of adoption in which the biological and adoptive families have access to varying degrees of each other’s personal information and have an option of contact (Wikipedia), while closed adoption is define as: Closed adoption (also called “confidential” adoption and sometimes “secret” adoption) is a process by which an infant is adopted by another family, and the record of the biological parent(s) is kept sealed. Often, the biological father is not recorded—even on the original birth certificate (Wikipedia).
Twenty years ago, only 1% of all adoptions were open. Today, reports have numbers as high as 60-70% of all domestic adoptions being open. With statics this high, many agencies, whether advocates for open adoption or not, are now offering open adoption as an option in the services they offer. Harold Grotevant, whose Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project has been following 720 active open adoptions for more than 15 years, reports, “for people who want to do an active adoption, we have found no evidence that it is harmful.”Grotevant does conceded that an open adoption may “make your family more complicated,” and that “it is not necessarily the best route for everybody.” The bottom line of this research proving that previous fears regarding open adoption to be unfounded.
Who stands to benefit from this increase in open options? Nearly all involved. With some studies reporting that upwards of 90% of adoptees and biological parents wish to meet later in life, open adoptions certain prove beneficial. Further, adoptive parents stand to benefit, too. Perhaps adoptive parents anxieties during the “waiting period” when birth mothers have the right to “change their mind” may be eased just a bit knowing that the adoption is open and the birth mother won’t forever be shut out of her biological child’s life; hence, less proving her less likely to change her mind and rescind the adoption.
All in all the upward trend in open domestic adoptions seems to have few, if any negatives.