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Study Shows Adoption Openness Leads to Greater Satisfaction Among Birthmothers

4/21/2003:   According to a recent national study, open adoptions work well for most birthmothers who participate in them. The longitudinal study, part of the Minnesota Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP), suggests that although the level of openness must be decided on an individual basis, adoption may be best viewed as an ongoing process rather than a one-time event. The research supports CWLA's adoption standards, which endorse openness as a favorable practice in most circumstances.

The findings indicated that birthmothers who are in direct, ongoing contact with the adoptive family report greater satisfaction with the adoption, lower levels of grief about the placement, and more satisfaction with their role in the adopted child's life. Many birthmothers in confidential adoptions actively sought out information or actively provided updated information later in their children's adoptions, in some cases as long as 21 years after the placement.

The research involved surveys and interviews of adoptive families and birthmothers from 35 adoption agencies across the United States involved in adoptions with a range of confidentiality or openness. A total of 720 participants, including birthmothers, adoptive parents, and children, were interviewed from 1987 to 2000.

For more information regarding the study, visit the MTARP website.

CWLA has published a pair of resources on open adoption: "The Spirit of Open Adoption" and "Lifegivers: Framing the Birthparent Experience in Open Adoption", both by James L. Gritter.

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