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Pursuing Accurate Information on Contemporary Adoption

12/13/2006:   A new report from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute makes an effort to understand contemporary infant adoption--particularly the rights and needs of birthparents and how they are addressed under U.S. law and practice.

"Adoption's history of secrecy has left us with too little accurate information with which to shape the most ethical and humane laws, policies, and practices," says Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Adoption Institute. "With this project, we have set out to change that reality and, we hope, to instigate improvements in the lives of millions of people."

Following are some of the findings of the 68-page report, Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process:
  • There are more adoptions in America today than is commonly understood. The Institute estimates more than 135,000 annually; 13,000-14,000 of these involve voluntarily placed infants.

  • Women placing infants today differ vastly from the past. Only about one-fourth are teens; most are high school graduates in their 20s, and many have other children.

  • Contrary to stereotypes, birthmothers rarely want anonymity, and most meet their children's adoptive parents.

  • Most states do not legally require prospective parents to receive counseling or information about their rights with which to make informed choices on whether to place their children.

  • Birthmothers in "closed" adoptions, or who felt pressured to relinquish, struggle most with chronic grief.

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