Birth Parent Experiences in Adoption

Everyone connected to adoption needs to listen to this show. We talk about a new research report on how birth parents experience adoption. The results will surprise you! Our guests are the two main authors: Ryan Hanlon is the Executive Director of The National Council for Adoption, the national adoption organization providing resources and education for all people and organizations in the adoption world and advocating for sound adoption policies; and Laura Bruder is the Executive Director of Brave Love, an organization dedicated to changing the perception of adoption by acknowledging birth moms for their brave decision.

In this episode, we cover:

The Birth Parent Experiences report is based on the responses of 1,160 birth mothers and 239 birth fathers.

  • Were these all domestic infant adoption rather than adoptions from foster care?
  • Birth mothers who placed their child for adoption in 2010 or later were much more likely to report satisfaction with their decision than birth mothers who placed their child before or during the 1970s. Birth mothers’ levels of satisfaction with their adoption decision increased each decade since the 1970s.
  • The vast majority of birth mothers report experiencing stigma associated with their status as a birth parent. In fact, the percentage of birth mothers who experience some level of stigma about their decision to place their child for adoption has risen 20% since 1970.
  • What is the demographic of the birth moms and dads who completed the survey? (age, race, education, number of adoption placements
  • How has birth parent involvement in the adoption process changed?
  • What factors were important to expectant moms and dads when choosing adoptive parents?
  • What were the main concerns that birth moms had after placement? 
  • Looking back, do birth parents believe they made the right decision?
  • What type of services and support do birth parents want and need post-placement? 
  • 78% of birth moms have contact with their child, and about 74% of birth fathers do. We don’t know if these are open adoptions or if the “child” is now an adult. Are they satisfied with this contact?
  • Are they satisfied with their decision to place a child for adoption? What factors influenced their level of satisfaction?
  • The research found that birth parents’ receipt of accurate information was significantly associated with adoption satisfaction for both birth mothers and birth fathers. What do you mean by accurate information?
  • What percentage of birth parents reported that they were actively involved in choosing the adoptive parents, and did that influence their overall satisfaction with their decision?
  • Three variables (receipt of accurate information, non-coerced decision-making, current contact with the child) were found to be the most strongly associated with levels of adoption satisfaction.
  • Stigma of being a birth parent.
  • Has stigma increased since the 1970s?
  • Does stigma differ by race of the birth parent?
  • Interesting that stigma increased from the 1970s to now for healthcare workers.

Don’t miss an episode. Be sure to subscribe.

Leave us a rating or review.

Music Credit: Michael Ashworth