Why Consider Open Adoption and How to do it Well

Open adoption is the norm in for domestic infant adoptions in the US and becoming more common in foster care adoption and international adoption. Host Dawn Davenport interviewed Dr. Hal Grotevant and Dr. Ruth McRoy, long time researchers on the impact of openness on all members of the adoption triad, and lead researchers of the Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP). They literally wrote the book on open adoption and how we currently practice adoption.

Hit the Highlights
  • How do you define open adoption?
  • What percentage of adoptions that are occurring in 2014 are open in the US?
  • Is there a specific geographic region in the US where pre-adoptive parents are more receptive to open adoption or one where adoptive parents are less likely to agree to an open relationship?
  • The Minnesota / Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP) stands out in part because of the length of time it has been ongoing. How long have you been following the participants?
  • You have studied all members of the triad: adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptees. Do open adoptions benefit adopted children, adolescents and adults?
  • How do open adoptions affect birth parents? I think most people assume that open adoptions make it easier for birth parents.
  • Of all the members of the adoption triad of adoptee, birth parents, and adoptive parents, the one that most people assumed would benefit the least or perhaps even be harmed would be adoptive parents. What has the Minnesota / Texas Adoption Research Project found?
  • What makes for a healthy, mutually satisfying, open adoption relationship for all parties?
  • What factors or elements are needed for this type of open adoption or to make openness work?
  • As adoptees age into young adulthood and beyond, what do you see happening to the level of openness once the full decision-making is left to them?
  • Do you see a difference in gender of how boys and girls process and respond to open adoptions?
  • What type of pre-adoption education is needed for birth parents and adoptive parents to better facilitate an ongoing relationship that is in the best interest of the child?
  • Adoptive parents are sometimes afraid that sharing their child with birth parents will diminish their relationship with their child. What does the research show?
  • What percentage of adoptees in a closed or confidential adoption decide to search for their birth parents once they reach adulthood or age 18?
  • How to manage an open adoption when the birth mother or birth father are not mentally healthy or have addiction problems?
  • What type of support is needed for open adoption to succeed in the best interest of children and both sets of parents?
  • Under what circumstances is open adoption not in the best interest of the child or birth parents or adoptive parents?
  • Openness in international adoptions. What have we learned from domestic open adoption that we can apply in international open adoption?
  • How are open adoptions in an international adoption similar to and different from open domestic adoptions?
  • How to navigate open adoption where there are large differences in economic circumstances, lifestyle, or culture?
  • How to navigate open adoptions when the child is adopted from foster care and the child has been removed from birth parents due to abuse or neglect?

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Image Credit: Harbor Life

Show re-aired in 2016.