Open Adoption Impact on Adopted Children, Parents & Birth Parents



The University of Minnesota has been on the forefront of adoption research for years, which is one of the reasons I make an Effect of open adoption on adopted children, adoptive parents, and birth mothers.annual contribution to them.  One of the best research projects is The Minnesota / Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP).

MTARP is a longitudinal adoption research study that focuses on how open adoption affects adopted childrenadoptive parents, and birth mothers. It has followed 720 individuals for over 20 years, starting with Wave 1 when the children in the study were between the ages of 4 – 12 and  “Wave 2” when the children were adolescents, ages 12 – 20. This study includes the full range of adoptive openness, including cases in which contact has stopped, in which contact continues, and others in which it has increased or decreased over time.

How Open Adoption Affects Adopted Children

  • For adopted children between the ages of 4-12 (Wave 1), self-esteem and socio-emotional adjustment did not differ by level of openness in the children’s adoptions.  In general, level of openness did not affect adjustment outcomes.
  • Higher degrees of collaboration (mutual respect, empathy, and valuing of the relationship) between adoptive and birth parents were associated with better adjustment during middle childhood for adopted children.
  • Adopted adolescents was no different in levels of adjustment from the national norms. Level of openness by itself was not a major predictor of adjustment outcomes at Wave 2. However, relationship qualities such as collaboration in relationships and perceived compatibility were predictive of adjustment across openness levels.
  • Differences in adoptive identity or degree of preoccupation with adoption were not related to the level of openness in the adolescent’s adoption.


How Open Adoption Affects Adoptive Parents

  • At Wave 1, when compared to parents in closed adoptions, those adoptive parents in fully open adoptions reported higher levels of acknowledgment of the adoption, more empathy toward the birthparents and child, stronger sense of permanence in the relationship with their child as projected into the future, and less fear that the birthmother might try to reclaim her child.  I was unable to find data on adoptive parents during Wave 2.


How Open Adoption Affects Birth Mothers

  • At both Wave 1 and Wave 2, birthmothers in fully open adoptions had lower adoption-related grief and loss than those in closed adoption.
  • There were no significant differences by openness level associated with birthmother regret about the decision to place.
  • Birthmother’s mental health was not related to level of openness or frequency of contact.
  • By Wave 2, birthmothers in fully open adoptions were significantly more satisfied with their role in relationship to the adopted youth than those in closedl and mediated stopped arrangements.
  • Birthmothers in stopped mediated adoptions showed the highest degree of unresolved adoption-related grief and loss.

06/02/2014 | by Research | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Research, Other Adoption Resources | 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑

Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.