What is the History of Open Adoption in the United
The origin of statutory requirements in the early 20th century, that adoption be
confidential and that birth certificates and adoption records be sealed, began with
such as the Minnesota Act of 1917. By the
almost every state had
amended its adoption statues to create complete anonymity for the birth parents.
Beginning in 1974, research demonstrates that some of the psychological problems
observed in adolescent and adult adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents appeared to
to the secrecy, anonymity, and sealed records of adoption. Open
in the 1970s,1980s, and 1990s as research and
practice began to promote the principles of open adoption.
(Baran and Pannor, 1993)
What Research has been Conducted on Triad Members
in Open Adoptions?
Research to date indicates that birthmothers commonly view open adoption
In Belba's 1987 study, measuring minimum, moderate, and maximum contact
with birthmothers of 12 adoptive couples, adoptive parents reported that they
having contact with birthmothers to answer questions as they arose.
Not all outcomes, however, have been positive. In a 1990 mailed survey of 59
relinquishing birthmothers, 18 in open adoption and 41 in confidential adoptions,
Blanton and Deschner found that birthmothers in open adoptions were
significantly more troubled
than those in closed adoptions in the areas of social
isolation, sleep complaints, physical symptoms, despair and dependency.
("Openness" was defined as meeting at placement.)