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The Birthparent Perspective

A new study, the Early Growth and Development Study, is shedding light on open adoption attitudes and outcomes. Here are the early findings, as well as AF's latest poll results on families' open adoption experiences.



Your Open Adoption
We polled families across the nation to find out how open, on average, AF readers' domestic adoptions are. Here's what you said.
[Source: 2008 AF Domestic Adoption Survey]

We were matched with the birthmother…
During her first six months of pregnancy

During her third trimester

At the hospital, or after the baby was born


16%

44%

33%
We’ve seen the birthmother in person…
Before she gave birth

At the hospital

Since the adoptive placement
50%

58%

47%

We’ve seen the birthfather in person…
Before the birthmother gave birth

At the hospital

Since the adoptive placement
15%

16%

15%

We would characterize our adoption as…
Very open (including
face-to-face contact)

Open (letters, e-mails, calls)

Mediated contact

Closed (no contact)
37%


28%

23%

12%


At least once a year, contact with the birthmom includes…
Sending photos

Sending letters

Talking on the phone

E-mailing

Face-to-face contact
82%

68%

40%

37%

35%


Since our child was born, our adoption has…
Become more open

Stayed about the same

Become more closed

Closed. We lost touch with
the birth family entirely
23%

51%

18%

8%

We would like our adoption to…
Remain the same

Be more open

Be less open
56%

39%

5%


Birth Families Demystified
[Source: Early Growth and Development Study, grant RO1 HD042608, NICHD and NIDA, NIH, U.S. PHS.] For more information, read AF's in-depth special report, as featured in the September/October issue.


At what point in the pregnancy did you begin
to work with an agency?
The first trimester

The second trimester

The third trimester

After delivery
17%

37%

35%

11%


When deciding on the adoption option,
how important was it that…
You were able to screen and
select the adoptive parents?

You were able to talk with, e-mail, or meet
potential adoptive parents before the birth?

You had access to post-adoption services,
like counseling, support groups, and
updates from adoptive parents?

You received counseling?

You were able to talk with other people
who had made an adoption plan?

The agency or adoptive family paid
for medical care?
95%


84%


60%



47%

26%


22%



When choosing a particular
family to adopt the child, how
important was it that:


There were educational opportunities
for the child

They had a close marital relationship

They were financially secure

They had the type of family you
would have liked when you were growing up

One of the adoptive parents would
stay at home with the child

They had a nice house

There were children in the neighborhood

The adoptive family was unable
to have biological children

They had the type of family you grew up in

They liked to do activities that you
would have liked to do

They had the same religious background as you

They liked to do the same activities
that you like to do

They had physical characteristics that
were similar to your own

They had a playground or swing set
Pretty important 
to very important

94%

93%


91%

72%


51%


41%

36%

34%


33%

32%


27%


19%


17%


14%

The question above represents responses from birthmothers only. As reported in the July/August 2008 issue of Adoptive Families magazine.

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