The Birth Parent Perspective: Stats and Chart

How do birth parents feel about adoption — and how might your adoption change throughout the years? We've gathered some data to help answer those big questions.

How do birth parents feel about adoption? Represented by a pregnant woman reading a book

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 birth mother…
During her first six months of pregnancy: 16%

During her third trimester: 44%

At the hospital, or after the baby was born: 33%

We’ve seen the birth mother in person…
Before she gave birth: 50%

At the hospital: 58%

Since the adoptive placement: 47%

We’ve seen the birth father in person…
Before the birth mother gave birth: 15%

At the hospital: 16%

Since the adoptive placement: 15%

We would characterize our adoption as…
Very open (including face-to-face contact): 37%

Open (letters, e-mails, calls): 28%

Mediated contact: 23%

Closed (no contact): 12%

At least once a year, contact with the birth mom includes…
Sending photos: 82%

Sending letters: 68%

Talking on the phone: 40%

E-mailing: 37%

Face-to-face contact: 35%

Since our child was born, our adoption has…
Become more open: 23%

Stayed about the same: 51%

Become more closed: 18%

Closed. We lost touch with the birth family entirely: 8%

We would like our adoption to:
Remain the same: 56%

Be more open: 39%

Be less open: 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.

At what point in the pregnancy did you begin to work with an agency?
The first trimester: 17%

The second trimester: 37%

The third trimester: 35%

After delivery: 11%

For the following questions, percentages reflect how many birth parents selected “extremely important” or “very important” for each category

When deciding on the adoption option, how important was it that…
You were able to screen and select the adoptive parents? 95%

You were able to talk with, e-mail, or meet potential adoptive parents before the birth? 84%

You had access to post-adoption services, like counseling, support groups, and updates from adoptive parents? 60%

You received counseling? 47%

You were able to talk with other people who had made an adoption plan? 26%

The agency or adoptive family paid for medical care? 22%

When choosing a particular family to adopt the child, how important was it that…
There were educational opportunities for the child? 94%

They had a close marital relationship? 93%

They were financially secure? 91%

They had the type of family you would have liked when you were growing up? 72%

One of the adoptive parents would stay at home with the child? 51%

They had a nice house? 41%

There were children in the neighborhood? 36%

The adoptive family was unable to have biological children? 34%

They had the type of family you grew up in? 33%

They liked to do activities that you would have liked to do? 32%

They had the same religious background as you? 27%

They liked to do the same activities that you like to do? 19%

They had physical characteristics that were similar to your own? 17%

They had a playground or swing set? 14%

The question above represents responses from birth mothers only.


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