Open Adoption Facts: Then and Now

How Open Adoption Has Evolved

Just as American society has evolved from generation to generation, so too has adoption. Today, the facts are that open adoptions are much more common and more beneficial to all parties involved than closed adoptions.

In the early 1930s, it was believed that adoption should be a discreet process and that secrecy should be maintained to protect not just the adoptive family, but also the birth parents. American society believed that a relationship between the child, the adoptive family and the birth parents would cause undue stress and emotion for everyone involved. These assumptions, presumed to be adoption facts, were furthered by the societal view that being an unwed mother was shameful. As a result many women quietly snuck away to maternity homes and placed their babies for adoption.

However, by the early 1980s, many came to realize that this secrecy, guilt and shame only led to resentment and depression. Not only did adopted children not have a sense of where they came from, but their adoptive parents lacked the resources to help them and couldn’t even access their adoption records. And women who had placed their babies for adoption were forced to live their lives hiding their adoption story and never knowing what happened to them. Everyone involved in adoption knew it was time for change.

As a result, adoption is very different today, which you will see in the following facts about open adoption:

Open Adoption Fact #1: Adopted Children Know Their Adoption Stories

Today, adoption professionals encourage and teach their adoptive families how to properly raise an adopted child by normalizing his or her adoption story. In past adoptions this news was disclosed much later in life, but now the child grows up knowing it to not only be true, but something to be proud of.

Open Adoption Fact #2: You Choose the Adoptive Family

Instead of handing over their babies to an adoption agency and an unknown adoptive family, women today formulate their own adoption plans, tailored to their own wants and desires for their child. The most important of these choices is that women are fully in charge of choosing the adoptive family to adopt their baby. If you choose American Adoptions to complete your adoption, your Adoption Specialist will work with you closely to help you find the right family.

Open Adoption Fact #3: You May Meet the Adoptive Family Before the Adoption

Most adoptive families today are interested in open adoption levels of contact, meaning they are excited to get to know you through a phone call or an in-person meeting and interact with you at the hospital. And many families are interested in even more contact not just before but also after the birth of your child.

Open Adoption Fact #4: You May Remain Involved in Your Child’s Life

In the past, when a woman gave her child up for adoption, it was rare that she would ever hear from him or her again. That has all drastically changed. Not only can you receive pictures and letters of your child throughout his or her childhood, but you can also have a personal relationship with your child if you so choose. There are many families who want you to remain a part of your child’s life as much as you do – it’s just a matter of choosing a family who is ready to share this relationship with you.


Every agency is different, but at American Adoptions, we highly encourage and even require certain levels of openness from all of our adoptive families. However, some women are more comfortable with a closed adoption, and that is entirely possible as well with American Adoptions. We will work with you to understand that facts about open adoption and what will work best for you.

Contact us today at 1-800-ADOPTION or contact us today for free adoption information.  

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