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5 Adoption Research Studies That Might Surprise You

Explaining the Best Adoption Studies for Adoptees like You

As an adoptee, you may be curious to learn more about adoption as a whole. It may help you gain a better understanding of your own story and adoption history.

For instance, you might be looking for adoption studies that reveal something new that you may not have known. So, where do you begin your search? That’s where we come in to help.

There are plenty of studies on adoption out there that have led to new, groundbreaking discoveries. But, they’re scattered throughout the internet. To make things easier, we’ve compiled this detailed list of five of the best adoption research studies we could find.

1. Benefits of Early Adoption Closure

You know firsthand that adoption is far from a simple journey, and there are a slew of different adoption outcomes. Research has shown, though, that adoptive parents should aim to tell their children that they were adopted before the child has turned three.

This study comes from Montclair State University, and it was first published in the Journal of Family Issues. In short, this research showed that adults who discovered their adoption after the age of three experienced more difficult emotions and were less satisfied with their lives from a general standpoint. For the most part, the later in life that the adoptee discovered their adoption, the higher the emotional distress often was.

This particular study has contradicted older adoption research studies that recommended adoptive parents to talk to their children about their adoption between the ages of four and 13. American Adoptions educates families on the importance of introducing their child’s adoption story as early as possible, even as an infant through bedtime stories and other children’s books about adoption.

If you would like to read more about this Montclair State University study, then you can check it out here.

2. Breaking the Stigma Against Adoption

Unfortunately, there is a stigma surrounding adoption, and it can lead many birth and adoptive parents to reconsider their options. There is nothing wrong with choosing the best path for you and your child, and some adoption research studies show how we can cultivate a healthier culture by discussing adoption.

For instance, this article from the Institute for Family Studies (IFS) makes several suggestions on how we can help break the stigma toward adoption. One way we can do this is by using positive adoption language. For example, instead of saying “give a baby up for adoption,” people can say “place a baby for adoption” or “create an adoption plan” instead. Words are important because they can shape how we think about certain topics, such as adoption.

If you are interested in reading the full IFS article, then you can do so here.

3. Open Adoption Is More Beneficial for Adoptees than Closed Adoption

You may have heard of terms such as “open adoption” and “closed adoption.”

Open adoption is when you grow up knowing who your birth family is and why you were placed for adoption in the first place. Closed adoption, on the other hand, is when you don’t know who your birth parents are. You also know next to nothing about your adoption story.

Adoption has changed quite a bit within the past few decades. While close adoption used to be the norm, that’s no longer the case. After extensive research about the benefits of open adoption, it has now become the standard for adoptions in the modern age.

The vast majority of adoptions today are open, which in turn means that many more adoptees are satisfied with their adoption experiences.

There are plenty of adoption research studies about open and closed adoption, and this study shows that open adoption is often more beneficial for adoptees than its closed counterpart. To be more specific, adolescents who have regular contact with their birth family are more satisfied with their adoptions than those without contact.

This is because more openness in adoption allows adoptees to have a better understanding of their story and prevents identity issues surrounding their adoption. For more information on this case study, be sure to check it out here.

4. Discussing Adoption with Birth Parents Can Be Beneficial

Speaking of open adoption plans, there are also quite a few adoption case studies about a term known as “communicative openness.”

Similar to how more openness in adoption can be beneficial for adoptees, there are also benefits associated with “communicative openness” for adoptees. In simpler terms, this means that adoptees are free to discuss their adoption and their feelings about it with their birth parents.

So, what are the benefits, exactly?

  • Adoptees who discuss their adoption openly with their birth parents often develop a higher sense of self-esteem.
  • They also tend to have fewer behavioral issues and trust their birth parents more.
  • On top of this, they have fewer feelings of alienation and higher family functioning from a general standpoint.

If you would like to see the full study for yourself, then you can view it here.

5. Most Adoptees Know Why They Were Placed for Adoption

Because of the benefits of “communicative openness” for many adoptees, there are some adoption research studies that observe how many adoptees know about their adoption.

For instance, a study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 97% of adoptees know their adoption stories.

The study also discovered that 87% of adoptive families with children five or older felt that their child’s feelings toward adoption were either “positive” or “mostly positive.” If you want to read the comprehensive study for yourself, then you can do that here.


As an adoptee, it can be interesting to read about various adoption research studies. Although these five studies lead to important discoveries, you can always check out more studies on your own by browsing them here.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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