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10 Open Adoption Facts That Might Surprise You

How Open Adoption Has Evolved from Then to Now

Open adoptions have changed the lives of hundreds of adoptive families and birth parents for the better. You’ve likely already heard from your adoption specialist that open adoptions are one of the best types of adoption, but you may be wondering, “What else makes open adoption so special, and why should I consider it?”

Open adoption has come a long way in the last few decades, but this concept is still new to many people. Here are the 10 amazing open adoptions facts that just might surprise you.

1. Open Adoption Has Changed — for the Better

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

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 confusion for everyone involved. These assumptions, presumed to be facts, were furthered by the societal view that being an unwed mother was shameful. As a result, many women were sent away to maternity homes and their babies were placed 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 stories and never knowing what happened to the children they placed. 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.

2. 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 often disclosed much later in life, but now the child grows up not only knowing about their adoption story, but knowing that adoption is something to be proud of.

Open adoption research and countless personal anecdotes have shown that sharing a child’s open adoption story with them will have a profound effect on their well-being. It’s important that adoptive parents remain open with their child about their history and answer any questions that they can about their background. Adoptive families understand this, and open adoption facts and statistics show that nearly all children adopted today are aware of their adoptions from day one.

3. You Choose the Adoptive Family

One of the biggest questions that prospective birth mothers have when it comes to information on open adoption is about 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.

4. You Can Get to Know the Adoptive Family Before the Adoption

Most adoptive families today are interested in  having an open adoption relationship with you, meaning they are excited to get to know you during your pregnancy through phone calls 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 statistics have shown that more contact with the adoptive family is better for everyone involved.

5. You Can Remain Involved in Your Child’s Life

In the past, when a woman placed her child 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.

You can share as much contact with your child as you’d like in your open adoption. You might think about sharing:

  • Pictures of your family, life and hometown or letters letting your child know how you’re doing.

  • Visits with one another for special occasions.

  • Video calls with the adoptive family and your child

  • Gifts with one another for holidays and birthdays

  • And more

6. Most Adoptions Today Involve Some Level of Openness

While closed adoptions still exist today, they’re very rare (according to open adoption statistics, only 5 percent of private adoptions today are closed). Instead, most adoptive families and birth parents prefer to have some level of openness with one another. Adoptive families and birth parents are just a phone call away from one another, and many of them take the opportunity to visit each other’s families in person. Whether you choose a semi‐open or fully open adoption, this means there are more opportunities than ever before to get to know your child and the adoptive family.

7. Adoptees Benefit from Open Adoption

Open adoption research has shown that adoptees who maintain contact with their biological parents are more satisfied with their adoptions overall. With an open adoption, they can ask their birth parents questions that they may have otherwise pondered their whole life with a closed adoption. This way, they won’t have to carry any resentment about their adoption, and they’ll always have a connection to their biological family.

With their adoptive parents and their biological parents by their side, adopted children have more supportive adults guiding them through their life.

8. Birth Parents Benefit from Open Adoption

Maintaining a close relationship with the adoptive family and your child is important for your emotional well‐being, as well. Many women that have gone through the adoption process experience feelings of grief and loss after parting ways from their child. But many birth mothers find that choosing to have an open adoption can provide the kind of closure and reassurance that they need post-placement.

Through their open adoption experience, many birth parents find peace of mind once they see how their child is developing. They also have the opportunity to develop a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with their child’s adoptive family. And, as time goes on, many birth parents report that they are more satisfied with the open adoption process.

9. Adoptive Families Benefit from Open Adoption

The adoptive family that you pick will be able to develop a healthy relationship with you throughout your open adoption. Through an open adoption, some birth mothers even create life-long bonds with their adoptive families and consider them a second family. By choosing an open adoption, adoptive families will have the chance to understand the selfless sacrifice that you made for your baby’s future.

10. You are Involved in the Open Adoption Community

In early adoptions, finding like‐minded women who have been in your shoes was a struggle. But today, prospective birth mothers know that they’re never alone, and they can easily find other women that have been in their situation.

Through our thriving adoption community, birth mothers can share their open adoption stories and experiences. There are several birth mother groups online, but your adoption specialist can also put you in touch with other women who understand what you have been through.

Adoptive families also take the time to share their open adoption stories online as well. And every year, birth parents, adoptive families, and adoptee’s can share how adoption has changed their lives during world adoption day.


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 ensure you understand the facts about open adoption, and then help you decide what will work best for you.

Contact us today at 1-800-ADOPTION or complete our online form to request free open adoption information

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

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