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10 Open Adoption Facts That Might Surprise You

How Open Adoption Has Evolved

Open adoption is now the norm, but this concept is still new to many people. We’re ready to give you more information about open adoption and to help you create an open adoption plan today. To speak to one of our adoption specialists, call 1-800-ADOPTION or visit us online to complete our free information form

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 can be beneficial to everyone involved because it gives you the opportunity to communicate and build a lifelong relationship together. 

Here are the 10 amazing open adoptions facts that just might surprise you. 

1. Adoption Has Changed — for the Better 

Just as society has evolved from generation to generation, so too has adoption. Today, open adoption is much more common than closed adoption. That’s because open adoption is more beneficial 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. It was 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 lack 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 a 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, which was often a traumatic revelation. Now children grow 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. Adoptive parents should remain open with their children 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 wants and desires for their child.

Most importantly, you are fully in charge of choosing the adoptive family to adopt your baby. If you choose American Adoptions to complete your adoption, your 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. 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.

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. Many families 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, 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 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, 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, birth parents who chose an open adoption report that they are generally more satisfied with their adoption decision when compared to birth parents in closed adoptions.

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 open adoption, some birth mothers even create lifelong bonds with their adoptive families and consider them a second family.

By choosing 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 adoptees can share how adoption has changed their lives during World Adoption Day. 

At American Adoptions, we highly encourage and even require certain levels of openness from all of our adoptive families. 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 get free open adoption information

You can also ask Michelle, a birth parent specialist and a birth parent herself. Michelle is ready to answer any questions you have about putting a baby up for adoption and developing a relationship with the adoptive family.

“I am available to answer any questions that arise, particularly from birth moms, as I have been in your shoes and know how you are feeling.” 

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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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

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Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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