6 Open Adoption Facts That Will Surprise You

Research is opening up greater understanding about open adoption.

Shelley Skuster June 25, 2015

While some people worry about maintaining an open adoption, research shows open adoption is becoming more of the norm. Open adoption done right benefits all members in the adoption triad: Adoptees, Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents. Before the 1970s, open adoption didn’t exist.  In the 1980s, biological parents started to fight for contact with their children. Many of the myths that remain about open adoption are simply because of the relative newness of the term. We published this article to shatter the myths about open adoption.

Here are six facts that may surprise you about open adoption.

Open Adoption Strengthens the Parent-Child Relationship
1. Open Adoption Strengthens the Parent-Child Relationship

Research shows open adoption may strengthen family relationships.

In this study, parents say maintaining an open adoption enhanced the parent-child relationship while also helping the child understand different roles of their birth and adoptive families.

Source: Siegel, D. H. (2013). “Open adoption: Adoptive Parents’ reactions two decades later”

More People Are Open to Open Adoption
2. More People Are Open to Open Adoption

95% of U.S. infant adoptions have some level of openness.

55% of adoptions are open or fully disclosed.

40% of adoptions are semi-open, meaning they have mediated contact usually through an agency.

5% of adoptions are closed or confidential.

Source: Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP)

Adoptees Want to Know Birth Family
3. Adoptees Want to Know Birth Family

Findings in this study show adult adoptees ages 18-23 preferred knowing who their birth parents were over not knowing.

While some reported challenges in an open adoption, none reported openness in adoption as a major issue in their lives.

Source: Siegel, D. H. (2012). “Growing up in open adoption: Young adults’ perspectives”

Openness is Good for Adoptees
4. Openness is Good for Adoptees

According to this research, families and adolescent adoptees in an open adoption did not feel openness was bothersome or troubling.

In fact, adoptive parents of teens indicated an open relationship with their child’s biological family member(s) was beneficial for their child’s identity.

Source: Siegel, Deborah H. (2008). "Open Adoption and Adolescence"

Openness is Good for Birth Mothers
5. Openness is Good for Birth Mothers

Research shows birth mothers in an open adoption have lower adoption-related grief than those in a closed or confidential adoption.

The same research indicated openness did not cause birth mothers to regret their decision to make an adoption plan.

Source: Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP)

Open Adoption is Good for Adoptive Parents
6. Open Adoption is Good for Adoptive Parents

Adoptive parents in an open adoption with varying levels of communication indicated being less fearful that birth parents would reclaim their child.

Studies show adoptive parents in an open relationship with their child’s birth family are more empathetic toward birth parents and children who are adopted.

Source: Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP)

Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP)

author image

Shelley Skuster

Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She's a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She's the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes, and she can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.


Want to contact an adoption professional?

Love this? Want more?

Claim Your FREE Adoption Summit Ticket!


The #1 adoption website is hosting the largest, FREE virtual adoption summit. Come listen to 50+ adoption experts share their knowledge and insights.

Members of the adoption community are invited to watch the virtual summit for FREE on September 23-27, 2019, or for a small fee, you can purchase an All-Access Pass to get access to the summit videos for 12 months along with a variety of other benefits.

Get Your Free Ticket


Host: ws02.elevati.net