Monday, February 9, 2015

Research: How do adoptive parents feel about openness?

So, in the several weeks that we will be waiting for all of our homestudy paperwork to be processed, I've decided to do something productive: read research articles! I know, it sounds super exciting, right? I'm a bit of a nerd and I enjoy reading research, and I thankfully have access to research journals through my job. Yes, there are books on adoption, but very few incorporate recent empirical research. So, for those who don't think that reading an article a day sounds quite as exciting as I do (or don't have access to the articles), I am going to summarize them as I come across ones that have interesting information. So here we go!



I'll start with an article I read a few days ago from a journal simply called Social Work. This article was written in 2003 (so a bit dated, but not unreasonably so) and titled "Open Adoption of Infants: Adoptive Parents' Feelings Seven Years Later."

Basically, the study asked adoptive parents who were in an open adoption arrangement how they felt about the open adoption.  A couple of the big limitations of this study, though, were that it had a pretty small sample (30 parents answered the questions I will be talking about), and they all lived in the same part of the country (the East Coast, New England area). Here are some of the interesting findings:


  • No one (0%) agreed with the statements "I regret that the adoption is open" or "I think open adoption is a mistake." NO ONE! 
  • Most of the parents (86%) didn't just not regret it, but were comfortable with the contact with the bioparents
  • Only 2 people agreed with the statement "I wish I had more control over decisions about my child's contact with his/her birthparents." 
    • This is interesting because no one (0%) agreed with the statement "My child's birthparents pressure me into more contact than I care for." 
  • Everyone (100%) thought that the child was better off because they had access to the bioparents
    • No one (0%) thought that knowing the bioparents upset the child
  • Only 2 people said that they worried about the bioparents "intruding" on the adoptive family's life
  • No one (0%)agreed with the statement that if they could, they would change the open adoption to a closed one
  • There were a few people (11%) who said that other people's discomfort with the idea of open adoption made things harder
  • Only 1 person agreed with the idea that doing an open adoption made it harder for them to feel like their child's parent
  • Any change in feelings about the open adoption was positive, one person said  “Things have worked as I would have hoped—in fact, they work better than I thought,” and many others expressed similar sentiments.
  • Everyone (100%) agreed that "Knowing my child's birthparents comforts me." 


   This article made me feel so much better about our decision to do a semi-open or open adoption. People don't regret it. It works. It may not fix everything, and I'm sure there are people out there with nightmare stories of open adoptions gone wrong, but it seems like a great option that will be a good fit for our family. 
     
  For something beyond research and numbers, here is an excellent post about open adoption: http://anickelsworthofcommonsense.blogspot.com/2010/06/why-openness.html

Do you have a suggestion for something you would like to see research on? Leave a comment and I will do my best to see if I can find any articles on that topic! 


Siegel, D. H. (2003). Open adoption of infants: Adoptive parents' feelings seven years later. Social Work, 48, 409-419. doi: 10.1093/sw/48.3.409



3 comments:

  1. Hi, I just wanted to say I appreciate your blog. We just started the adoption process and it can be pretty overwhelming and scary. Thanks for this write-up of what the interview and home study are like. Good luck with your adoption!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, I just wanted to say I appreciate your blog. We just started the adoption process and it can be pretty overwhelming and scary. Thanks for this write-up of what the interview and home study are like. Good luck with your adoption!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, good luck with yours, too!

    ReplyDelete