Research on Open Adoption
Research on open adoption is overwhelmingly positive. Studies that are carried out across the nation repeatedly find that adoptive families, children and biological parents are healthier and happier in open adoptions than in closed ones.
Catholic open adoption creates an environment for children, their parents and their biological families to have a relationship. The depth and scope of that relationship varies from family to family. Some only communicate via social media and emails. Some spend extended amounts of time together. In all situations, the children are aware of their birth mothers.
Three of the most thorough studies on open adoption were carried out by the Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project and the California Long-Range Adoption Study. These studies, which took place over the period of two decades, had results that were almost identical in nature. The groups found that open adoptions almost universally have a positive effect on children versus those that are closed. The respondents to the studies who did not report a positive affect were simply neutral. There were no negative reactions in any capacity to open adoption.
One interesting finding that was consistent among all of these studies was that adoptive parents and children alike desired more, not less, contact with their biological parents. This became even more apparent as the children grew older. In all of these cases, the children displayed no negative feelings toward the birth parents, even those who did not have as much contact as the children would like.
The opposite is true of those children in closed adoptions. These children may have negative feelings toward their birth parents. This is likely from the fact that they have not had the opportunity to learn why adoption was the best choice for the birth mom. In many cases of closed adoption, children attempted to find the birth moms. This often unsuccessful venture can be both upsetting and alienating. Children feel rejected when they do not have any access to a birth parent.
Luckily, in all cases, the type of adoption did not seem to affect the relationship between adoptive parents and their children. Neither the children nor their parents felt any less connected to each other whether they had access to birth family or not. The key distinction between closed and open adoptions is the psychological health of the child.
Little research has been done on the effect of closed adoption on birth parents. However, those birth parents who have joined studies regarding open adoption also report high self-esteem and satisfaction with their choices. These studies, and many others like them, show that open adoption offers advantages that closed adoptions do not.