Studies and Legal Changes on Open Adoptions
Adoption laws are continually being written and rewritten. The movement toward open adoption continues to build and courts and agencies are responding to that trend.
The effects of open adoption on children are being studied, and some interesting data are coming out. Studies at the University of Minnesota, the University of California, Stanford, and others demonstrate that most children in both open and closed adoptions are well adjusted and do well in school, with no distinction between the two groups.
Open adoptions are still too new to determine long-term impact on adoptees that grow up and start families of their own.
Many states are creating open-record laws that make it possible for an adult adoptee to access her birth information. This is not quite the same thing as an open adoption, where the birth parent is known to the child throughout her life.
The United Nations and UNICEF came up with a treaty in 1991 that was ratified by eighty-one countries, most recently by the United States in 2007. The Treaty of the International Rights of the Child states that all children have a right to know where they come from, to meet their family, and to know their heritage, which supports the idea of open adoptions.
This treaty and the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (usually referred to as the Hague Adoption Convention) are part of the impetus for open adoptions and the moving away from closed adoptions. However, open adoptions still aren't the norm, and the debate will continue. Whether you have an open or closed adoption remains, for now, a matter of personal choice.