Many faces of openness in adoption: Perspectives of adopted adolescents and their parents

Harold D. Grotevant, Gretchen Miller Wrobel, Lynn Von Korff, Brooke Skinner, Jane Newell, Sarah Friese, Ruth McRoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Parents and adolescents (mean age, 15.7 years) from 177 adoptive families participating in the second wave of the Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project were interviewed about their post-adoption contact arrangements. The sample included families with no contact, stopped contact, contact without meetings, and contact with face-to-face meetings between the adolescent and birth mother. Openness arrangements were dynamic, and different openness arrangements were associated with different experiences and feelings. Adoptive families with contact reported having higher levels of satisfaction about their openness arrangements, experiencing more positive feelings about the birth mother, and possessing more factual and personal knowledge about the birth mother than did families without contact. Adolescents and adoptive mothers in the contact with meetings group reported the greatest satisfaction with their openness arrangements; those with no contact or stopped contact reported the least satisfaction with their arrangements. Participants having no contact were more likely to want the intensity of contact to increase in the future rather than stay the same. Many participants already having contact wanted it to increase in the future. Fewer than 1 percent of all participants wanted to see the intensity of contact decrease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-101
Number of pages23
JournalAdoption Quarterly
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Address correspondence to: Harold D. Grotevant, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 619 Tobin Hall, 135 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01002, USA (E-mail: Support for the Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project is acknowledged, with gratitude, from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; National Science Foundation; William T. Grant Foundation; Office of Population Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. We especially thank the adoptive parents, adopted children, and birth mothers for generously sharing their perspectives with us over a number of years.


  • Adopted adolescents
  • Adoption
  • Adoptive kinship network
  • Birth parent contact
  • Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project
  • Openness in adoption
  • Satisfaction


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