Openness in Adoption and the Level of Child Participation

Gretchen Miller Wrobel, Susan Ayers-Lopez, Harold D. Grotevant, Ruth G. McRoy, Meredith Friedrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


There is great controversy regarding the impact of openness in adoption, especially the impact of such an arrangement on adopted children. Three indicators of the level of child participation in the openness arrangement were examined: (a) level of openness reported by adoptive parents, (b) level of information adopted children reported having about their birthparents, and (c) whether adoptive parents have withheld any pertinent information gained through communication with the birthmother from the adopted child. 171 children (90 males, 81 females; mean age = 7.99) were studied to assess how that participation influenced their conceptual understanding of what adoption means, general self-worth, satisfaction with level of openness, and curiosity about birthparents. Overall it does not appear that providing information about a child's birthparents will confuse the child about the meaning of adoption or lower the child's self-esteem, but neither will it move them to levels of understanding that are beyond their cognitive capabilities to reach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2358-2374
Number of pages17
JournalChild development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1996


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