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Journal Issue: Adoption Volume 3 Number 1 Spring 1993

Risks and Benefits of Open Adoption
Marianne Berry

Introduction

Adoption practice in the United States has undergone a dramatic evolution in the past 30 years and continues to change radically. On one hand, postponed childbearing among two-career couples, changes in participation of women in the labor force, and a rising incidence of infertility have led to an increase in the number of couples and individuals seeking to adopt babies. On the other hand, birth control and abortion practices and societal acceptance of single motherhood have contributed to a sharp decrease in the number of healthy infants available for adoption. At the same time, the push to find permanent homes for foster children has resulted in an increased number of adoptable children with histories of maltreatment. (See the articles by Sokoloff and Stolley in this journal issue.) These changes in the adoption population have been accompanied by concomitant shifts in adoption practice. One of the most controversial shifts is the introduction of open adoption as standard practice among many adoption agencies and attorneys.