Open adoption is a general term that refers to contact between birth and adoptive families. Most domestic infant adoptions today encompass some degree of openness. In several states, open adoption relationships are defined and agreed upon in a legally binding contract. In other states, however, the agreement is an informal one between the parties involved, without the legal underpinnings. Ask your agency or adoption resource which laws will apply to you.
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All parents want their children to grow up with a healthy sense of self. Yet for transracially formed adoptive families, the notion that this will naturally develop cannot be taken for granted. For these families, adoption is an obvious component of who they are. They may face questions from perfect strangers about being adopted, whether they invite the discussion or not. What's more, society's persistent race-based stereotypes will likely impact these adopted persons in ways that their parents may not have personally experienced or even anticipated.
In a first of its kind study, Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption, more than 450 adult adoptees were surveyed to better understand the complex and inter-related impacts of being adopted and being raised by parents of a different ethnicity. Respondents reflected back on their childhood, adolescence and adulthood, giving powerful insights as to what helped them gain a positive sense of self and what hindered that development.
This webinar, geared toward adoption professionals, features Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, reviewing key findings from the study. Mr. Pertman is joined by Judy Stigger, an adoption counselor with thirty plus years of experience and the adoptive mom of two transracially placed children. Ms. Stigger offers practical recommendations for adoptive parents on how to promote a healthy sense of self in their "conspicuous family".