Open Adoption and Diverse Families: Complex Relationships in the Digital Age

ISBN : 9780190692032

Abbie E. Goldberg
400 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Oct 2019
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Whereas adoption was once a private affair cloaked in secrecy and sealed records, adoptions in the US today are increasingly open - that is, birth and adoptive families meet and become acquainted before the adoption, and remain in contact once it is complete. Experts agree that open adoption comes with many benefits for both birth families and adoptive families and their children, but what does it actually look like for families experiencing it, and what can we learn from those experiences?
Open Adoption and Diverse Families reveals the strengths, vulnerabilities, daily struggles and triumphs of adoptive families today. Drawing on extensive interviews with lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents, many of whom adopted transracially, psychologist Abbie Goldberg confronts the extraordinary questions that open adoption poses: How do adoptive parents feel about openness when they first learn about it, and why do their feelings change over time? How does contact unfold and evolve as a child grows? What types of boundary challenges arise between adoptive and birth family members, particularly in the age of social media and networking? How do adoptive parents talk about adoption with their children, and how does this vary depending on level and type of contact with birth families? Confronting head-on difficult subjects such as birth parents' mental illness and racial differences between birth and adoptive families, Open Adoption and Diverse Families chronicles the decisions and dynamics that adoptive parents sign up for when they pursue option adoption, and is a must-read for all families pursuing or experiencing this exceptional approach to building a family.


1. Getting to Adoption: The Path before the Path
2. Orienting to Open Adoption, Considering Contact, and Reflecting on Race: Pre-Adoption Perspectives and Preferences
3. Meeting the Reality of Our Situation: Placement Experiences and Circumstances and Post-Placement Openness and Contact
4. Imagining and Enacting Birth Family Contact Over Time: Trajectories of Openness Among Private Domestic Adopters
5. Navigating Openness and Contact in Child Welfare Adoptions
6. Adoption Talk: Communicative Openness Throughout Childhood
7. Weaving a Family Narrative: Genetics Talk
8. Facebook as Facilitator or Foe: Boundaries and Birth Family Relationships on Social Media and Beyond
9. Absence and Ambivalence: How Birth Fathers Fit into Adoption Stories
10. Summing Up: Practical Strategies and Applications for Families
Appendix A
Appendix B

About the author: 

Abbie E. Goldberg, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Clark University. She is the author of several books on adoption, including Gay Dads: Transitions to Adoptive Fatherhood.

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