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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Episode 117 (Epilogue): Adoption, Part Two (Private and Domestic)

This week, we brought you part two in our three part series on Adoption with a look at private, domestic adoption. This term generally refers to the adoption of U.S.-born infants through for-profit or non-profit adoption agencies and independent adoptions in which birth parents directly place children with adoptive parents, sometimes with the assistance of facilitators, doctors, clergy, or attorneys. Private, domestic adoptions account for a majority of US adoptions at about 38% (or about 18,000 per year), with foster care adoptions at 37% and international adoption 25%.
Until the mid 1970s, which coincided with the Roe vs. Wade abortion rights Supreme Court decision, agencies generally selected adoptive families for children without consulting birth parents. Current practice is much different. In many agency adoptions and in virtually all independent adoptions, birth parents are now actively involved in selecting the adoptive families for their children.
The process of adopting a newborn in the United States can go more swiftly than some may think. In a 2011 Adoptive Families survey, the majority of respondents were matched with a birth mother in less than three months, and 40% were matched less than one month before their child was born.
It has also become increasingly common for birth and adoptive families to have some form of direct contact after placement. This practice is called "open adoption," but the degree of openness can vary significantly. Birth and adoptive parents may meet before the adoption is finalized and have no further contact, or the families may maintain some level of ongoing contact throughout the child's life, such as exchanging photos or letters or having face-to-face meetings.

Our guests this evening were birth mother Alaire Fetters; former WSLR host Joe Hendricks, adopted in 1961; Tamara Knapp, an adoptive mother in open communication with her son’s birth mother; and adoption attorney Susan Stockham, and a representative from A Bond of Love, a local adoption agency.
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