“Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does.
So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's
when you find out who you are." - Joss Whedon

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Minnesota / Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP) -- A study regarding the effects of openness in adoption

Do you wonder if openness is adoption is a good idea?  The UMass Amherst Department of Psychology conducted the Minnesota / Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP) which is a longitudinal research study that focuses on the consequences of variations in openness in adoption arrangements for all members of the adoptive kinship network: birthmothers, adoptive parents, and adopted children, and for the relationships within these family systems. The project was begun in the mid-1980's and contains some very interesting findings.  

To view the study in it's entirety CLICK HERE.

Here is a brief sample of a few of their findings:
  • Birthmothers in fully disclosed adoptions had lower adoption-related grief and loss than those in confidential adoption.
  • When birthmothers' level of openness was controlled, as satisfaction with openness increased, birthmothers' current global level of grief decreased. 
  • Looking longitudinally, we found that higher degrees of perceived compatibility maintained from middle childhood to adolescence were associated with higher degrees of psychosocial engagement (defined as adolescents' active use of inner resources to interact positively with others in family, peer, and community contexts) and attachment to parents and lower problem behavior.
  • Adolescents demonstrating integrated adoptive identity had coherent, integrated narratives in which adoptive identity was highly salient and viewed positively. For example, one teen said, "When I was little I worried I was placed because she didn't want me. Now I know I was placed because she cared enough." 
  • When compared to parents in confidential adoptions, those in fully disclosed adoptions generally reported higher levels of acknowledgment of the adoption, more empathy toward the birthparents and child, stronger sense of permanence in the relationship with their child as projected into the future, and less fear that the birthmother might try to reclaim her child.

The Minnesota / Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP) was begun by Harold Grotevant, Ph.D., the Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Ruth G. McRoy, Ph.D., Research Professor and the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor Emerita at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work.  Again the study can be viewed at the following link: http://www.psych.umass.edu/adoption/

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