Critically Evaluate The Move To Open Adoption

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Critically discuss some of the arguments to support the move to a more open adoption practice, for the child.

This essay will briefly identify the move to open adoption and it will clarify the term of "˜open adoption'. It will discuss some of the issues surrounding this, namely, identity, self-concept, and work around attachment theory and arguments for and against to support this practice.

The first adoption legislation in England and Wales was the "˜Adoption of Children Act' 1926. A veil of secrecy was drawn over the adopted child's origin, based on the effect of adoption as severing all links between the adopted child and their birth family. However in the last 20 years there has been a move a way from this "˜closed' model of adoption. Hutton (2000) writes, "˜Although adoption continues to uphold the irreversible transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from birth parent to the adoptive parent, the importance of family history and origins is better understood and has received recognition in the development of services provided by adoption agencies.'

(Hutton, 2000, LAC "˜Adoption "" achieving the right balance', DOH) Current adoption practice addresses the issue of greater openness by giving consideration to adopted people maintaining links with birth families through the exchange of information and/or by direct contact.

Ryburn (1998) has identified two forms of contact, an indirect contact (letters, current information, photographs) and direct contact (periodic face-to face meetings between adopters, adopted children and members of their biological families). The degree of contact would always be in the best interest of the child and can involve any biological family members.

One of the main arguments to support the move to open adoption is around the issue of identity and self-concept. Mullender (1991) suggests that open adoption will contribute to increased feelings...