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Families and Open Adoption

Jerry Rapier
A picture of the the Bateman-Rapier family, with their son's birth parents, hangs in the 3-year-old's Salt Lake City bedroom.

There was a time when adoptions were a source of shame for a birth mother, and weren’t discussed in the adoptive family. But that slowly changed with birth control, a demographic shift in babies available for adoption, and the “adoption rights movement.” Today, 95% of infants in the U.S. are placed in “open adoptions” where the birth mother and the family have some sort of contact. Thursday, we’re talking about how adoption has changed over time, and what it means for children and families.


  • E. Wayne Carp is the emeritus Benson Family Chair in History at Pacific Lutheran University. He's the author of Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption [Amazon] and more recently Jean Patton and the Struggle to Reform American Adoption [Indiebound|Amazon]
  • Amy Seek is the author of God and Jetfire: Confessions of a Birth Mother [Indiebound|Amazon]
  • Kirt Bateman and Jerry Rapier are adoptive parents in Salt Lake City, Utah. We should also mention that Rapier is himself an adoptee.
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