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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.
Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
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