Adoption anxiety among prospective adoptive parents
Adoption has existed for thousands of years. Originally, the process was closed, i.e., the natural and the adopting parents did not have direct contact with one another. They remained anonymous. Recently, the process has opened up to include an open adoption, i.e., the natural and adopting parents meet each other before the adoption process is completed and they maintain contact with each other thereafter. This has created some anxiety among the prospective adoptive parents regarding the possibility that their contact with the birth mother may somehow create a problem or spoil a successful adoption from taking place. Anxiety surrounding this process may manifest itself in three ways: (1) physical and (2) psychological (to include; general signs, attitudes and thoughts) and (3) behavioral outcomes; This study examines the relationship between the gender of the adoptive parents and the degree of anxiety which they may experience. The hypothesis of this study states that first time prospective adoptive mothers, working within an open adoption tend to have more anxiety toward the birth mother than their male counter parts; To assist with this study, 16 Catholic Charities Adoption Services located in the Western region of the United States were solicited to participate. 298 self-reporting, questionnaires were mailed out with 52 responses: 17 male, 31 female and 4 no response were returned. Of the completed responses, the results indicate a trend that the women tend to be more anxious than men toward the birth mother prior to the completion of the adoption process.