This brief essay offers a rumination on the history and implications of open adoption, with a particular focus on the ways the practice grew out of the women's rights movement of the 1970s and on the ways racial inequities impacted child adoption before and after the rise of openness movements. It draws on a surge of recent scholarly work on child adoption to explore connections between race, child welfare, women's rights, and transnationalism. It also raises the question of child adoption as a human rights issue by considering together activist trends in domestic and international adoption. Finally, it suggests that paired with the political movement for more openness in adoption, the developing field of “adoption studies” may help pave the way for making adoption a more ethical practice.

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