The Minnesota / Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP) is a longitudinal research study that focuses on the consequences of variations in openness in adoption arrangements for all members of the adoptive kinship network: birthmothers, adoptive parents, and adopted children, and for the relationships within these family systems. The project was begun in the mid-1980s by Harold Grotevant, Ph.D., who is now the Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Ruth G. McRoy, Ph.D., who is now the Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work, Boston College.
Since the mid-1970's, adoption practices in the U.S. have changed dramatically, and the confidentiality maintained in the past is no longer the norm. The trend is toward "openness" in adoption, in which contact occurs between the adoptive family and birthparent(s), either directly or mediated (e.g., through an adoption agency). Some adoption professionals argue that fully open adoption should be standard practice, that the secrecy of confidential adoptions has been harmful to all parties involved. Others argue that openness is harmful and experimental. Their view is that confidential adoption worked well, so why change it? Although such professionals hold strong feelings about adoption, almost no research on this topic has been available to guide adoption policy and to answer basic questions about the dynamics of adoptive kinship networks.