When I handled my first adoption in 1960 – about 10,000 cases ago - California was the only state in which the law encouraged birth mothers to choose adopting parents personally. In the rest of the country, adoptions were secretive and rare. Adoption agencies insisted that a mother relinquish her child and go away without ever knowing who adopted her baby.
Although I spent many years working to make things easier for adopting couples and birth mothers around the country, that's the way adoptions worked until the early 1980's, when attitudes toward adoption began to change. Until then, there were two distinct adoption procedures in the United States, including Independent Adoptions and Adoption Agency Relinquishments. Now there are several additional alternatives, including Collaborative Adoptions and Open Adoptions.