Open Adoption in California

What is an Open Adoption, and How Does it Work in CA?

What is open adoption?

An open adoption is one in which the adoptive parents and birth parents share identifying information and communicate with each other without the help of an adoption professional. If you’re a birth parent who wants to get to know your baby’s adoptive parents before placement and continue to develop that relationship after adoption, an open adoption in California may be a great solution for you.

In California, open adoption has many benefits, including:

  • Pregnant women considering adoption know that, should they choose to place their baby, they can maintain a relationship with them. No matter the type of relationship you wish to have with your child after he or she is placed for adoption, this can become a reality just by choosing a family that agrees to that type of relationship.  Since an adoption relationship evolves like any other, the amount of contact you have with your child and his or her family throughout the years can increase or decrease depending on your comfort.

  • An adoptive family can stay up-to-date on the birth parents’ medical histories should any health issues arise for the child.

  • An adopted child doesn’t have to wonder why they were adopted or what their birth mother was like. Adoption is no longer a secretive affair; adoptees can get to know their birth parents and understand why they made the decision they did. Rather than wonder if their birth parents loved them, open adoption in California allows adoptees to see just how much love is required to place a baby for adoption.

If this open adoption definition sounds like it could be a little overwhelming for you, there’s another type of adoptive relationship that allows for very similar benefits: semi-open adoption.

What is a semi-open adoption?

A semi-open adoption, also known as a mediated adoption, is another type of open adoption in California, albeit more restricted. In a California semi-open adoption, all communication between birth parents and adoptive parents is facilitated by an adoption professional, and no identifying information is shared. It’s estimated that around 95 percent of modern day domestic adoptions are semi-open.

In a semi-open adoption, contact with your baby’s adoptive parents may take place in these forms:

  • Conference calls through the agency before the baby is placed

  • Personal visits before placement with a social worker

  • Interaction at the hospital during your stay

  • Email exchanges both throughout and after your pregnancy

  • Picture and letter updates sent through the agency after adoption

If you want to stay updated on your baby’s life and make sure he or she can contact you but aren’t comfortable with a completely open adoption, a semi-open adoption may be perfect for you.

What is a closed adoption?

While it’s much less common in today’s adoptions, there is still a third type of adoption relationship: a closed adoption. Sometimes a pregnant woman would prefer to place her baby with adoption and move on from what could be a painful experience, which is when a closed adoption in California occurs. 

Although some degree of openness in an adoptive relationship benefits adoptive parents as well, many families are also willing to enter into a closed adoption if that’s what the birth mother prefers. In a closed adoption, a pregnant woman can still choose:

  • Her baby’s adoptive family. She will still be shown adoptive family profiles but will not be given any identifying information.

  • Every detail of her hospital stay.

  • Future contact, should she decide that she does want to receive letters and pictures of her baby.

While a closed adoption is possible, it’s important to remember that in terms of open vs. closed adoption, open adoption is still a better option for the adoptive triad as a whole. A closed adoption in California will mean that an adoptee has access to very little information about his or her birth parents, and therefore his or her family history.

For more information about adoption, or to determine which type of adoption is right for you, call 1-800-ADOPTION, or request free information here





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