Open Adoption

Prior to the 1970’s, the most common type of adoption was closed adoption. Secrecy surrounded the process to protect the privacy of all people involved. The birthparents and adoptive parents rarely met face to face or ever knew anything about each other. Adoptees grew up with questions, fears, fantasies, and sometimes, a feeling of abandonment. Toward the early 1980’s, the process of adoption began to undergo some drastic changes after some members of the adoption triad began to express their pains and difficulties with a closed adoption. Now, most adoptions are now open adoptions.

Not everyone agrees on the definition of “Open Adoption”. At a minimum, it means that the birth parents and adoptive parents share “indentifying” information. At the Adoption Center open adoption means “no secrets”. Birthparents can choose the family they think is ideal for their child. They can meet them if they wish. The birthparents and adopting parents have the opportunity to get to know each other during the pregnancy. Over the years they have the opportunity to share photos, letters and even visits through the years. Open Adoption is NOT shared parenting. But, the birth parents have an opportunity to have an ongoing relationship with the adopting parents and the child. Our adopting families and birth families form a close, ongoing relationship that benefits the birth parents, adopting parents and most importantly, the child…..

Those of us who are not adopted take certain things for granted….our family history, our inherited traits and talents, we have family photos, we know why we have a particular eye/hair color combination, and we know our medical history. In the past, adopted persons did not have that information. However, most important…..adopted persons did not know WHY they were placed for adoption.

In over 20 years of adoption experience, here is what we know….every birth mom we have worked with LOVED her baby. She would have parented if her circumstances were different. She chose adoption for her baby’s sake. She sacrificed so her child could have the life she could not offer at this time. With OPEN ADOPTION your child grows up knowing their heritage, their medical history or why they have big eyes and a beautiful smile….but most importantly, they know they were loved, loved by their birth parents, and deeply loved and wanted by the parents who adopted them.

Each situation is different. Some adoptive and birth families form a natural, easy connection and have a comfortable ongoing relationship, they become “extended family”. Other birth parents prefer getting pictures and updates over the years. The success of open adoption is based on trust and respect for and between the parties involved. Open adoption can be filled with happiness and peace of mind for all as part of a lifelong process.

The Adoption Center of San Diego hosts an annual Father’s Day Picnic and Christmas Party where hundreds of our Adoptive and Birthparent families come together to celebrate and spend time together.


Positive Adoption Language

The way we talk and the words we choose say a lot about what we think and value. When we use positive adoption language, we say that adoption is a way to build a family just as birth is. Both are important, but one is not more important than the other.

Positive Language

Negative Language

Birth Parent Real parent
Biological parent Natural Parent
Birth Child Own Child
My Child Adopted Child
Born to Unmarried Parents Illegitimate
Placing Your Child w/an Adoptive Family Give Up Your Child
Make an Adoption Plan Give Away
To Parent To Keep
Child with Special Needs Handicapped Child
Was Adopted Is Adopted