On Open Adoptions

We at Children's Home Society of California, San Diego region, were pleased to see the articles regarding open adoption and birth parents in the May 17 edition of View. However, we were disappointed to note the article highlighting open adoption omitted any reference to our agency, while the birth parent article reported a client's view of our services delivered 25 years ago. In fairness, we would appreciate the opportunity to clarify our services.

The article regarding the experience of a birth parent through our agency many years ago reflects some of the concerns that have led us toward more openness in adoption practice. However, it is important to keep in perspective the fact that any young unmarried woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy in the early 1960s confronted a very different set of social norms and rules than single pregnant women do today. Social work services are to some extent a product of the society in which they occur. Now, women have many more choices in every aspect of their lives than they did 25 years ago. As society has changed in its view of women, including its view of pregnant single women, social work services for that population have also changed.

Here at the San Diego office of Children's Home Society of California, the majority of our adoptions are now open in varying degrees. All birth parents receive information and counseling regarding all options and services open to them, including keeping the child.

If the birth parent chooses adoption, many options are available. The majority of our birth parents who choose adoption now select and meet the prospective adoptive parents before placement. Birth parents and adoptive parents meet alone, without social workers present, and are free to exchange as much information as they wish.

It is our belief, supported by the experiences of our clients, that increased openness in adoption benefits all parties. The birth parent has greater peace of mind, knowing her child is safe, loved and well cared for; the adoptive parents are free from the vague fear of the unknown birth parent, and, most importantly, the child grows up with necessary information, feeling good about adoption and thus about himself or herself.

MARY ANN LAWRENCE

Program manager

Children's Home Society

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