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In This Issue:
About My Open Adoption
Why We Chose Open Adoption
Milestone Reached with DHS
OA&FS Sister Agencies
The Birthmom to Birthmom Connection

Open Adoption Awareness Campaign In Production

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Open Adoption Awareness Campaign!

Donors have contributed nearly 75% of the project's fundraising goal, allowing OA&FS to begin producing videos highlighting the benefits of open adoption.

Over the past few months, Seattle-based video production company Elliot Bay Productions
completed video interviews of OA&FS families. The videos will feature first-person narratives from OA&FS open adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents about open adoption.

Facebook Page

Help people find us on Facebook!

First, check out the OA&FS Facebook Page. Then, click the "Like" button to participate in the Open Adoption Awareness Campaign. You will be able to view and share the new videos once they're completed and hear the latest agency news.

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Agency Happenings

Picture of OA

This winter, OA&FS welcomed Heather Goldy, M.S.W., as a counselor in the Seattle Office. Other changes in Seattle include the return of former Counselor Katie Stallman, LICSW, CGE, in a temporary supervisory position for the office and the departure of Counselor Jodi Bernstein.

Jodi will be working with Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest as an education manager. She said, "I am grateful for all of the amazing experiences I have had here at OA&FS. I have been moved by the courage and generosity of our clients, birth and adoptive parents alike! I will remain a great champion of open adoption and of the place adoption has in the world of reproductive justice."

OA&FS is currently seeking a counselor with a master's in social work for the Seattle office.

Open Adoption & Family Services
Open Page
Winter 2011, Volume 20, No. 2
Welcome to the Open Page, the Open Adoption & Family Services' (OA&FS) quarterly newsletter!

In celebration of our 25th anniversary year, we are launching a social media campaign. There are so many innovative and accessible ways of delivering information that never existed before. In order to fully utilize these exciting avenues for disseminating our message, we will be restructuring our website, launching our open adoption awareness videos on our website, Facebook page and Youtube; creating a strong Facebook presence and building a Google ad campaign. Consequently, there are many new ways you can become involved with the agency! As a member of our open adoption community, you can contribute your story, make a donation, speak at our events and refer friends and family members to our services.


And now there's a new way to show your support; it is as simple as joining our new Facebook page!

Pregnant women and couples frequently use social media Web sites to learn about their options and locate services they need. By joining our page, you are helping us make our services more accessible to individuals who are seeking all-options pregnancy counseling or our unique open adoption services.


By joining our growing group of "friends" on Facebook, you'll also hear what we're up to, and have the chance to read and share information with other members of our community. Facebook page members will be able to participate in the OA&FS Open Adoption Awareness Campaign by viewing and sharing the new videos we're creating to highlight the benefits of open adoption. Click here to "like" our page and thanks for helping us spread the word about open adoption!


Shari Levine
Executive Director

About My Open Adoption

OA&FS Open Adoptee ArielBy Ariel, OA&FS Open Adoptee

People often want to know what it's like growing up in an open adoption. I find that people are fascinated by my story and I like to talk about it. I hope that by sharing my story as an open adoptee, people can see how great open adoption is. I hope that other adoptees embrace their open adoption and are proud of it. I have so many people that care about me!

My parents told me about my adoption when I was very young, so I have always known. My adoptive parents really tried to ensure that my birthparents were part of my life. They are comfortable with them being in my life. They scheduled times for me to see my birthparents while I was growing up. Now that I have a car, I can go see Sara and Jason on my own.

I have a close relationship with each of my birthparents. I see them on all the holidays and on birthdays. Now that I am away at college, I see them less, but we are still in touch. We are friends on Facebook.

Knowing my birthparents has absolutely helped me to know myself better. Knowing my medical history is important, but more important is that I know that side of me. I'm lucky because I have two sets of parents and all four have taught me things about life.

Why We Chose Open Adoption

Open adoptee Ariel and Laura, her adoptive momBy Laura, Ariel's Adoptive Mother

When Ariel's dad and I first considered adopting in 1990, open adoption practices had just begun to catch on in Oregon. We could find no adult adoptees or even teenagers we could talk to about their open adoption experience. More

By Sara, Ariel's Birthmother

Open adoptee Ariel and Sara, her birth mom

From her birth to when she left for college, I have been a part of Ariel's life. Through her open adoption, her birthfather and I gave Ariel amazing parents who offered her more than I could have imagined. Seeing who she is now is proof of what an incredible job they did. I'm very proud of the decision I made 19 years ago. More

By Jason, Ariel's Birthfather

Open adoptee Ariel and Jason, her birthfather

Our open adoption has been a good story! In an open adoption, everyone gets to stay on board. It's been a great experience for me to see Ariel grow up. If I had become a father at a very young age, I don't know if I would have done as great a job. Nick and Laura weren't able to have a child. That they were able to raise Ariel and that they did such a great job makes me feel really good. More

By Nick, Ariel's Adoptive Father

Open adoptee Ariel and Nick, her adoptive fatherMy child's birthparents are important to me because they have given me a great gift. Their baby was very important to them. Sara proved that by the care she took to assure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. They both proved that by the care they took in making an incredibly difficult decision about how to give their baby the most promising future they possibly could. I immensely respect the strong character Sara and Jason showed. More

Milestone Reached with DHS

State of Oregon Official SealThere's been a fantastic development in the collaborative relationship Open Adoption & Family Services (OA&FS) has been building with Oregon Department of Human Services(DHS) over the past three years! On November 15, 2010, DHS administrator Lois Day, issued a memorandum (PDF) to clarify the DHS policy for child welfare workers working with clients, who are at risk of losing their parental rights.

The document highlights state policies that support at-risk parents who wish to pro-actively plan an adoption in order to avoid involuntary placement of their child into the state foster care system. The memorandum outlines how state workers can collaborate with licensed adoption agencies to promote openness in adoption.

The policy clarification is a major milestone in the collaborative relationship OA&FS has been developing state workers in Oregon and Washington. By working with OA&FS, parents at risk of DHS or DSHS involvement can choose their child's parents, develop an ongoing relationship with them and receive lifelong support. Through this collaboration, OA&FS can bring its unique open adoption model to parents who previously had very few adoption options.

OA&FS Sister Agencies

Adoption Access Network LogoThe Adoption Access Network (AAN), a national network of pro-choice adoption agencies, was launched at the first AAN Leadership Summit in New York City on December 4, 2010.

Representatives from eight agencies, including OA&FS Executive Director Shari Levine and OA&FS Seattle Counselor Jodi Bernstein, met at the summit to develop criteria for future membership. The AAN identified only 22 adoption agencies nationwide that meet the following membership criteria:
: have a long-standing history of being a pro-choice agency, promote true openness in adoption, provide comprehensive post-adoption services and recruit a diverse population of adoptive parents, including same-sex families.
Representatives at the summit engaged in passionate discussion of current adoption standards, shared their agency's practices and created goals for the burgeoning organization. The AAN will publish these new adoption agency standards and a list of agencies that meet these criteria. Member agencies can refer clients who live out of their area to sister agencies within the network. As a consortium, the network will have a national voice in training, educating and advising regarding adoption best practices. The nationwide network will also have a powerful influence in lobbying for adoption related legislation at the state and federal level.

The Birthmom to Birthmom Connection

OA&FS Birthmother LianeBy Liane, OA&FS Birthmother

Two years ago, I attended my first OA&FS Birthmother Retreat in order to connect with other women who had also chosen an open adoption. I had never been in a group like this since my son David was born 25 years ago, so it was quite powerful. No one else quite understands one's experience like another birthmom. More

With the help of donations and in-kind gifts from the open adoption community, OA&FS organizes a retreat each year for women who placed children through the agency.


 Please type Birthmothers Retreat in the comments box to dedicate your donation to this ongoing program.


OA&FS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is appreciated! It's also tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Open Adoption & Family Services -1-800-772-1115 -

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