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In This Issue:
Opening Adoption
Do You Have Any Children?
Study Includes OA&FS Families
Culture, Race and Opennness
Birthparent Grief and Openness
Support for Adoptive Parents

Open Adoption Holiday Traditions
In December, OA&FS adoptive Mom Heather Allmain discussed her perspective on family traditions on the OPB radio program Think Out Loud. More
What does OA&FS mean to you?

E-mail us your answer! Then look for your contribution in the updated word art image in the next issue of Open Page.

The next issue will be mailed this spring, so please call us at 1-800-772-1115 to update your current mailing address.

Open Adoption Blogs
Do you write or read blogs about open adoption? If so, you should check out Open Adoption Bloggers.
Pregnancy Options Dialogue
Pregnancy Options Dialogue Logo
In October 2009, OA&FS co-sponsored the Pregnancy Options Dialogue, a one-day workshop for professionals who offer education and options counseling for pregnant women and couples. The workshop gave participants practice in discussing all options: parenting, abortion and adoption. OA&FS and event partners Backline, Center for Health Training, and Planned Parenthood plan to offer a similar workshop in Oregon in 2010.
Agency Happenings
We're proud to welcome Karen Enns to our Board of Directors!
Your Donation Matters

To continue special projects, like our annual retreat honoring OA&FS birthmothers: we need your support!

If you'd like your contribution to be dedicated to the Birthmother Retreat program exclusively, or if you'd like it to remain anonymous -- please let us know in the donation form's comment box.

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

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Open Adoption & Family Services
Open Page
Winter 2010, Volume 19, No. 2
Welcome to the Open Adoption & Family Services (OA&FS) quarterly newsletter! As we begin our 25th year of offering adoption services, it's a timely opportunity to explore how much adoption practices have changed over time throughout the world. In this issue of the Open Page, we have focused on sharing recent findings regarding the important role that openness plays in adoption.


Shari Levine
Executive Director

Opening Adoption: A National Trend

Adoption matters. Adoption touches the lives of an estimated 65% of the population in the U.S. How much of a role does openness play in adoptions today? Results from the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents showed a definite trend toward openness. More
Open Adoption & Family Services Word Art

This open adoption word art was created at Wordle.net.

Do You Have Any Children?
Melissa Valencia-ManeriniA Difficult Question to Answer
By Melissa Valencia-Manerini
OA&FS Board Member and Birthmother

"Do you have any children...?" It's such a typical question to ask someone, and for many it's an easy yes or no answer. For me though, I consistently find myself hesitating to respond. More
Study Includes OA&FS Families

Many OA&FS families have been participating in the Early Growth and Development Study, a long-term national study of 360 open adoption families. Members of our open adoption community have been participating in this study since 2003.

Conducted by the Oregon Social Learning Center, researchers completed their second phase of family interviews in 2009. We'll keep you posted with next steps and findings as they're released.

Preliminary findings released in 2008 showed over time, adoptive parents and birthparents tend to wish for more openness in their adoption. You can read more about it in The Birthparent Perspective, a special report in the September/October 2008 issue of Adoptive Families Magazine and listen to When Adoptees Know Their Biological Mother, an NPR story featuring the study's principle investigator, Dr. Leslie Leve of Eugene, Ore.
Culture, Race and Openness

Adoption Institute Logo
What roles do culture, race and openness play in an adopted child's identity? A 2009 Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute survey of 533 adult adoptees found adopted children want to know about their culture and race. The institute found openness in adoption can help a child learn about their heritage and build a positive adoptive identity. Adult adoptees surveyed said having some level of contact with birthparents was key to how they felt about their identity.
Birthparent Grief and Openness

Planning an adoption is a profound, life-changing event. Grief and joy are both aspects of the experience. A long-term study has shown years after the adoption is finalized, birthparents continue to process grief and that openness in adoption can help birthparents heal.

Researchers from the universities of Texas, Houston and Minnesota interviewed 169 birthmothers 4-12 years after the adoption, then re-interviewed 127 of them again 12-20 years post-placement. Birthmothers who were able to maintain contact after planning an adoption tended to have lower levels of unresolved grief overall than women in closed adoptions.

The study recommended birthparents have long-term access to nonjudgmental and supportive environments in which they could express their grief. The full academic study was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 2007, and is available to read for free in full text from Sage Journals Online.

OA&FS Resources for Birthparents:
  • We offer lifelong counseling for OA&FS birthparents and other members of the adoption triad. Please contact us at any time to access our confidential counseling services.
  • We also coordinate a birthparent peer mentorship program. If you would like to meet with a mentor or serve as a birthparent peer mentor, please let us know.
  • Birthparents who've planned an adoption through our agency are also invited to join a private Yahoo Group set up by OA&FS. Please contact your OA&FS counselor for details.
Support for Adoptive Parents

Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform (PEAR) LogoWhat services do adoptive parents need after placement? In 2009, the Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform (PEAR) asked adoptive parents what services they received post-placement and what sort of support they found they needed most.

PEAR is still tabulating the results. Early findings released in November 2009, showed adoptive parents shared concerns ranging from what to do when birthparent health history is unknown to help locating birthparents in international adoptions. Parents also wished for adoptive parent peer mentors, information about adoptive identity issues and more help navigating transracial adoptions.

PEAR began the survey in February 2009 to allow adoptive parents to identify gaps in services they found they need post-placement. Watch for more findings on PEAR's blog.

OA&FS Resources for Adoptive Parents:
  • Did you know OA&FS coordinates a peer mentorship program for adoptive parents? If you would be interested in meeting with a mentor, or serving as an adoptive parent mentor, please contact OA&FS
  • The Summer 2009 edition of the Open Page includes articles about successfully navigating transracial adoptions. Download a PDF copy of it here. Other editions of the OA&FS quarterly newsletter are available on our Web site.
  • Waiting adoptive parents in the OA&FS pool and families that have placed through our agency can find additional support and local resources in The Adoptive Parent Bulletin, a monthly e-publication that includes a calendar of OA&FS gatherings and adoption related events in the Pacific Northwest.