A safe place for your patients
to explore pregnancy options.


In the years I have called upon you to visit my classes, your presentations are always current, relevant to that particular group, and emotionally charged enough to be memorable and effective.

— Kathleen, University of Portland

Service provider resources for professionals working with expectant parents.


You care deeply about the needs of the mothers and babies you serve. At Open Adoption & Family Services, we do too.  If you’re a professional working with expectant parents who are facing unintended pregnancies or would like to explore adoption, we’d like to extend our service provider resources to you. In this section you’ll learn about programs, trainings and presentations that we offer. You can also order free materials for your clients and patients.

OA&FS is a pro-choice, non-profit open adoption agency that has promoted diversity and inclusion since 1985. We’re licensed in Oregon and Washington, and we have extended our services nationwide. We offer all-options pregnancy counseling and open adoption planning. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing information about our innovative model of choice, empowerment and relationship building.

About OA&FS
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Open adoption as an
alternative to state adoption.



Our innovative solution to overwhelmed child welfare systems.


The foster care system locally, and nationally, is in crisis. The numbers of kids in care is rising and their outcomes are increasingly dismal. The foster care system is overburdened. It often doesn’t meet the needs of the most vulnerable and unmoored kids throughout the country. We need an innovative way to keep children out of foster care in the first place. The solution is simple. It’s respectful, compassionate, costs the tax payers nothing and it’s accessible now.

Impact on kids.

Every time a child is removed from one home and placed in another, even if it’s back and forth between their birthparents and foster parents, their ability to trust and form attachments diminishes. This leaves them potentially unable to engage in loving relationships throughout their lives. Every time a child ages out of the foster care system, she’s faced with forging a life on her own knowing that that no family wanted her. These kids don’t have a family to join for Thanksgiving. Children that have been in foster care are significantly more likely to struggle with bonding and attachment issues, learning disabilities, mental illness, teen pregnancy, addiction and criminal involvement. (Source: Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.) Our system often fails the very children it’s intended to protect.

Impact on birthparents.

The mission of the state child welfare system is often to reunite the family but even with the best of intentions, it can set birthparents and their children up for defeat. Maybe the birthparents struggle mightily with addiction, domestic violence, incarceration, homelessness or mental illness. But regardless of the reason, they simply cannot parent at this time.


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Open adoptee Henry with birthmother Jamie and adoptive parents Deb and Corey.

Foster care is not the only answer. There is another path.


What if our culture embraces open adoption? What if the birthparents are treated with dignity and respect? What if adoption means having an ongoing relationship with their child? What if birthparents who are facing potential termination of their parental rights receive advocacy and counseling before their child is removed? What if this counseling included an honest and realistic discussion about reunification and all of their adoption options? What if the child welfare system is a supportive partner in creating a plan for their child?

Then the child would never enter the foster care system and the outcomes would change dramatically. Their birthparents could access our open adoption process that honors and empowers them. When expectant parents have the option of pro-actively planning an open adoption while they’re pregnant or their child is young, they can avoid the child welfare system. They can choose the adoptive family and form a lifelong friendship with them. They can have an ongoing relationship with their child, in which they’re present to watch them grow and thrive. Their child is surrounded by the love and support of all of the people who are dear to him.

OA&FS has been providing this smart, creative solution for over 30+ years in over 1,450 placements. When birthparents and adoptive parents create a relationship based on a model of mutual compassion and respect, they come together to meet the needs of the child. The child’s identity and ability to trust and love remain intact. When birthparents who are struggling are given the option to plan an open adoption, the child never has to face foster care. Maybe their birthparents can’t succeed at being full-time parents at this point in their lives, but they can succeed in their role as birthparents, and that means everything to them and their child.



Do you work with at-risk pregnant and parenting moms? This free webinar can help you give them more options.


We provide an empowerment model to expectant parents, and will truly honor their individual choice. We are the experts in open adoption. The genuine and lasting child-centered relationship is at the core of our high-quality option adoptions.

Our alternative to state adoption gives these kids a way out.




Our unique collaborative
relationship with Oregon DHS.


In 2010, OA&FS presented this solution to the Oregon Department of Human Services and we forged a collaborative relationship that has thrived. When high risk moms learn about our pre-emptive alternative to state adoption, it becomes a feasible option for them. Maybe they have had previous children removed by the state and they’re pregnant again; this time they want to plan an open adoption instead. Maybe due to the chronic nature of the challenges they face, open adoption becomes a viable choice for them. Maybe they know that adoption will be in their future and they want an adoption through which they’ll have a voice in the planning process and an active role in their child’s life.

Through OA&FS, this empowering model is available to them. Now, DHS workers and service providers, who work with high risk moms throughout the state refer expectant parents to us routinely. They’ve seen the process unfold and are pleased by how well it meets the ongoing needs of birthparents and their kids. However, there needs to be more widespread information about and access to this successful alternative.



Open adoptions through OA&FS have significant advantages.


TIMELINE



We can plan an adoption within a few days with trained families who are ready to adopt.

FOSTER CARE



We place the child directly with the adoptive family without using foster care.

CONSENTS



With adoption consents relinquishment is voluntary.

CHOOSING A FAMILY



Birthparents select a family after reading extensive information about them.

ONGOING RELATIONSHIP



Birthparents meet and form a lifelong relationship with the adoptive family.

ONGOING VISITS CONTRACT



Birthparents have access to a legally enforceable contract for ongoing visits, averaging 3-4 per year.

ONGOING AGENCY SERVICES



We provide lifelong relationship guidance and adoption-related counseling.

BIRTHPARENT OUTCOMES



Birthparents feel heard and valued. They have a lifelong relationship with their child and the family.

OUTCOMES FOR CHILD



Open adoptees value that their birthparents stayed in their lives. Have high self-esteem and strong sense of identity.

ADOPTIVE FAMILY OUTCOMES



The adoptive family welcomes the birthparents, and include them as part of their extended family.

COST TO TAXPAYERS



No cost to taxpayers.

 

We can make a positive impact on the child welfare system. Here’s how.



The state child welfare system’s mission of family reunification is a noble goal, but not always attainable, especially when it repeatedly returns kids to foster care. In our open adoptions, there’s no need for reunification, because the birth family is never separated from the child. In our family unification model, the birth family becomes a part of the extended family. Everyone is included.

We offer free trainings to state child welfare workers on how to have a transparent conversation with moms before their child is removed about all of their options: parenting, reunification, a state adoption or proactively planning an open adoption. When birthparents are aware of all of their options, they can make an informed and empowering choice for their child’s future.


This paradigm shift calls for a new perception of birthparents. True, they’ve struggled tremendously in life and aren’t able to parent at this time. But that doesn’t justify viewing them through a lens solely based on their limitations. In our open adoption model, birthparents are treated with dignity and respect. They have a voice in their child’s adoption as they create a lifelong friendship with the family. They hold a position of honor throughout their child’s life.


Respect for the birthparent is the heart of our mission.


The differences in the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) and OA&FS paths are rooted in their fundamental missions. The state child welfare system is intended to protect children from abuse and neglect. Their focus is on child safety. Consequently, they perceive the birthparents as possible threats to the child, which could lead to at-risk moms feeling scrutinized and judged. This sets the stage for a potentially adversarial relationship with the caseworker and the DHS system. Through this lens, the concept of adoption is associated with the failure to parent, and in fact in order for an involuntary adoption to occur, the birthparent has to fail. The threat of this failing looms large over moms, coloring their world with self-doubt and hopelessness. This is a disempowering process that inevitably makes vulnerable birthparents even more at risk.

At OA&FS, our services always start with respecting and honoring the expectant parent. Through our all options pregnancy counseling, she receives non-directive counseling as explores all of her choices. If she decides to pursue an open adoption this empowerment process continues as she reviews detailed and transparent info about the families. She chooses, meets and forms a lifelong relationship with the adoptive family. She is a part of her child’s life as they grow.

Like the state child welfare system, our focus is also on the child. We’re alarmed by the negative outcomes of children in foster care. According to the Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACES), these traumatized kids, face a lifetime of challenges. We’ve found that when birthparents are given choices and pro-actively plan an open adoption, the child avoids foster care and creates the early and essential bonds they need to thrive.

We meet the child’s ongoing needs by cultivating a network around them of love and support from their birth and adoptive parents. We have a relationship-based model. Rather than demeaning birthparents and tasking adoptive parents with rescuing the child from harm, OA&FS teaches birth and adoptive families the skills and tools they need to navigate their open adoption relationships. Our vital ongoing guidance is easily accessible over the years.




Alternative to state adoption stories, videos and statistics.


  • Meet open adoptee Christine.

    Christine and her siblings were given a way out of the state system. They grew up with the security of caring families … Read More

  • Statistics surrounding child welfare.

    According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services AFCARS Report, 427,910 children were in foster care nationwide in 2015 … Read More

  • Meet birthmother Sharene.

    Sharene had been in 40 different foster homes as a child. She contacted Open Adoption & Family Services after her two daughters had been removed and placed in a foster home … Read More

  • Making a real difference at a national level.

    We’re discovering that our collaborative relationship with Oregon DHS is possibly the only one of its kind in the country … Read More

  • Meet birthfather Chris.

    “My name is Chris and I am a birthfather. I was 24 years old when I found out that I was going to be a father. The news had me so excited that I began to forget who I was … Read More


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Last minute adoption plans.


When your patient wants to create her own unique adoption plan, our “last-minute” open adoption services empower and support her.

At Open Adoption & Family Services, we recognize the challenges you face daily as you meet the unique and complex needs of each patient. If she wants to explore her adoption options, we can help. Here’s how we can extend our services to you:

Quick Response: Available 24/7


  • Counselors are available to respond to your needs immediately.

All Options Counseling


  • The counselor can help your patient explore her options, explain her legal rights regarding adoption, assess the birthfather’s legal status and support her in whatever decision she ultimately makes.

Adoption-Ready Families


  • She can select from 65-85 diverse families who are prepared to adopt. We provide a detailed profile on all of the families for her review. Our families are seeking a genuine friendship with her.

Creating a Relationship


  • The family she chooses can meet her within a few hours. With our relationship guidance, they begin building a strong and healthy foundation to their open adoption relationship. Together they create a legally enforceable contract for ongoing visits.

Entrustment & Placement


  • In most cases we are able to place the child with the adoptive family before she and the baby are discharged, if that’s what she wishes. The adoption reflects her adoption vision.

Follow-up Counseling


  • She is entitled to ongoing counseling and relationship support. We have a lifetime commitment to our child-centered adoptions.

Our Services for Hospital Staff

We offer free presentations on adoption tailored to fit the needs of your staff.
We can also assist your staff in creating an ethically sound adoption policy reflecting your dedication to providing your patients with professional adoption resources.

Schedule Your Presentation

Access tools and resources to empower expectant parents with our free webinar.


Expectant parents deserve access to unbiased, accurate information about all of their pregnancy options: parenting, abortion and adoption. Learn about an engaging, client-driven all-options pregnancy counseling model in which you can assist women facing an unplanned pregnancy with their decision-making process.


You’ll also become familiar with our new alternative to state adoption. Many high risk moms assume that adoption is an adversarial process of losing their child to the state. Learn about our new pre-emptive step to state adoption in which these moms can proactively plan an open adoption for their child.

Benefits of Open Adoption




Ongoing contact enables birthparents to see for themselves that their child is thriving in the adoptive family’s home. This helps them feel at peace with their open adoption decision. Our video “Open Adoption Over the Years” shows how families have built long-term relationships. 

Knowing that the birthparents fully support the adoption, adoptive parents feel secure in welcoming the birthparents into their lives. And, most importantly, the open relationship gives the child direct access to information about their history and support from their birthparents. This allows for the healthy development of the child’s sense of identity and self-esteem.

Watch Open Adoptee Videos

Free trainings and presentations.

Let us help you support your clients.


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We recognize that counseling pregnant women/couples who are facing an unplanned pregnancy can present a unique challenge. We would like to offer the support you need to make this process easier. OA&FS offers free, interactive trainings for groups of any size, at any location in Oregon or Washington.

Our presentation can be as long or a short as your schedule allows, from ten minutes to half a day, depending on your needs and circumstances. Our longer trainings are highly interactive and include small and large group discussions, values clarification and role play scenarios. Participants leave with action steps of how to incorporate the new information into their work.

We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you and your coworkers!


Get up-to-date information with these training topics.


OA&FS is the regional expert at providing professionals with all-options pregnancy counseling and open adoption trainings. Our agency completes more infant placements per year than any other adoption agency in the Northwest, and we specifically specialize in open adoptions. Our trainings provide up-to-date and thorough information about Oregon and Washington adoption practices.

These sessions prepare professionals to skillfully incorporate adoption into their all-options counseling programs, and allow them to provide accurate information to their clients. Through our collaboration with Healthy Start, Planned Parenthood of the Columbia-Willamette, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho and Backline, we are in a unique position to sensitively address these topics. In 2009, 2010 and 2012 we partnered with Backline, Planned Parenthood and the Center for Health Training to offer the Pregnancy Options Dialogue, a workshop for professionals in offering all-options pregnancy counseling.

Each OA&FS presentation will cover as many of the following topics as you choose, according to your needs and interests:


  • Open adoption as an alternative to state adoption.

  • All-options pregnancy counseling

  • What’s new in the way adoption is practiced today?

  • How does open adoption work?

  • How to talk to teens about adoption.

  • Open adoption relationships: Hear from a panel of people who are living open adoptions.

  • Placing older children in open adoptions, (up to 3 1/2 years).

  • The hospital experience in an open adoption.

  • Attorney vs. agency adoptions.  




Our service provider Bill of Rights.


When referring a pregnant woman to us, you can be assured she will …


Receive respect and compassion as she explores all of her pregnancy options.
Receive unbiased counseling from qualified counselors, who are available 24/7.
Have her choice honored, regardless of what it is.

If she chooses adoption, she will…


Receive ongoing counseling, guidance and support throughout the process.
Choose her child’s adoptive family from our diverse pool of all available families.
Review the adoptive family’s homestudy and detailed family book.
Receive guidance as she develops a relationship with the adoptive family.
Receive a legally enforceable contract for ongoing visits.
Create the birth plan.
Sign adoption consents only when she’s ready.
Entrust her child to the adoptive parents in an entrustment ceremony.
Feel at home in her open adoption: feel welcomed, honored and valued.
Receive ongoing adoption-related counseling and relationship guidance.
Receive unbiased counseling from qualified counselors available 24/7.
Be welcomed into our vibrant open adoption community.
If you refer a birthfather, he will be included, heard and valued.
Attend the Birthmother or Birthfather Retreat.
Be connected to other birthparents.

The National Pro-Choice Adoption Collaborative is your pregnancy options counseling and open adoption resource.



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Open Adoption & Family Services and Friends in Adoption have teamed up to form the National Pro-Choice Adoption Collaborative (NPAC), a union of two high-integrity agencies with a shared philosophy. We’re pro-choice, not religiously affiliated, embrace diversity and offer lifelong services. With our empowerment model, we’ve become the national experts in open adoption. Each of our non-profit agencies has 30+ years of experience, and we place children up to the age of three in open adoptions. We have offices on the east and west coasts, and work with expectant parents nationwide. We’re here to help you meet the needs of the moms you serve. Add NPAC to your resource list!

View Full Infographic

Partnering with professionals
in community support.


OA&FS has a long history of partnering with clinics, hospitals, schools and other organizations that support pregnant women and couples. We work with organizations throughout Oregon and Washington.

Thanks to our colleagues for these endorsements:


Thank you for the presentation. It was great! We all came away with a lot of great information for ourselves, and to share with all of our patients. We will be in contact with you in the future for more materials. – Katie Jo, Health Center Manager, Planned Parenthood of the Columbia-Willamette.

We so appreciate the fact that OA&FS is willing to come each year to Birthingway College of Midwifery to share information and connection with our students. OA&FS’ mission and philosophy dovetail beautifully with the way we encourage our students to engage in their own care, emphasizing true shared decision-making. Our students value the relational, whole-person, centered approach OA&FS espouses, and they are grateful to have open adoption as a resource for clients. – Nichole Reding, MA, CPM, LDM, Academic Coordinator and Instructor, Birthingway College.

OA&FS counselor Katie has been providing training support for a group of my staff that are learning options counseling. Katie has been incredible in providing support and training. She is obviously knowledgeable and incredibly skilled, as well as professional and passionate. – Multnomah County Maternal Child Health Director.

You and your staff do such a unique and life-affirming job. You really are changing the face and feel of adoption in Oregon! – Elizabeth, Program Development Specialist, Healthy Start of Multnomah County, OR

Every so often, a patient comes into the hospital to deliver, intending to release her infant for adoption but without having a plan in place. At such a critical time, it is important for the hospital social worker to let the patient know there are adoption resources that can provide her with complete information about her options so that she can make an informed decision about whether or not she wants to proceed with an adoption release. Open Adoption and Family Services is such an agency and one that I have come to respect and hold in high regard. I have found Open Adoption and Family Services willing to respond immediately and without hesitation to situations involving unplanned adoptions. Further, I know that they will maintain the ethic of patient self-determination and work to facilitate whatever the patient considers to be in the best interest of herself and her newborn. Professionally, Open Adoption and Family Services has made my life a lot simpler, and the life of many birthmothers who enter the hospital devoid of a plan, a lot more satisfying. – Rich, Clinical Social Worker

I wanted thank you regarding the recent presentation by your counselor, Katie. She was AMAZING! Great information, very personable, clear and concise in answering questions, very competent and clearly able to articulate issues of social justice and sensitivity to client centered practice with the agency. Also wanted to say how impressed I am with the OA&FS program in general and the values that are very clear in its processes. – Mr. B. Bartja, LICSW, MHP, CMHS PSNHC, Social Worker, Rainier Beach Medical Clinic

Whether working with patients or healthcare professionals, I always recommend Open Adoption & Family Services. I am consistently impressed by their commitment to the families they work with and to the community at large. They provide a wealth of information, nonjudgmental counseling, and emotional and logistical support — and are always happy to refer clients who may need outside services. Most importantly, Open Adoption & Family Services truly provides women with CHOICES.” – Grayson, Education Program Coordinator, formerly with Planned Parenthood, Portland

When working with OA&FS, it is a great relief to know our patients will receive consistent emotional support before and after the adoption. My experience has been that both birth and adoptive parents working with OA&FS feel better-prepared and well-supported when making an adoption plan. – Karen, Medical Social Worker, PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center, Eugene, OR

I feel very confident working with OA&FS, because I can depend on an immediate response. I know the OA&FS counselor will be an advocate for my patient and support her in any decision she makes. I am also confident that the counselor is very informed about the legal issues around adoption. – Kay, Maternity Care Coordinator, McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center, Springfield, OR

Even as a labor and delivery nurse and educator, I quickly realized that I had many incorrect perceptions about open adoption. In the 9 years that I have worked with primarily closed adoptions in the hospital, I had observed the situation to be stressful and sometimes negative for the persons involved. Shari put myself and my students at ease about the common misnomers that often surround the subject. She was able to share some wonderful stories with the group. We were able to understand the beauty of open adoption and were amazed by the bond that is formed between the birthparents and the adoptive parents. It was wonderful to see how so many children can live normal, healthy, happy lives in the care of all different types of families. I am thankful that I was educated about this caring option. – Erica, RNC, Providence St. Vincent Hospital, Portland, OR

I have been impressed with the quality of service OA&FS provides to the birthmothers who deliver here. The adoption counselors are always respectful, well-informed and competent professionals. Their involvement helps us provide quality medical care, while insuring the ethical issues related to adoption are upheld. – Donna, Lead Social Worker, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, Vancouver, WA

Shari, thank you so much for taking the time to come out to SARC and share Open Adoption’s mission with us. This is such a great/thought-provoking topic for our volunteers. There was a lot of great discussion after you left! We really appreciate your philosophy about empowering individuals to make decisions that are best for them. I will definitely be in touch in the future, in order to set up another info. sharing experience for our volunteers. Keep up the great work! Thanks again! – Esther, Volunteer Manager, SARC (Sexual Assault Resource Center)

I am so very grateful to have your continued participation in the Nursing of Families course at U.P. The students are surprised and informed by your information and presentation and you never fail to engage and stimulate them into questioning and participation. – Kathleen, University of Portland Nursing Program

Thank you very much for coming and talking with us. The information and discussion was truly at the right level for this group. And our discussion continued after you left – it was a valuable afternoon (from the faculty perspective for sure!). I look forward to connecting with you again! – J. Dale, University of Portland

Thanks for sending copies of your latest brochures. I am so glad your organization exists, and my staff has been very pleased with the services you provide when they have been able to have clients to meet with one of your counselors. You are doing such important work!! And I’m so glad you pointed out the option for working proactively with families whose parental rights are in jeopardy. We hadn’t really thought about that possibility. – Jennifer, Skagit Co. Public Health

Appreciate all you do, and your efforts to assure we have current and accurate materials. – Diana, Program Coordinator, Commission on Children & Families/Healthy Start


We appreciate our community partners.


Portland


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Seattle


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Eugene


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Oregon and Washington Statewide



Nationwide



Free materials and resources for you.


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OA&FS offers the following free DVDs, brochures and fliers for service providers and their clients. To order these materials, contact us at 1-800-772-1115, email info@openadopt.org or fill out this online order form. If you would like to include excerpts from OA&FS materials or republish this content, please contact us for permission.

Cards, brochures and fliers.


OA&FS SERVICES


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PREGNANCY OPTIONS


Pregnant? You Have Choices. Business card-sized accordion brochure with an overview of OA&FS services including pregnancy options counseling, open adoption and open adoption as an alternative to state adoption. Includes information in Spanish and QR codes for direct website access.

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The Decision Is Yours. Brochure card outlines OA&FS’ free, all-options pregnancy counseling including parenting, abortion, adoption.

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You Have Choices. Flier with pregnancy options counseling overview and questions to ask about the different options.

OPEN ADOPTION


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Creating Lifelong Connections. Brochure explains OA&FS’ unique open adoption program in which birthparents choose the family, enjoy ongoing visits and receive lifelong services.

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Your Open Adoption Vision. Flier of open adoption facts and myths.

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Every Voice is Heard. Flier with testimonials from birthparents and other adoption constellation members about their open adoptions.

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Same Sex Parenting. Flier with facts and research about LGBTQ families.

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Fathers Matter. Brochure outlining how birthfathers are important in their child’s life.

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Explora tus opciones de embarazo. Brochure about our unique all-options pregnancy counseling and open adoption program en Español.

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An Alternative to State Adoption. Brochure for at-risk parents facing state involvement who would like to explore planning an open adoption.

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Origins Therapy. Brochure explaining our counseling program for individuals and families involved in adoption, surrogacy and reproductive technologies.

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Adoption Sensitive Language. Flier detailing empowering and disempowering words associated with adoption.

FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS


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Last Minute Placement Checklist.  Flier for Hospital Social Workers to use when patients are planning an adoption at delivery.

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Pregnancy Counseling and Open Adoption. Flier for health care professionals and social service providers with all-options pregancy counseling and adoption facts.

VIDEOS ONLINE


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Open Adoption Experiences: Sharene’s Story. Sharene is the birthmother of Finn, Sophia and Joan. Finn was adopted through Open Adoption & Services by Brady and Peter. They later adopted his two sisters from the Oregon state foster care system. So often in adoption the focus is on the moment the baby is placed. Now that her son Finn is four, Sharene, along with Finn’s Dads Peter and Brady, have a more evolved open adoption story to tell. Here’s hers. View video — duration 5:50.

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Open Adoption Experiences: Christine’s Story. Open adoptee Christine is a 23-year old engaging and thoughtful young woman, who was adopted through Open Adoption & Family Services when she was three years old. Prior to her placement she lived with her birthparents, who struggled with addiction, and then in a foster home for ten months. Christine deeply appreciates how open, non-judgmental and unconditionally loving her parents Erik and Susan have always been as they guided her and sister Jamie (who was adopted within a year of Christine) through the placement of two more birth siblings in other OA&FS families, the death of their birthmom and the ongoing relationship with their birthfather. View video — duration 5:27.

VIDEOS ON DVD


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OA&FS Real Life Stories and Adoptee Voices. This video compilation tracks the experiences of women and couples who’ve accessed our services, plus, young adult adoptees talk about their open adoptions. View individual videos.