Through our anti-racism initiative, together we can change the world of adoption.
Give now to Open Adoption & Family Services.
Donations can be made via PayPal, or with your credit card. Just click on the corresponding button below. You can also mail checks directly to us at: Open Adoption & Family Services, 5200 SW Macadam Ave. Suite 250, Portland, OR 97239. If you'd like to set up a monthly donation through your workplace, and/or if your employer has a matching program, contact Fiscal Manager Cindy Lee at email@example.com. Thank you so much for your contribution!
We want to enrich the lives of our adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents who are living in transracial open adoptions. This is a far-reaching project and we can’t do it alone. As we strive to become an anti-racist adoption agency, with your support we can:
- Form active collaborations with other trusted agencies nationwide in order to build our resource library for our clients in a new portal on our website.
- Provide our clients with pertinent articles, videos, webinars, support groups and opportunities to connect over their shared experiences.
- Review our messaging on our website and in our materials to ensure it is welcoming to all.
- Expand our staff and board to include more people of color.
- Commit to uncovering and challenging systemic racism in adoption practices.
This is a time for all of us to identify and live by our values. As a cherished open adoption community member, we hope that you will support us in being lifelong learners of social justice. We are invested in creating an infrastructure that assists all families in our community, including families of color, to have the support they need to be successful throughout the life of their adoptions.
Open adoptees of color share their perspectives.
We’re seeing a steady rise in the number of children of color we’re placing in transracial adoptions, and with of families of color. We care deeply about the experiences of all the children of color who have been part of our open adoption community over the years. Recently, we checked in with two of them to learn more about their perspectives growing up.
Nathan, who identifies as Black, shared: “My birth and adoptive parents all get along, everyone’s invited to everything and no one isn’t a part of my life. They’re all a giant part of me; they’re the most important people in my life. I have so many different stories that all go into making me who I am as a person. Being transracially adopted has been an adventure. It’s been a journey to find my own identity in the world through my own research and my own determinations of who I am, while having incredibly supportive parents.“
Cameron, who is exploring her Indigenous roots, said: “I’ve grown up in a white culture, but my adoptive parents and my birth dad as well as my birth mom have really made an effort to make sure I’m connected to the Native American side of me, which I really appreciate. My adoptive dad, my birth dad and I go to a pow-wow every Father’s Day to see the dancing, and eat fry bread and look at all the vendors. Being adopted is part of who I am, and I am so thankful to be in contact and have a really good relationship with all my parents, because I think they’re all really cool.”
Watch More Videos from Open Adoptees
Birthmoms testifying at Oregon state legislative session.
OA&FS birthmoms advocate for open adoption.
At Open Adoption & Family Services the voices of pregnant and parenting moms have shaped our agency. So, we ask what they want their all options pregnancy counseling and open adoption experience to look like. Their thoughtful insights and perspective guide our services and programs.
We celebrate our birthmoms’ vision for open adoption.
They brought their stories and passion for open adoption to Salem to ensure legislators reviewing adoption–related bills considered their experiences and point of view. Their voices were heard through written and verbal testimony at the hearing for Senate Bill 814, which directs DHS to provide notice to parents regarding voluntary adoption options. They advocated for birthmoms in all adoptions to have access to the rights that OA&FS provides.
Redefining family: The mindset of inclusion.
What is a “real family”? Did you grow up in a real family? As an adult did you create a real family? At OA&FS we’ve been challenging the social construct of what a real family looks like since our founding in 1985. At our agency, families are created by bringing together a network of friends and family members that encompasses all of the cherished people in the child’s life. As captured in the following family story, these relationships are mutually beneficial; my connections with my children’s birth families are among the most meaningful in my life. Genuine open adoption is about cultivating a mindset of inclusion that breaks down the walls of biology.
What does it mean to have an OA&FS extended family relationship? This will understandably look different for everyone. Every family, whether formed through adoption or biology, is in a constant state of evolution. In our open adoptions babies are born, siblings are welcomed, marriages/partnerships are formed bringing new extended family members, friendships are encouraged, and there is a place for everyone at the table.
This mindset of inclusion provides a guide for OA&FS adoptions that can be extended to a wide spectrum of circumstances. By being hospitious and focusing on the quality of the individual relationships, adoptive parents can create a welcoming environment for all of the players. Since each family is unique, there’s no “right way” to accomplish this. So, for instance, even if a birthparent is out of touch, there may be other birthfamily members, friends, teachers, or mentors who can fill these essential roles in the child’s life. It’s about being flexible, accepting and open to the possibilities.
The relationships we cultivate will be invaluable to our children as they’re launched and enter adulthood. Adopted kids, especially, need to know who’s on their team as they make their way as an independent person in the world.
Our model teaches kids how to build and expand a support system. This new generation of open adoptees will develop their own network of family and friends based on the mindset of inclusion that they actively participated in throughout their childhood. As adoptee Kaya says in the story inside, their family is, and always will be, as real as any other.
How has our culture's view of birth families changed over time?
This infographic illustrates the journey from exclusion to greater inclusion through the decades using contemporary popular media examples.