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When a couple decides to adopt, they must first decide what type of adoption they would like to pursue.

California lets people adopt in both open and closed ways. After placement, the birth mother decides not to have any contact with her child. When a child turns 18, her biological mother can contact her, or she can contact her. Closed adoption is possible, but experts say that open adoption is better for everyone.

Open Adoption

There is no universally accepted definition of “open adoption” in California due to the wide variety of experiences that give rise to the term. The frequency of visits between birth mothers and their children varies widely. It is not uncommon for birth mothers to maintain tight relationships with their children by staying in the same area. Others are located farther distant. While some biological mothers keep in constant contact with their adopted children, others only see them on visitation occasions.

Most adoptions in the United States are open, which means that the adoptive family and the birth parents know each other’s identities.

In open adoption the child’s biological parents maintain some degree of contact with the child after placement with the adoptive family.

The arrangement can be terminated at any time by either party since it is a voluntary agreement between the adoptive family and the birth parents.


  • Open adoption allows for a more open exchange of information between the adoptive family and the birth family. This can help to heal any emotional wounds and provide a sense of closure for both parties.
  • Open adoption also allows the child to have a relationship with their adoptive family and birth family. This can provide a sense of security and belonging and a better understanding of their personal history.
  • The birth parents take comfort in knowing that their child is being raised in a loving home, and they can remain involved in their child’s life.


  • It is essential to have honest and open communication about what everyone is comfortable with regarding to the level of contact, and frequency.
  • Adoptees may have mixed feelings when they start understanding their birth family, and it is essential to have a sound support system.
  • The adoptee, the birth family, and the adoptive family are all responsible for ensuring the relationship is healthy and supportive. If problems arise, it is essential to address them head-on and seek professional help.

Legal Nuances

Some states only allow closed adoption; in others, an open adoption agreement may need to be notarized to be legally binding.

Even in states where an open adoption is an option, there are still some legal restrictions on what type of contact can be maintained between the two families.

For example, some states only allow communication through a third-party intermediary, such as an adoption agency or attorney. In contrast, some states allow more direct contact, such as visits or phone calls.

Closed Adoption

There are options for open and closed adoption in the Golden State. In this scenario, the birth mother decides to cut off all communication with her kid after placement. A child’s biological mother may initiate contact with her once she reaches the age of majority (18). Although closed adoptions are feasible, experts agree that open adoptions are preferable for all parties involved.

People who are feeling vulnerable and threatened because of the adoption of a child may find comfort in the solitude of a closed adoption. Birth moms who are concerned about how they will justify their choice to adopt might benefit from a closed adoption since their anxiety is reduced.

Closed adoptions are adoptions in which the identity of the birth parents is not disclosed to the adoptive family.

In a closed adoption, the adoption agency or attorney may be able to provide some non-identifying information about the birth parents, but all other information is kept confidential.

Some birth parents may want to keep their identity confidential for personal reasons. Others may worry that the child will be confused if he or she knows that there are two sets of parents.

Some adoptive parents may also prefer a closed adoption because it allows them to control how many contacts, they have with the birth parents.


Open adoption is good for everyone in California. It will be easy for the birth mother to get to know the adoptive parents of her child. Adoptive parents benefit when they know their child’s birth mother and tell their child the truth about adoption. Adopted kids get the most out of the love of two families. Open adoptions help kids see that adoption is a natural and beautiful thing.

  • If the birth parents don’t want their children to know who they are for personal reasons, they can choose to remain anonymous.
  • Closed adoptions allow the adoptive family to fully commit to the child without fear of interference from the birth family. The child also knows that they have a permanent family who loves them.
  • Additionally, closed adoptions help to protect the adoptee from any potential harm that could come from having their information open to the public.


  • Getting information about your child’s birth family or medical history can be difficult. This can be a concern if your child has special needs or a medical condition.
  • Closed adoption can make it difficult for adoptees who want to know more about their birth family.
  • Finally, closed adoption can be expensive, as you will likely have to hire an attorney to help facilitate the adoption.

Legal Nuances

In most states, the birth parents do not have any legal rights after the adoption is finalized; thus, they can’t be able to follow up on the child.

In a closed adoption, birth parents don’t have any say in the child’s upbringing, education, and health care. Additionally, the birth family has no legal right to information about the adoptive family or the child.

It’s worth noting that closed adoptions are not legally binding in all states; where birth parents and the child can contact each other without going through the legal process.

This can have some drawbacks. First, it can be challenging to track down the birth parents if the child decides they want to contact them. Second, the birth parents may not be prepared to deal with the emotional fallout of a reunion. Finally, it could open up old wounds between the child and the birth parents.

Legal Requirements For Adoption in California 

Adopters in California must be at least 10 years older than the child. Adoption regulations may be reduced for stepparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Criminal background checks are part of the home study procedure.

The mentally and emotionally draining adoption process is one in which Minella Law Group is available to provide professional guidance and support.

•••Minella Law Group At Your Aid•••

The Minella Law Group has helped many families through the adoption process. We can help you navigate the paperwork, the home study process, and the legalities involved in open adoption.

We understand the importance of this decision and will work hard to ensure everything goes smoothly. Please call us at  (619) 289-7948 for a complimentary consultation. 





[this article has been updated for 2024]

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