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What You Need to Know About Adoption in California

There are many different reasons that women choose to place their children for adoption. Some feel that they’re not ready to raise a child. Others are escaping dangerous relationships and want their children to grow up free from abuse.

No matter the circumstances, adoption is a brave and selfless choice! But, birth mothers are often unaware of the support they can receive through the adoption process. From financial assistance to legal services, there are multiple resources available to make sure birth mothers’ needs are met and their rights are protected. Read on to learn more about adoption in California!

What are the Different Types of Adoption?

There are three roads you can take on your adoption journey, depending on how close you’d like to be with your child and the adoptive family in the future. Your options include open, semi-open, and closed adoption.

What is Open Adoption?

As the name implies, open adoption[1] allows you to have open communication with your child and the adoptive family, even after the adoption is finalized. You and the adoptive family can communicate in whatever ways you’re both comfortable with–whether through emails and texting, phone and video calls, or in-person visits!

What is Semi-Open Adoption?

Semi-open adoption[1] is similar to open adoption, except that all communication between the birth mother and adoptive family is managed by the adoption agency. You can choose whether or not to stay in touch after the adoption is finalized, but you can still receive updates and pictures from the adoptive family, usually through a secure portal on the adoption agency’s website.

What is Closed Adoption?

Closed adoption[1] does not allow for any communication between the birth mother and adoptive family. Neither party receives any identifying information, such as names, addresses, or phone numbers. However, the adoptive family does receive a copy of your medical history so they can get the proper care for the child if medical issues arise.

The type of adoption you choose is completely up to you. It all depends on what you feel is the best option based on your unique situation. However, your feelings can change over time. For example, you may start out thinking you’d prefer a semi-open adoption but later switch to an open adoption to be closer to your child.

Can I Choose the Adoptive Parents?

As the birth mother, you are in charge of the kind of upbringing you want your child to have! You can personally select the adoptive parents from a catalog of hopeful families. You can make your selection based on what matters to you, such as their lifestyle and hobbies, religious beliefs, and even personality traits!

Once you’ve been matched with an adoptive family, they are required to complete a home study to evaluate:

  • Their parenting skills and readiness for adoption

  • Their ability to financially provide for the child

  • Where they live (whether they have enough space to house a child, neighborhood safety rates, and community resources)

  • Support system (who they rely on during difficult times)

The purpose of the home study is to ensure the child is placed in a loving and safe environment with a family that can meet all of their needs!

Is There Financial Assistance for Birth Mothers?

Birth mothers deserve nothing but love and support through the adoption process. To help birth mothers thrive before, during, and after the adoption, the adoptive family may cover some of their expenses[2]! This includes:

  • Necessary living expenses

  • Counseling fees

  • Medical and hospital fees

  • Attorney fees

You’re not alone on the adoption journey. Your caseworker, adoption agency, and the adoptive family are here to make sure your needs are met and your voice is heard!

Can I Change My Mind About the Adoption?

Yes! You can back out of the adoption at any point during your pregnancy. After the child is born, California adoption law gives you 30 days to change your mind before the adoption is finalized[3].

Even if you’ve already chosen the adoptive family, you are under no obligation to complete the adoption process. If you have any reservations, speak to your caseworker! They will keep you aware of your rights as the birth mother and help you to speak up for yourself!

Free Adoption Resources in Fresno, CA

If you’re facing an unexpected pregnancy and considering adoption (or want to learn more), speak to a compassionate client advocate at Pregnancy Care Center! We can answer all of your questions and connect you with our trusted adoption partners. They will help you create an adoption plan on your terms, whenever you’re ready.

Call or text us at (559) 237-0683 or request your free appointment today!


  1. Could Open Adoption be the Best Choice for You and Your Baby? Child Welfare Information Gateway. (n.d.). Retrieved from

  2. Birth Mother Expenses Covered by Each State. Texas Adoption Center. (2021, February 24). Retrieved from

  3. Agency Adoptions [8700 - 8720]. California Legislative Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from


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