Wondering where to start? We can help! Adoption can be complicated, but it doesn't have to be.
Check out our resources to understand the process of adoption.
1. Making the Decision to Adopt +
Deciding to adopt is the first step that needs to be taken in the adoption process and requires full commitment before moving forward. Prospective families and parents need to carefully consider this decision after gaining proper knowledge about what to expect and how to prepare emotionally for the process as it can be quite long. Many credible websites offer a variety of information to help in coming to the decision to adopt, and there are also other resources such as adoption counselors and local meetings which can try to help alleviate some stress and questions prospective families may have. Also, having a basic understanding of the costs associated with adoption is important in order to prepare for the process.
2. Selecting the Type of Adoption +
There are a variety of types of adoptions to choose from. Our foundation offers aid for local and intra-family adoption. Local adoption is adoption within a specific geographical region with either a newborn baby or a child.. This type of adoption is generally best for families who do not wish to travel to another state for a child, are on a tight budget, and who value face-to-face contact from the people they work with. Intra-family adoption is the adoption of a child by a stepparent or other relative and is sometimes referred to as “next of kin” adoption. This process is usually much quicker than a normal adoption process and helps keep the child with their biological relatives. One other important factor to consider moving forward is the level of communication kept with birth parents. Adoption cases can be either “open” or “closed” referring to how much the child knows and level of communication with biological parents.
3. Choosing Adoption Professionals to Aid the Process +
Many different types of adoption professionals are involved in the process, however, not all adoption services and professionals provide the same levels of service, the same costs, or the same success rates. Finding an adoption agency (a licensed business regulated by the state that places children in adoptive homes) is the first type of adoption professional to choose. There are many benefits to choosing a local adoption agency compared to a national agency including:
- Clients are able to meet face-to-face more often building trust and understanding with all involved parties.
- The staff and client list for local adoption agencies are usually smaller creating easier and quicker communication.
- Fees are usually less than national agencies.
- Prospective families do not have to travel outside of their geographic region which eliminates extra time and travel costs.
- Local agencies are more heavily monitored by the state than national agencies. Other types of adoption professionals include adoption attorneys, experts in adoption law who represent adoption cases and handle the legal process, and adoption consultants who help to educate prospective parents and families on the adoption process. Each professional will offer different types of costs, education, and guidance during this time so choosing the right ones is an important step.
1. Becoming an Active Family Within the Adoption Agency +
To become an active family within the adoption agency a prospective family wants to work with involves some key steps. The typical requirements that must be met by include:
- Being 21 years of age or older!
- Both parents must be in stable medical condition and emotionally stable
- Pass a criminal history and child abuse evaluations
- Prove financial stability
- Prove a child-friendly and safe home environment
- Complete adoptive parent education (depending on the agency) Other important components involve filling out legal paperwork, creating an adoption plan, and creating adoption parent profiles. A home study must also be completed in which a licensed social worker in the state of Texas will come to the prospective family’s house, interview the family members, and conduct a home inspection.
2. Waiting for an Adoption Opportunity +
After becoming an active family within the adoption agency, the prospective parents must maintain a normal lifestyle throughout the waiting period. Birth parents are able to select adoptive parents from their profiles through the adoption agency, the adoptive parents are then contacted, and the adoptive family can either accept or reject the offer before moving forward.
3. Establishing Communication with the Birth Parents +
An important component to the process is establishing openness and communication between the birth parents and the adopting families. This can help build confidence in the adoption process. Another component to consider is deciding whether or not to keep the adoption “open” or “closed”. Closed adoptions in Texas give little to no information about the birth parents to the adoptive family such as names, medical information, etc. “Semi-open” adoptions in Texas involve sharing of basic information such as the names of birth family members and some level of communication with the biological parents. Open adoptions have a higher level of contact with the biological parents where there is more contact and communication. Open adoptions in Texas give your child opportunities to talk with you about their personal history and adoption and many experts recommend this option for the adoption as it can be crucial to the child’s understanding of their situation.
4. Finalizing the Adoption +
A finalization hearing is one of the last components of the adoption process. After the child has been placed in their home for around 6-12 months, the finalization hearing takes place and includes the adoptive family, the adopted child, the family’s lawyer, and possibly a social worker involved on the case. A judge will then conduct a final review of the adoption.