The adoption process has several parts. It may seem daunting at the beginning, but our expert staff are here to help you every step of the way.
The Home Study
The adoption home study is the first step in the adoption process. Although it requires a visit from a social worker or agency counselor, and the submission of some personal documents, it is not a pass or fail test. The home study is an opportunity for you to have counseling on the adoption process, to explore your needs and desires in the adoption process, and for our agency to understand how to help you make the best adoption plan for your family. Click here to learn more.
Once your home study is complete, you will need to submit an application to be a “waiting family” with Adoption Choices of Texas. This means that we will be preparing you to match with one of our birth families in an adoption plan that meets your unique needs. Click to download our Adoptive Parent Application (Texas Resident Application) (Out-Of-State Resident Application).
The Adoptive Family Profile
In order to connect you with the birth family that will make your adoption dreams come true, we have to show a profile of your family that helps the birth family learn about your family and why you are adopting. We will help you to create a profile that presents your wonderful family to birth parents who want to make an adoption plan with you. Click here to learn more.
The matching process is where we connect you with a birth family to make an adoption plan. We will present you with opportunities to show your profile to birth families after disclosing the health history and general circumstances of the birth parents, as well as the anticipated costs of the particular adoption plan. If you agree to have your profile shown, the birth family will review your profile and decide to make an adoption plan with you. You only pay our agency placement fees once you are matched with a birth family.
In the pre-placement period, you will be connected with the adoption counselor who is working with that birth family. This ensures that you are up-to-date on things like prenatal care and developments in the pregnancy and the birth mother’s life. This is also the time when you can begin to make a personal connection to the birth family, if that is part of your adoption plan.
Birth, Relinquishment, and Placement
The big day has arrived! We will have put together a hospital plan at this point so everyone, including the doctors and nurses, know what to expect when the baby is born. Depending on your adoption plan, you may be spending a lot of time with the birth family at this point. Even if that is not part of the plan, we will make sure that you are fully involved in the baby’s care shortly after birth. The birth family will sign paperwork allowing the adoption to happen with our agency, and you will sign paperwork taking on the responsibilities of being new adoptive parents. You will discharge the baby from the hospital and, if you don’t live in Texas, we will get the interstate placement process started.
Interstate Placement for Families Outside of Texas
Every state has their own requirements for interstate adoption, and we will work with the demands of your state to make your return home a speedy one. However, you should plan to spend at least one week in Texas after the baby is discharged from the hospital. We have to work with two state government offices to get approval for the baby to return home with you, but we are very familiar with the procedures of most states and will work to have you back home as soon as possible.
Every adoption requires some supervision after you go home with your baby. Usually this is done b the social worker or agency who did your home-study. There will be several visits in the six months after your adoptive placement occurs and reports will be written documenting that the adoption is going well. Click here to learn more about the post-placement period.
Post Adoption Communication
Every adoption plan will have its own level of openness. We will set you up with our post-adoption communication service which ensures that you have easy, well-structured, and confidential contact with the birth family in your adoption plan. Click here to learn more about post-adoption communication.
You have returned home and completed your post-placement contacts with your social worker. Now our agency sends your attorney our approval to finalize the adoption and you get a court date. If you don’t live in Texas, you have the option of finalizing the adoption here, but that usually requires at least one adoptive parent to come back for the hearing. Finalizing in Texas isn’t usually required, though, so you may be able to have a hearing in your home town to finalize the adoption. Once the judge signs an adoption decree, you can get a new birth certificate listing you as the adoptive parents and a new social security card for your baby so you can get your adoption tax credits. Congratulations! Your adoption journey is now complete. Until you decide it is time to adopt again…
Levels Of Openness In Adoption
Adoption is a shared gift of love between two families. Openness in adoption is a continuum and no single arrangement is right for everyone. Through careful consideration of options, a child-focused approach and commitment, you will be able to decide on the amount of openness that is right for your family. While birth parent and adoptive parent relationships may seem awkward at first, over time, the involved individuals typically become more comfortable with the plan they have chosen and pleased with their decisions. Creating openness between the birth family and the adoptive family provides a child with a lifetime of loving and meaningful relationships. Please remember, in open adoptions and semi open adoptions, the level of openness is changing and shifting throughout the adoption and after birth.
Confidential (Closed) Adoption
In a Closed Adoption, there is no contact between birth parents and adoptive parents, with the exception of the birth parents’ non-identifying social/medical information that is provided to the adoptive parents. This type of adoption is rare in private adoption situations due to social media and the internet.
In a Semi-Open Adoption, birth parents and adoptive parents usually meet prior to the birth of the child, and the adoptive parents are often times present for the birth. After placement, communication, such as pictures, texting, phone calls, letters and emails, may occur. Last names and addresses of both parties are not disclosed, unless otherwise agreed upon by the birth parents and adoptive parents. This type of adoption allows for communication between the birth parents and adoptive parents while also maintaining some privacy. Keep in mind, the level of openness is always changing and shifting throughout the adoption and after placement; relationships change as time goes on.
In an Open Adoption, birth parents and adoptive parents are in direct contact with one another and share identifying information with each other. This type of adoption may involve the methods listed above in the semi-open adoption as well as in-person visits, without going through the Agency. The plan for openness is decided and agreed upon by both the birth parents and the adoptive parents. Open adoptions allow the child to connect more easily to his or her birth parents and to maintain a relationship. Keep in mind, the level of openness is always changing and shifting throughout the adoption and after placement; relationships change as time goes on.
Please Note: In the State of Texas, semi-open and open adoption agreements (informal and formal) are not enforceable by law. However, a written agreement should be completed and birth parents and adoptive parents should be given a copy as well as a copy being placed in the file.