The Impact of COVID-19 on Adoption in Texas: A New Adoption Process
The whole country – the whole world – has been experiencing stress, fear and a realization of a new normal during this pandemic. We are all living in a constant state of feeling like we are holding our breath. But, somehow, life still goes on. Babies are still being born, and they are in need of a loving home.
During this pandemic, all aspects of society have had to adapt with updated government regulations, guidelines, people’s own personal boundaries. This is the case for the adoption process as well. Adoption Choices of Texas, as well as other adoption agencies in Texas, have had to adapt and change their policies in order to meet the guidelines given to them. The whole process of adoption has had to adapt. From the hospital experience, home studies, adoptive and birth parents meeting, and adoption finalizations, Adoption Choices has had to update these essential elements of the process.
Adoption is an emotional, overwhelming process even without a global pandemic happening. Now, though, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the adoption process has had to take new forms and adapt to the current conditions. It may seem too stressful to handle; but, at the end of the day, placing your baby for adoption is still an available option and can be done successfully.
The Hospital Experience during COVID-19
The impact of COVID-19 on adoption in Texas has affected every aspect of the adoption journey. This includes a birth mother’s experience in the hospital when it’s time to give birth. Currently, hospitals in Texas have had to put in extra safety measures to adapt to the outbreak. Both birth and adoptive parents are also having to change their expectations of the birth and the delivery process will look like.
Giving birth can be a scary and nerve-racking experience under normal circumstances, but with COVID-19, there’s an added amount of stress and anxiety. The Woman’s Hospital of Texas, one of many hospitals in Texas, has announced new guidelines for women expecting to give birth. While the hospital staff is still reassuring birth mothers that their experience will be safe and healthy, birth mothers are being informed of new and additional security measures. For instance, as a birth mother, you are allowed only one visitor in the hospital for delivery. For many expectant women, this means their birth partner. Yet, this selected member must meet and pass the hospital’s health screening requirements before being allowed in.
This is a particularly frustrating new guideline for adoptive parents who, naturally, want to be in the hospital to see their child come into the world. Many adoptive parents are turning to technology to not only view the birth of their new child, but to also form a connection with birth mothers. This, in no way, is a great substitution for in-person meetings, visits, and births. But, it does provide both the birth mothers and adoptive parents the opportunity to form a connection and experience the process of adoption together.
Home Studies during COVID-19
Home studies are an essential part of the adoption process. A home study is a screening of prospective adoptive parents’ home and life, performed by a social worker. It is an essential part of the adoption process that is also being impacted by COVID-19. Depending on your location and how COVID-19 has impacted your particular area, guidelines on how to conduct a home study will be different.
For Adoption Choices, home studies will be completed virtually. Options for a virtual home study varies depending on one’s situation. The most common virtual options are FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype. However, it is important for adoptive parents that they discuss with their caseworkers to work out the details.
How a home study is carried out is based on a case-by-case basis. Every family’s situation will be different, particularly their health situations. But, in general, home studies are having to be carried out in a flexible manner that maintains Texas and the CDC’s safety guidelines such as the use of masks and social distancing.
With the closure of courts, businesses and other public places, the finalization of an adoption is another part of the process that has been impacted by COVID-19 and has had to adapt. For any and all adoptive parents that final court date where your child is legally declared your own is a major event and a day of celebration! However, this day of celebration has had to change with the times.
During pre-pandemic adoption finalization, the adoptive parents would meet in front of a judge with their new soon-to-be son or daughter, and the judge would grant legal custody to the adoptive parents. Now, instead of appearing in a physical courtroom, some adoptive parents are permitted to meet with the judge virtually from home.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Adoption in Texas
COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our society. The reality we are living in is something that no one could ever have imagined. But, the one thing that we humans are good at is adapting. We’ve survived before, and we will continue to do so.
Adoption is no different.
In Texas, the adoption processes have had to change in order to protect all those involved: children, birth parents, adoptive parents, lawyers, social workers, judges, etc. Everyone has something to gain and something to risk during these times. But, children are still out there who need a loving family to sweep them away. The new normal that Texas adoption faces is challenging. It isn’t the status quo process everyone was used to for so long, but we will endure and come out stronger on the other end. Our agency is still very much open and here to support you in any way we can. We have not closed our doors, and have no plans to do so for the duration of the pandemic.
No one wants it to be this way; but, no matter how much the guidelines and processes change, one thing never will. That is the passion, love, and drive to help find children secure, loving, and stable homes.
As an expectant woman or birth parent, to learn more about adoption, contact Adoption Choices of Texas. You can call us at 888-307-3340, text us at 888-307-3340, or email us here. If you are hoping to adopt, please visit us here. We look forward to helping you through your adoption journey!
Meet the Author: Sarah Henderson can best be described as someone with an eclectic taste in all things related to literacy and writing. She can be found reading a wide array of subjects from true crime novels to the next young adult fantasy series. Because of her love of literature, it has been Sarah’s dream to become a novelist herself.
After graduating from college in 2019, Sarah has been spending her time planning, researching and writing for her first novel.
When she isn’t reading or writing her novel, you can find Sarah out for her early morning run, hiking a three-plus mile hike or cooking her favorite vegan meal. She presently lives in Indianapolis, IN and is waiting for the next chapter of her life to begin!