Adoption 101

Adoption 101

Welcome to Adoption 101! Since this is a beginner’s class, feel free to take a seat and if you want to take notes, that’s up to you.

How does adoption work?

Adoption is a permanent legal procedure by which a baby or child or adult is legally freed from the authority of one parent or set of parents in order to be legally adopted by another parent or set of parents. The process has to be recognized by the courts and it must be completed without force, coercion, duress or fraud in order to be binding.

What is open adoption?

In an open adoption, the parties exchange identifying information, get to know each other and keep in touch afterwards so that the child doesn’t have to forever lose his or her birthfamily in order to gain the stability of his or her adoptive home. Open adoption is legally as safe as any other adoption, legally.

Do parents who give up children for adoption get paid?

Parents who place a child for adoption can never be financially compensated for having allowed their child to be adopted. Birthparents in Texas can receive limited pregnancy-related support from a licensed adoption agency like Abrazo, but the adoptive parents can never give them money nor gifts of value, nor can they ask for this to be done.

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How can adopted children know and love two families?

The same way that any child can grow up knowing and loving two or more parents or four or more grandparents or more than one sibling. Adoptees clearly understand which parents are raising them and which birthed them, and open adoption is far less confusing to adopted kids than growing up in adoptive homes that try to hide their adoption stories or their birthfamilies from them.

What do adoption agencies do?

Licensed adoption agencies like Abrazo help to counsel, educate and prepare both the birthparents and the adoptive family. They help match them, they arrange for housing and medical care, they do background checks and homestudies and case supervision, they obtain the legal documents the attorney will need to file with the courts, and they provide for the physical and emotional care of both families before and after placement. Good agencies help to answer the adoptee’s questions over the years and they offer ongoing post-adoption support to all the members of the adoption triad for decades to come.

Can adoptions happen across state lines?

Absolutely; Abrazo works with adoptive families from all states except New York. Families adopting from a state other than their own have to go through something called “ICPC” (or “Interstate Compact” for short) which regulates the transfer of any child across state lines for the purposes of adoption or foster care.

Why is adoption so expensive?

Adoptions are not expensive when the taxpayers subsidize all the thousands of dollars that it costs for medical care, social work, legal services, maternity needs and foster care. However, when people do not adopt children through the State, then all these costs are covered by the adopting parent(s) since they are the party seeking to be the adopter(s.)

Can birthparents take their child back afterwards?

In Texas, adoptions done through a licensed adoption agency like Abrazo are considered “irrevocable” (which means not reversible) so once the birthparents have legally surrendered a child for adoption, their decision is permanent and there is no grace period.

Does a father have to sign before a baby can be given up for adoption?

Texas law does not grant a presumption of paternity to an alleged father who is not married to the baby’s mother nor to a man who has not legitimated a child by legally acknowledging paternity and exercising paternal responsibility. Unmarried mothers in Texas are generally free to proceed with adoption planning without an alleged father’s consent, unless a court rules otherwise.

What do prospective adoptive parents have to do to adopt at Abrazo?

Prospective adoptive parents can find Abrazo’s admissions criteria, policies and fees on the agency’s website. They start by downloading the preapplication (called the AP Inquiry form), then after submitting that, they complete a full application and then they come to an orientation weekend, in order to get accepted and get a homestudy done.

What does a prospective birthparent have to do to place at Abrazo?

Prospective birthparents can call Abrazo any hour of the day or night by dialing 1-210-342-5683 or they can text “adoptionhelp” to 210-860-5683 to get immediate assistance, because Abrazo’s counselors are available to parents needing to place 24/7.

There’s plenty more to learn about adoption at Abrazo, of course. But we don’t want to wear you out right from the start, so spend some time perusing Abrazo’s website, then join the Abrazo Forum and learn even more.

And then, when you’re ready, get in touch with Abrazo and you’ll be on your way to a successful adoption experience here in no time.

Adoption 101, class is dismissed!

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