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ElizabethAnn

What Happens When? And Then?

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ElizabethAnn    687

It'd be GREAT if we could offer "orientation weekends" for extended family members going through the adoption process with their loved ones; however, since that's not feasible, here's a step-by-step guide for the folks back home. Here's a general overview of what your son or daughter and their spouse must do/are doing/have done to adopt at Abrazo:

ADMISSIONS: the process by which people wanting to adopt are approved to join the agency

1) Inquiry (or "preapplication")

2) Application

3) Orientation Weekend

TIMING: usually takes 1-3 months

ACTIVATION: the process of qualifying for consideration by birthparents seeking adoptive homes

1) Submitting contracts and fees within ten (10) days of orientation completion

2) Completing a "profile", a 4-6 page "Dear Birthparent" letter depicting the couple and their lives. Pregnant women who are planning to place their babies will review these in the course of their search for the right family for their child.

3) Complete a "homestudy," an official assessment of the family's readiness for adoption by a licensed social worker, based on background checks, a home inspection and no less than 5 face-to-face individual and joint interviews done in no less than 3 days

TIMING: usually takes 1 month or less

MATCHING: the process of finding the right mother/child with whom to plan an adoption

1) Phone Calls with expectant parents are set up by Abrazo; most birthparents will talk with 3 or more families before deciding which one feels like the right home for their child.

2) When chosen, that cople receives a "Case Assessment," the agency's presentation of available case information, for their review

3) Commitment decision is made (family has 24 hours to decide whether or not they wish to be "matched" with the prospective parents, and must return their answer in writing to Abrazo.)

TIMING: takes anywhere from less than 1 month to more than 1 year, depending on family's specifications and readiness to match.

GROWING: the process of preparing for the child's arrival

1) Building what is intended to become a lifelong relationship between birthparents and adoptive parents, through phone calls, mailings and visits

2) Teaching adopting family what their future child will need them to know, through "homework" assignments (books, lessons, support group meetings, classes) they must complete

3) Monthly "check-in calls" with the agency worker (our "family services coordinator") and the Forum

4) In most cases, the adopting family is invited by the birthmother to be present at the hospital for the birth of the child; the two families together welcome the child into the world and spend the first 2 days of the child's life celebrating his/her arrival.

TIMING: takes generally 4 months or less (since most birthmoms match no sooner than 5 months into a pregnancy)

PLACEMENT: the process of transferring a child from the birthfamily to the adopting family

1) More than 48 hours after the birth and when physically/emotionally ready, the birthparents permanently surrender all parental rights to Abrazo, if appropriate, by completing "relinquishment" documents.

2) Abrazo, as the child's legal guardian, entrusts the child to the adopting parents' care through completion of placement documents.

3) The adoptive family must remain in Texas for 7-10 days while Abrazo waits for "I.C.P.C." (Interstate Compact) approval for the child to cross state lines to go home with the adopting family. During this time, it is essential that the adoptive parents continue to spend time with the baby and birthfamily together, to support them in their grief and to enable the newborn/child to be nurtured by both families.

TIMING: generally 1-2 weeks

SUPERVISION: state-required 'proving period' before actual "adoption" can occur

1) Monthly reports, completed by adopting family and sent to Abrazo

2) Monthly check-in calls between adopting family and Abrazo

3) Ongoing communication between adopting family and birthfamily, to assure both of the other's wellbeing and to share baby's progress

Quarterly supervisory visits between entire adopting family and homestudy worker, with reports being sent to Abrazo for each.

TIMING: at least 6 months, or more (may be extended by Abrazo up to 18 months if child is not a newborn at time of placement, if it's a sibling placement, or if the adopting family is experiencing extenuating circumstances.)

ADOPTION: the actual process of legally completing an adoption arrangement.

1) Adopting family receives clearance from Abrazo to begin finalization (cannot occur until all needed social work activities are done, file is complete and all medical providers' bills related to child's birth are cleared in full.)

2) Adopting family hires the Bexar County attorney of their choice to represent them in final hearing.

3) Abrazo permanently waives its guardianship rights over the child.

4) Adopting couple attends court hearing at which a judge approves their adoption of the child.

5) Abrazo closes the file and stores it for "perpetuity" according to state law.

TIMING: usually 8 weeks from receipt of clearance to court appearance.

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Elaine    1

Does Abrazo provide a handguide type thing for adoptive Grandparent's etc? I don't remember giving anything of that sort to my parents and Mickey's parents...but a lot has happened in the past 18 months. Maybe I did and have just forgotten. ???

Anyhow, in our case I know literature geared specifically for grandparents would have been so handy. They had lots of questions and I think may have felt a little left out of the process. Things like this thread or literature along these lines would have helped them to have understood the process a bit better and been more involved in the "labor of love" we were undertaking.

I do remember giving each of them a book specifically written for extended family concerning adoption. I picked that up from tapestrybooks I think.

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moorekid    0

I remember reading anything I could get from Colleen but always felt there was something more I should know or could do for her and Tom. Abrazo is so effiecent with every aspect of the process I'm surprised you girls haven't come up with any literature for grandparents, and how about a T shirt for us proud ones who want to do some advertising for you? Not to mention just plan proud to wear it.

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S&P Express    22

Elizabeth,

Great timeline, it would be nice if there was a handout to give to extended family. I like the idea of getting the hand out at orientaiton. :D

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ElizabethAnn    687

Just a thought for the newest grandma-to-be; if your newest granddaughter's birthmom's mother is involved with and/or supportive of the placement plan, why not send a special note of tribute to the birthgrandma? This is often a tough time for them, to stand by as their daughter places a child for adoption and not feel able to do more to spare her this grief; perhaps a word of gratitude from you would ease her soul and lift her spirits, as well.

A few orientation weekends ago, one of the birthmoms who spoke on our panel had all the incoming adopting parents in tears as she showed off a special necklace she was wearing. It had been left to her in a will drawn up by the adoptive grandmother of the son she'd placed. She'd had a very special relationship with that adoptive dad's mom, having met her at the time of placement, and was deeply touched when this family keepsake was entrusted to her-- acknowledging her special place in that family forever.

Finally, Sharon, I appreciate your feedback! So many of our adopting parents seem so private, it never occurred to us that their relatives might welcome literature (beyond that little letter we send the adopting family to share with the extended family members.) And I LOVE the "Proud Abrazo Grandparent" tshirt idea! (No doubt our staff will blanche at the idea of having to store more inventory, since space is a premium in our office these days, but hey-- what better reason is there for expanding, than growing our Family every which way?) :)

Congrats on the pending homecoming of that new grandbaby. Enjoy every precious moment!

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moorekid    0

Just a thought for the newest grandma-to-be; if your newest granddaughter's birthmom's mother is involved with and/or supportive of the placement plan, why not send a special note of tribute to the birthgrandma? This is often a tough time for them, to stand by as their daughter places a child for adoption and not feel able to do more to spare her this grief; perhaps a word of gratitude from you would ease her soul and lift her spirits, as well.

A few orientation weekends ago, one of the birthmoms who spoke on our panel had all the incoming adopting parents in tears as she showed off a special necklace she was wearing. It had been left to her in a will drawn up by the adoptive grandmother of the son she'd placed. She'd had a very special relationship with that adoptive dad's mom, having met her at the time of placement, and was deeply touched when this family keepsake was entrusted to her-- acknowledging her special place in that family forever.

Finally, Sharon, I appreciate your feedback! So many of our adopting parents seem so private, it never occurred to us that their relatives might welcome literature (beyond that little letter we send the adopting family to share with the extended family members.) And I LOVE the "Proud Abrazo Grandparent" tshirt idea! (No doubt our staff will blanche at the idea of having to store more inventory, since space is a premium in our office these days, but hey-- what better reason is there for expanding, than growing our Family every which way?) :)

Congrats on the pending homecoming of that new grandbaby. Enjoy every precious moment!

Thank you Elizabeth everything seems so bright and beautiful today I don't think anything could ruin it even my fight with a garbage can this morning( that's all I will say). And if one wanted to send a note how would we go about having it delivered? Also I'm glad you liked the T shirt idea, does that mean first one off the press is mine?? I have really been singing Abrazos praises here and know of one couple that might have visited the Forum, so I'll keep singing.

Have a great day- can't wait to see the first pics of MY Grandbaby!!!! Sharron

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moorekid    0

Just a thought for the newest grandma-to-be; if your newest granddaughter's birthmom's mother is involved with and/or supportive of the placement plan, why not send a special note of tribute to the birthgrandma? This is often a tough time for them, to stand by as their daughter places a child for adoption and not feel able to do more to spare her this grief; perhaps a word of gratitude from you would ease her soul and lift her spirits, as well.

A few orientation weekends ago, one of the birthmoms who spoke on our panel had all the incoming adopting parents in tears as she showed off a special necklace she was wearing. It had been left to her in a will drawn up by the adoptive grandmother of the son she'd placed. She'd had a very special relationship with that adoptive dad's mom, having met her at the time of placement, and was deeply touched when this family keepsake was entrusted to her-- acknowledging her special place in that family forever.

Finally, Sharon, I appreciate your feedback! So many of our adopting parents seem so private, it never occurred to us that their relatives might welcome literature (beyond that little letter we send the adopting family to share with the extended family members.) And I LOVE the "Proud Abrazo Grandparent" tshirt idea! (No doubt our staff will blanche at the idea of having to store more inventory, since space is a premium in our office these days, but hey-- what better reason is there for expanding, than growing our Family every which way?) :)

Congrats on the pending homecoming of that new grandbaby. Enjoy every precious moment!

Thank you Elizabeth everything seems so bright and beautiful today I don't think anything could ruin it even my fight with a garbage can this morning( that's all I will say). And if one wanted to send a note how would we go about having it delivered? Also I'm glad you liked the T shirt idea, does that mean first one off the press is mine?? I have really been singing Abrazos praises here and know of one couple that might have visited the Forum, so I'll keep singing.

Have a great day- can't wait to see the first pics of MY Grandbaby!!!! Sharron

After this whole wonderful experience I would encourage even more for Grandparents to get involved on the Forum and in your childrens adoption process. It helped me and my family emtionally and spiritually so much, and helped us understand the whole process so much better. And of course with out the wonderful ladies at Abrazo we would all be lost.

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Stork Central    1,050

Just wanted to bump this topic up for the relatives of all the new folks who are joining us for orientation this weekend! Howdy, y'all! 

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DPJ    227

Great info

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1st x grandma    412

As a birth grandma (Nana), I am so grateful to have an on going open role in my angel girl's life and her family's life. And blessed beyond belief to  be able to call her adoptive grandparents friends (and share in the ability to spoil OUR granddaughter) :wub:

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