Abrazo has been a leader in toddler adoption in Texas since 1994.
Most people assume that adoption is just for babies. But toddler adoption is an essential option in child placement planning, as well.
Mothers who consider adoption during pregnancy are often persuaded by others to “just keep the baby” after birth. They do this assuming all who promised to help with the baby will follow through. Sadly, though, they often find out those were empty promises. They do their best to get by. Yet the same problems that led them to consider adoption during pregnancy still exist. And now, so does a child they feel unprepared to parent– whether due to poverty, addiction or abuse.
Abrazo is one of the few Texas adoption agencies that welcomes toddler adoptions, sibling adoptions and adoptions for older children, too.
A New Life for Ninny
Wynne had thought about giving her baby up for adoption throughout pregnancy. Or she did, until her baby’s father showed up at the hospital with a pack of diapers and a long list of promises.
But that was the first and last time he ever saw his baby girl, Ninny. His wife made sure of that. Once Wynne took the baby home from the hospital, he changed his phone number and then moved. Wynne tried to parent on her own, but she lost her fast food job because she didn’t have daycare, and she couldn’t afford daycare on the jobs she could get offered. By the time she called the adoption agency her daughter was two. When the adoption agency suggested counseling before placing, Wynne responded “either you find a home for her, or I’ll leave her at the Stop ‘N Go.”
It may have sounded heartless, but Wynne was at her wit’s end. She didn’t want some agency counselor telling her to try foster care or kinship placement instead. Wynne just wanted her daughter to have the home she should’ve had from the start. She wanted to return to being a twenty-something without the burdens of premature parenthood. Wynne didn’t want her destiny nor her child’s to depend on a deadbeat dad who kept letting them both down.
Placing her child for adoption two years late wasn’t ideal, but it gave both this child and her mama a chance to start again. That’s a “do-over” that Abrazo has afforded numerous parents and their children, over the years, with much success.
How Toddler Adoptions Work
When parents contact Abrazo to place a child they’ve been raising, the process is much like any other adoption. The parents are offered alternatives, options and counseling. They have the opportunity to interview prospective families. The agency schedules pre-placement checkups for the child/ren, and the child/ren are provided counseling, also.
The adoptive family that’s chosen receives all available background information prior to placement. They come for preplacement visits with the placing parents and child/ren. Placement is followed by an interfamily activity, and then the families continue direct contact over the weeks and months that follow.
The birthfamily and adopting family continue to receive post-placement counseling from Abrazo, as long as it’s needed. (Texas prohibits payment of post-placement living assistance or subsidies following toddler placements, however.) Any pending CPS (Child Protective Services) investigations that were pending generally end after placement, as do any ongoing child support obligations.
How Do the Children Adjust?
Abrazo counsels adoptive families of toddlers and older children to view the adjustment process as a marathon, not a sprint. Toddler adoption is a transition that entails grief, trials and adaptation for children as well as parents.
For younger children, transitions are typically more successful if they go directly from their birthfamily to their adoptive home without multiple placements or caregivers in between. Abrazo’s adopting parents are counseled to give the child/ren time to adapt and bond in their own time. Their job is to provide both nurture and safety, while the toddler tests the security of his/her new environment and those within it.
Continued counseling in the new home is important for all, as is ongoing communication with the birthfamily. An essential component of successful post-placement adjustment is realistic expectations on the part of the adopting parents, and preplacement preparation plays a big role, too. For any child of any age, the loss of the original family can be a source of trauma; helping children to understand their change of homes, express grief in appropriate ways and build new, secure attachments is a process that requires patience, love, and empathy.
All in all, though, toddlers tend to adapt beautifully when not subjected to abuse, and this is why Abrazo’s toddler adoptions result in both healthy attachments and placement permanence. Call Abrazo (1-800-454-5683) if we can help you with a toddler adoption, whether you’re considering placing a toddler or adopting one.
Toddler adoption is never a simple decision– but if it changes at least one life for the better, it’s all worth the effort.