This is how to choose a family for your child, if you need to make adoption plans.

Perhaps you’re facing an unwanted pregnancy. Maybe you’re already parenting but wish you weren’t. Either way, you’re not alone. (Like, really. There’s more people in your shoes right now than you know.)

Typically, “CPC” stands for crisis pregnancy center. That’s one of those places some women go to talk about pregnancy options or to go to parenting classes to get free stuff in order to keep a baby they likely weren’t planning on. But in truth, every year, thousands of Americans find themselves in a CPC– as in “can’t parent crisis.”

People are having to work longer hours and multiple jobs just to stay afloat. There are currently more homeless children in America than there have been in a decade. More parents are struggling with opioid addiction than at any other time in recent history. Child Protective Services has thousands of warehoused kids whose parents won’t ever get them back. Not everybody can (or should) be a parent.

Whatever the reason, sometimes, adoption can truly be a better choice. If you need to consider permanent options like adoption, be sure to begin by choosing an ethical adoption agency in Texas like Abrazo. We can help you consider all your choices, and maybe also learn how to choose a family for your child or children.

Start by getting counseling.

Sure, it’s more fun to jump right into reviewing waiting parent profiles. But please, take the time to learn about all the alternatives to adoption first. Leave no stone unturned in your quest to make the best choices you can for you and your child. At Abrazo, all counseling services are free. So if you can’t find counseling resources on your own, call Abrazo for referrals or for free sessions.

Choose an open adoption agency, whether or not you choose an open adoption.

Why? Because open adoption agencies are all about truth and transparency. Even if you don’t want to participate in an open adoption, you need to know your agency is going to be truthful and transparent with you. (And anyone who shades the truth by proposing a semi-open or semi-honest arrangement shouldn’t be trusted!) Abrazo respects any placing parent’s right to decide how much information and access they want, initially. All our adoptive families are also open to fully-open adoption arrangements, in case you end up wanting more contact, now or in the future.

Know how adoption works & what will work for you.

Open adoption doesn’t take the grief out of adoption decisions, and closed adoption doesn’t, either. In Texas, open adoptions are voluntary (not legally-enforceable) so make sure you understand the process. Don’t enter into any legal arrangements without having all the details in writing ahead of time. Even if you’re thinking of relinquishing parental rights, you DO have the right to choose your child’s family. You can get to know them, and to voluntarily keep in touch after placement, if everyone agrees. (And if everyone doesn’t agree, then it’s your right to consider that a deal-breaker and walk away and make other plans.)

Talk with any prospective families in advance of deciding on anything or anyone.

We know texting may be more comfortable, but trust us, you’re going to need to talk, too. Anyone can write anything and professional marketers can put together a profile that makes anyone look pretty on paper (or online.) Eliminate anyone who isn’t willing to share their personal identifying information (details about who they are and where they work and where they live) upfront. (You wouldn’t even trust a babysitter who hid that info, would you?) Interview as many prospective adoptive couples as you need to, and don’t promise anyone anything. Hold off until after you’ve narrowed down all your options, exchanged identifying inf (last names, addresses, etc.) and met in person.

That’s right– meet in person, long before it’s time to sign legal papers.

Don’t let anyone (friends, relatives, adoption professionals, or the hopeful adopters themselves) just vouch for the people you’re consider to be your child’s future parents. You need to be able to spend in-person time with them, and hopefully not just when they’re hoping you’ll sign adoption papers in a few hours. If they’re from out of state, let them demonstrate their commitment to getting to know you by traveling to spend a weekend getting acquainted. Ask the tough questions, like “how will you deal with possible attachment issues after placement?” or “what marital issues have you already overcome?” or “which of my traits do you hope to see in our child, if I do place with you?” or “how do I know I can trust you, now and in the years to come?” You can even ask if they’re willing to share their background checks and homestudy with you, assuming you’re willing to be just as open with them about your history.

Walk away if it doesn’t feel right.

If you feel there are red flags for any reason prior to placement, you always have the right to walk away from your plan, and choose another. Don’t let any hopeful adoptive parent or adoption worker beg you for assurance over and over that you won’t change your mind. Because that’s your right, number one. And number two: repeated pleas for promises of placement are coercive. That is one of the red flags to watch out for. (It’s also illegal.) You don’t “owe” your child to anyone. All you owe is to your child, to make the very best decision you can, whether you place or parent.

Abrazo has been helping Texas birthparents for almost three decades now. If you need help learning how to choose a family for your child, call 1-800-454-5683 for some free counseling or visit abrazo.org to learn more about your options here.

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Placing parents calling from Texas or surrounding states:

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