Wondering how adoption works? There are lots of different kinds of adoptions, There are domestic adoptions and international adoptions, private agency adoptions and attorney adoptions and public (state) adoptions. But if you’re interested in how adoption works at Abrazo, here’s the simplest breakdown of the process…
How Adoption Works for Abrazo’s Placing Parents
Abrazo is a private, nonprofit agency. We’re state-licensed to provide adoption services for placing parents. Whenever someone calls Abrazo wanting to make an adoption plan for their child (born or not-yet-born), Abrazo answers every hour, day and night. Prospective birthparents at Abrazo have a degreed staff member available anytime, whether for intake or emergencies.
Moms who contact Abrazo for services can receive free options counseling, with no obligation to complete a placement. Abrazo helps parents placing newborns or toddlers, or sometimes even sibling groups. Our agency helps with applying for public assistance, finding medical care, and exploring alternatives to adoption. When needed, we can provide financial help with housing, groceries, clothing or other pregnancy-related needs. Expectant moms can get free rides to the doctor or to Abrazo to learn all about open adoption and why it is better not just for parents, but especially for kids who are adopted.
Prospective birthparents can review profiles of waiting adoptive families. They can even choose a home and begin getting to know the prospective family if they wish. Yet all throughout the pregnancy &/or placement planning period, mothers still retain their right to change their minds about placement. No decision is final until or unless relinquishment is done– at least 48 hours after birth. (And those who change their minds about placing owe agencies nothing but an honest answer, of course– that’s the law, here in Texas.)
For parents who do place their children for adoption, our regard for how adoption works, at Abrazo, does not end with placement. Our agency continues to provide post-adoption counseling to help birthparents adapt to life after relinquishment. Abrazo birthparents can keep participating in our community by attending weekly support group meetings, coming to Camp Abrazo and reuniting with other birthparents at Homecomings. We also continue to advocate for our clients, to help ensure that open adoption commitments are honored by both parties– for the adoptees’ sake.
How Adoption Makes People Parents
Adopting parents with documented infertility contact Abrazo because they know our program advocates for transparency (honesty) in our open adoption processes. We’ve developed a reputation over the years for doing quality open adoptions that put the needs of adoptees first. We don’t just tell adopting parents or birthparents what they want to hear. We educate them about what they need to know, in order to build the sort of relationships that benefit adopted kids all across the lifespan.
When adopting parents apply with Abrazo, we see our duties as being multi-dimensional. We want to help them process their pre-adoption losses. This equips them to help their future child and his or her birthparents negotiate any post-adoption losses. We educate adopting parents, to help them understand why openness is so important. Knowing why doing adoption the right way for the right reasons really matters– before and after placement. We guide them through the homestudy and then through matching. We try to keep them informed throughout the placement process, and then offer ongoing post-placement and post-adoption support and information, to help them be the best adoptive parents they can be.
The services adoption agencies offer to prospective birthparents are subsidized by the fees adoptive parents pay for their services, yet they know that these services may or may not result in a successful placement. Agencies cannot act prejudiciously on behalf of adopting parents just because they’re paying the bills. At Abrazo, all our clients know this. By the same token, adopting parents cannot “call all the shots” or decide how much maternity support is necessary in any given match. Why not? Because the agency is charged by law with acting at all times in the best interests of the children.
That’s right: every child is our primary client, here at Abrazo (born or unborn.) After all, that’s who we must all answer to, someday.
How Abrazo Works for Adoptees
Whenever a child is placed for adoption here, Abrazo becomes that child’s managing conservator (or legal guardian.) This continues from the time relinquishment is signed until a judge issues an adoption decree, some 6-18 months later. Each child is usually placed immediately with the adopting parents chosen by the placing parents. However, the adopting parents are essentially fostering each child under the careful supervision of the adoption agency.
This is a huge advantage, frankly. (And it’s one that adoptees in private/attorney-facilitated adoptions may not have, unfortunately.) Post-placement supervision ensures that licensed professionals are monitoring the success of the placement and the safety of the child for at least half a year following the birthparents’ surrender. Social workers can help enhance the bonding process and troubleshoot, where needed. Sometimes a child develops any sort of unanticipated health issues or encounters difficulty adjusting to the adoptive home. If problems arise, if open adoption agreements are not being adhered to or if the parents are for any reason unable to care for the child as expected, the agency still provides a layer of protective intervention for everyone involved.
After finalization, Abrazo respects the right of its birthparents and adoptive families to continue their open adoption relationships independent of the agency’s supervision, of course. Yet the agency is still available to offer post-adoption guidance and support to the adoptee and all of the parents, as needed. That’s not an extra service anybody pays extra for– it’s just something Abrazo has always done for its alumni, because it’s the right thing to do and because we consider everyone who’s family (birthfamily or adoptive family) our family, as well.
And that is exactly how adoption works for everyone, when it works the way it should.