For anyone looking for Texas safe haven adoption alternatives, here’s the good news: Texas offers plenty of safe, ethical options to spare them the lifelong trauma of legalized child dumping.
Unfortunately, though, the Texas Legislature is being asked to ignore reality and take a huge step back into the Dark Ages by expanding safe haven laws here in Texas.
Texas Representative Ina Minjarez is backing TX HB 683, proposed legislation urging the state to extend the time a parent has to legally abandon a child in Texas from 60 days to 12 months. It’s well-intended, no doubt. Yet the sad truth is that the majority of Texas kids most at risk are not those under a year old.
This proposed bill would have done nothing to save San Antonio missing child James Avi Chairez, for example. The 18-month-old boy’s mother was arrested this week for child endangerment. D’Lanny Chairez, age 20, had talked about wanting to choose adoption for him, yet her toddler’s whereabouts are now unknown and she is reportedly refusing to answer further questions.
The Texas foster care system is already filled with kids who have neither homes nor parents to care for them. The problem isn’t that their families couldn’t have made other plans– but that most didn’t even know all the options and services already available to them.
Why TX HB 683 is Not Needed
That’s right: every legal parent who feels unable to meet their child’s needs can contact any licensed adoption agency like Abrazo to make a private adoption plan, whether they wish to do an open adoption or a traditional (closed) one.
It costs a parent nothing to place a child for adoption voluntarily. Yet it provides the child with the assurance that he or she was important enough to be carefully placed, not unceremoniously discarded in a baby box like human garbage. It ensures that the child who is to be adopted is provided with family medical history, and provides the option for the birthparent/s to get counseling as well future updates on the child’s welfare, too, if desired.
Furthermore, adoption agencies are required to verify that those surrendering a child have the legal authority to do so, and are not just dumping a kidnapped child, surrendering a child that isn’t actually theirs, nor leaving a baby behind in order to dodge child support obligations.
But here’s the thing: under existing Texas laws, any parent with legal custody already has the right to make a loving, confidential adoption plan for a child of any age, without fear of criminal penalty.
Safe Haven drops can be harmful to both parents and children
Parents who are desperate enough to abandon a child under a safe haven baby drop typically are in what is called a “dissociative” state, meaning they are not thinking clearly. The State does not require them to undergo any counseling nor meet with any attorney to ensure they know what they are doing.
Yet they are rarely informed that while a safe haven drop will shield them from charges for abandoning a child 60 days or younger in Texas (under the present law), child welfare authorities may still seek them out to ensure that there are no other children in their care who may be endangered by their instability.
The parent who abandons a child by leaving him or her at a hospital or fire station or baby box often lives a lifetime of regret, never knowing what became of that child and never forgiving themselves for it, either. The child who grows up with the knowledge that they were truly unwanted and that their parents didn’t care enough to make more thoughtful plans has a legacy of shame and rejection to bear, as well as never knowing the truth of their own origins and never having family medical records. (Click here to learn why many adult adoptees oppose Safe Haven programs.)
One of the birthmothers who recently placed a child for adoption at Abrazo tearfully disclosed to us that she had abandoned another baby at a local hospital in a Baby Moses/Safe Haven drop a few years prior. She said the experience nearly killed her, because she became so self-destructive afterwards.
“I’ll never know where that baby is, and I can never forgive myself for doing that,” she told us. “I feel like at least doing an open adoption this time, I can be at peace, because this child will always know I cared enough to do it this way. But that one, I will never get over. I’d have to choose abortion before I’d ever do a Safe Haven baby drop again.”
No woman nor her child should have to bear that grief all their life long. Any parent who cares about their child enough to make a safe haven surrender deserves to enjoy the benefits of a safe and healthy voluntary adoption plan, instead.
What are my Texas Safe Haven adoption alternatives at Abrazo?
Parents who are in desperate need of immediate safe haven adoption options at Abrazo can reach our staff any hour of the day or night by calling 1-800-454-5683 or texting HELPME to 210-860-5683.
Our degreed team can meet with parents and their children immediately. These parents are offered alternatives that include immediate placement and/or counseling, legal consultation and/or foster care. Abrazo’s services cost them nothing. (Parents placing newborns can also receive post-partum medical care, housing and living assistance from Abrazo as needed, where allowed by law.)
They can choose to do the sort of placement that includes updates and openness or not. The placing parent need not appear in court, as Abrazo’s lawyer handles the termination of parental rights on their behalf, and seals the legal record to protect their privacy. The agency likewise notifies the Attorney General’s office to end any further child support obligations.
Birthparents who place their children voluntarily through Abrazo have no reason to be pursued by Child Protective Services, nor can they be criminally prosecuted for making a responsible and legal private adoption plan. More importantly, their children gain lifelong support from an adoption community dedicated to providing them with both the affirmation and answers every adoptee deserves.
The eyes of Texas (and America) are upon all of us…
The Bible tells us that even Baby Moses had a sister, Miriam, who followed that basket as it floated down the Nile, to ensure that his birthmother would know what happened to her son. Tragically, Safe Haven program in Texas permanently denies parents-in-crisis even that small peace of mind, and likewise denies their abandoned children information about and access to their own origins, as well.
Please contact your Texas lawmakers to urge them to vote again TXHB 683. We all agree, surely, that Texas’ children need the best of loving homes– not the painful legacy of knowing they were abandoned at a fire station or hospital. Enabling more Texans to merely dump more children into the state foster care system with “no questions asked” is not best practice when it comes to protecting kids in the Lone Star State.
Anyone with a child for whom they cannot provide proper care or a safe home can contact Abrazo to make a confidential adoption plan– instead of abandoning that baby to uniformed strangers.
Because Texas Safe Haven adoption alternatives (like those Abrazo offers) are far more healthy, for children and for their parents, too.