Brace yourselves, Texans, for the invasion of the babysnatchers and other beasts.

Not to be mistaken for ethical and licensed Texas adoption agencies, babysnatchers are predatory creatures now circling Texas like cockroaches around a forgotten picnic basket. It started when Governor Greg Abbott (an adoptive father) signed the new, so-called “heartbeat bill” limiting abortions to six weeks or less. And the invasion is likely to only get worse, so be on the lookout for predatory adoption marketers moving in and targeting Texas’ most vulnerable (and desperate) mothers-to-be.

Forget Locusts… A Bigger Plague is Coming.

Google ads across Texas have suddenly become overrun with pitches from hungry baby brokers. “Choose Us! Choose Us! Choose Us!” begs one notorious “adoption ad firm” begun by the same baby broker whose mail-order made-to-order human embryo biz was shut down by the Feds. (Note to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton: whatever happened to state prosecution of those that violate Texas’ laws prohibiting adoption advertising by unlicensed entities? See Sec. 162.025. PLACEMENT BY UNAUTHORIZED PERSON; OFFENSE.)

A national adoption program with a multi-million dollar endowment has already launched an electronic billboard campaign reminding desperate Texas women “adoption is an option.” (Had anybody actually forgotten?) Out-of-state adoption attorneys, adoption facilitators (illegal in Texas) and other agencies parched for placements are likewise licking their chops in hopes that healthy, adoptable newborns may soon become readily available in Texas once more.

All social service agencies want to feel relevant; we readily admit that we have a need to be needed, too. (But not at the expense of Texas females trapped in legislative reproductive crises. That doesn’t really help anyone.)

Wouldn’t More Adoptions Be a Good Thing?

We love adoption, when it works right– but even then, every adoption is still borne of loss. Every adoption is an imperfect solution to someone’s very personal dilemma, and that’s why adoption should never, ever be reduced to a mere transaction or business goal. Arranging ethical adoptions is an intricate process. It should be overseen only by ethical and highly-trained professionals whose primary motivation is never financially-driven.

Why should this matter to any of us? Because: kids. Because lifelong decisions involving child welfare should never be determined by anyone’s profit margins. Because a free market adoption system works against the best interests of children, which is why most states require regulation of ethical and professional adoption providers. And because not everyone who wants to adopt or claims to do adoptions is actually qualified to do so.

More adoptions of bonafide orphans would be a good thing, yes. More permanency for the thousands of older children in state foster care awaiting families is definitely a nationwide need. Social scientists worldwide worry about the global impact of the falling birthrate. And while we miss the days when adopting families didn’t have to wait so long for placement, the truth is that less adoption could be a good thing– if only it meant fewer children were in need?

Who Does Adoption Matters. (Big Time.)

In Texas, the law says that adoptions can only be arranged by a state-licensed public or private agency overseen by approved individuals with specified degrees and training. Just as only attorneys can give legal advice, in Texas, only licensed adoption agencies can match prospective birthparents with prospective adoptive parents, advertise adoption services and pay living expenses on behalf of placing parents.

It doesn’t matter what a non-licensed individual or firm calls themselves. It doesn’t matter if they have a law degree hanging on their wall or a Bible on their bookshelf. Whether or not folks consider themselves “experts” after gone through the adoption process themselves, nobody can match prospective birthparents and adopters, or rehome children, nor arrange adoptions in Texas without holding an official Texas child-placement license. That’s the law, folks. (No matter how artfully the invasion of the babysnatchers tries to redraw it.)

As succinctly explained on Kelsey Ranyard’s “FromAnothaMotha” page:

If you rob a bank but describe yourself as a “bank borrower” the judge ain’t gonna care. You can be a consultant, an adoption doula, an adoption coach, whatever you want… but if you’re making matches and actively arranging adoptions, the law says you’re a facilitator. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck but calls itself a chicken? It’s a damn duck.

How to Confirm An Adoption Provider is Licensed in Texas

Whether you’re considering placing a baby or child for adoption or adopting one, you owe it to that child to make sure you do that adoption the right way. So start by checking the Texas licensing record of any adoption provider, here: Texas Licensed Child Placing Agencies Search. This enables you to confirm that the agency is actually licensed to do adoption in Texas, and even to review their licensing record online.

If you’re considering a private adoption (using an attorney in Texas to represent the interest of the placing parent or the adopting parent), check out if the attorney is licensed and in good standing here: Texas Bar Association: Find a Lawyer (Public). Be sure to scroll down to check “Public Disciplinary History.” (And remember, attorneys in Texas can provide legal services, but are still prohibited from matching cases or paying a placing mother’s living expenses beyond her medical and legal bills. Only Texas-licensed adoption agencies can do that.)

And if, by chance, you run into a babysnatcher who is offering Texas adoption services of any kind without a license, contact law enforcement immediately, and then also file an immediate complaint with the Office of the Texas Attorney General and also with the Texas Abuse Hotline. No matter how tempting their offer may be, unlicensed child placement planning puts children’s lives at risk.

It’s up to us all to stop the invasion of the babysnatchers, and help protect Texas kids.

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