The process or adoption can be overwhelming. When choosing the best route for your family in this journey, should you choose an adoption agency or attorney? Below you will find many of the important aspects of deciding between an adoption agency or adoption attorney. Find out what kind of questions to ask yourself to help make the best decision for you and your growing family.
Adoption Agency or Attorney?
Attorneys and agencies in Texas can provide services for placement and during the adoption process. Typically, agencies will be a “full service” provider as they will complete the necessary home study for you to adopt and the post-placement visits. However, attorneys can have resources for the family to accomplish this also. Finding agencies and attorneys to discuss their services throughout this process is a great way to figure out what will work best for you.
Today, Caring Adoptions participates in domestic adoptions exclusively. Deciding which is best for you could depend on various parameters, such as age range and are you willing to travel to another country to complete an adoption.
National Agency or a Local Agency?
There are positives to both options.
National agencies may have offices in different states, work throughout the United States, and can find a match in any state. Typically, this means you will be traveling for your child’s placement and staying in that state until ICPC (Interstate Compact on Placement for Children) regulations and requirements have been met in both states.
Local agencies, like Caring Adoptions, with just one location in Houston, Texas, work just in Texas for placements; however, we have families from all over the US.
Unlike national agencies that sometimes work with hundreds of families, Caring Adoptions works with a small number of families to offer one-on-one support ensuring they can reach us with any questions or concerns throughout their process.
Foster Care or Straight Adoption?
Many children in the foster care system need a loving family. Adoptions through foster care can mean that you could adopt a sibling group or adopt a child of any age. Foster care adoptions are often funded through the state, and at times there are little to no fees for the adopting family.
Private adoptions (not through the foster care system) are usually infants as birthparents voluntarily relinquish their parental rights.
Foster care adoptions are typically a case of involuntary relinquishment of parental rights. Of course, this is not the case for all adoptions.
At this time, Caring Adoptions caters to birthparents that are voluntarily relinquishing their rights and do not have a contract with CPS for foster care placements.
These are important questions to ask yourself before deciding if an agency or attorney is right for you. Regardless of what you choose, you want to be happy in your decision as they will be the ones who guide you through your adoption process and be a means of support.
These are all great options, and we wish you the best on your adoption journey!
An unplanned pregnancy can feel overwhelming. You didn’t plan to become pregnant. Yet, you do deserve to understand all the options available. While you may not envision yourself as “Mom,” as birth mother, you want the peace-of-mind that you have made a good decision for everyone involved. Having information about adoption will help you make this choice.
Benefits of Adoption for Birth Parents
Freedom – Adoption allows both the birth mother and birth father the freedom to continue your chosen life path.
Choice – You choose your level of involvement. Work with an adoption agency to make a birth mother plan and help you decide if an open adoption or closed adoption is best for you.
Comfort – As birth parents, rest easily knowing that your adoption agency has fully vetted and screened all potential adoptive parents for fitness to parent.
Benefits of Adoption for the Child
Security – The adoptive child will be welcomed into a family that offers safety and security.
Love – The adoptive child will experience the love of the adoptive parents and your love at allowing them to become part of a family that has planned for them.
Stability –Careful screening ensures that the adoptive family offers stability of home, finances, and relationships.
Benefits of Adoption for the Adoptive Parents
Family – Parents who choose to adopt often have been trying to grow their families for years. Your choice of adoption allows adoptive parents the opportunity they have been dreaming of – a child.
Serenity – The long journey to becoming adoptive parents can conclude with parenting the baby you birth. This will bring a sense of calm to the adoptive parents.
Types of Adoption
When choosing adoption, you have options for your level of involvement with the adoptive family and child.
Open Adoption – An open adoption allows you to be involved with the adoptive parents and the child during your pregnancy and after the adoption is finalized. You will have the opportunity to meet and get to know the parents adopting your baby. You can include the adoptive parents in your birth mother plan allowing them to attend doctor visits and the birth if you like. Learn more about Open Adoptions.
Closed Adoption – With a closed adoption, you and the adoptive parents will not have any contact before, during or after the adoption process. Likewise, you will not have any contact with the child after the adoption is completed. The adoptive family will receive medical records for both birth mother and birth father. This will ensure that medical history related the child’s health is available.
Choosing an Adoption Agency
Choose a reputable adoption agency that has the wellbeing of birth mother, birth father, adoptive child and adoptive parents in mind. The adoption agency you choose should understand the social, emotional, and legal aspects of adoption. This will offer you the greatest amount of support through the decision making and adoption process. Caring Adoptions is here to answer your questions. Contact us today!
Open adoptions have become more common in recent years than they ever have been before. However, open adoptions can sometimes still be a scary thought when navigating between the birth family and adoptive family. Both parties want to have the best possible outcome for the child while also making sure it is healthy. At times, you may feel like you are not doing enough or that you are giving more than the other party. So how can you have a healthy open adoption for your child?
1. Get to know them Get to know the birth family or the adoptive family before placement. This can set the stage for an ongoing relationship. Spend time talking on the phone and possibly have visits prior to placement. Tell each other what you want and would hope for later on. Possibly find out why they chose you.
2. Communication Just like in any relationship, you want to make sure you are communicating your wants and wishes. If you want to have visits with the child after placement, it is important to say that. After that, work with the family or case worker to set up times/days that work for all parties (after placement and prior to, if able to). If you feel something is wrong or unsafe, communicate this with the other party. Communicate what works and what does not.
3. Honesty Things come up when a visit can’t happen, you are not ready for the visit, or possibly the child is old enough to make that decision and has decided they are not ready. Being honest is important to let the other parities know when/if you are ready to have that visit. Not only that but also to make sure you are in a place for that visit. Things change over time and if you are not in a place where it would be healthy or safe, it might have to wait for a later date.
4. Boundaries I often find myself preaching this one to many of my clients. I have had clients that have gone hours out of their way to pick up a birthmother just to have a visit. If this is you and you are fine with that great, but if you feel that you are doing a majority of the work for the visit and the other party is not putting in effort that could be a problem. Often in relationships that have no boundaries, one person might find themselves getting taken advantage of and that could lead to resentment. Working out a plan for the visit or for the communication from the start can make sure that no one’s boundaries are being crossed and it sets those expectations early on.
5. Other means of contact Open adoption does not just mean visits. At times, visits are not possible, but sharing the love you have for that child through photos, letters, emails, etc. can also be a great way to connect and stay in contact over time. There are now so many options with technology to stay in touch.
In the end it is about what is safe and healthy for the child. I have heard from many families in open adoptions that the other party is just like an extension of their family and it just means more people to love their child. However, there might be times you might need professional help to navigate that relationship even with other family members, and that’s ok.
Written by Valerie Ortega.
Valerie is a Licensed Professional Counselor- Associate, supervised by Shawna Munson, MA, LPC-S, and when she is not working for Caring Adoptions, she is do therapy sessions with clients at Restoring Hope Counseling. If you are interested in seeking therapy, please visit the following page: https://www.rhchouston.com/team-valerie and set up an appointment with her today
When Jade and David Presnell felt called to adopt an older boy with Down syndrome, they learned to overcome their fears — and let love win.
Sometimes, all it takes is a sleepless night scrolling through social media to change your life forever.
Well, at least that’s how it happened for us.
I had been following the Facebook page of Reece’s Rainbow — an advocacy organization dedicated to finding families for children with Down syndrome and other special needs — for many years. I always felt drawn to these children, largely because of my work as a behavioral clinician supporting adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Occasionally, I would check their waiting child photolisting and scroll through photos of amazing, resilient children waiting to be united with their forever families.
One random night in July when sleep was hard to come by, I scrolled through the photolisting and felt “something” when I saw the picture of an adorable Chinese boy wearing a yellow T-shirt, denim shorts and a large, mischievous grin. Though still gawking over his cuteness, I ignored that “something,” shut off my phone and went to bed.
Except when I woke up the next morning, that “something” came back. So I returned to the photolisting and took a screen shot of his picture. Not knowing why or for what reason.
For the next two weeks, I found myself looking at that photo daily. Unbeknownst to my husband, David, I would cry every morning while getting ready — thinking of this precious boy, Micah, with the mischievous grin, and of all the other precious children in China waiting to find the security and love of a family. THEIR very OWN family.
When people say that God “calls” them to do something, I always imagined it to be a gentle nudge — a sweet, tender hand on the shoulder urging you forward, steady and loving. But for us, it felt a little more uncertain and unsettling — scary even.
We questioned if we were ready to be parents, how our families would respond to our decision, could we come up with the necessary funding, and whether we were truly capable of providing the best possible life for an adopted child, particularly one with unique needs. To be transparent, adoption had come up occasionally over the years, but we had never sat down and had a real discussion about it.
But the more we prayed and opened our hearts to this child, the more we knew that we could not ignore this part of God’s plan for us. We pushed aside our fears, worries and uncertainties and moved forward in trust and faith.
It was the best decision we ever made.
Fast forward and our sweet son, Micah, has been a part of our family for five months now and it has been the most incredible adventure! Micah is so full of light and love. He has changed our lives for the better and the hearts of all of those who know him. He is incredibly loved by our families and friends. He is full of joy and laughter. He works hard and loves to help others. Micah is a warrior, a comedian, a helper, an empath, a learner, a mover and a lover of all.
“When we think about Micah’s future, we feel an incredible sense of excitement for what is to come and the successes and joys that he will experience.”
He is truly our most precious gift. He also just happens to have an extra chromosome! Down Syndrome is an integral part of who Micah is, but it’s not the whole part. Every day, his strength, capabilities and resiliency shine bright. And at the end of the day, he’s just like any other 5-year-old kid — strong-willed and fighting for just a few more minutes of his favorite show before bedtime.
In hindsight, the seed for special needs adoption had been planted years earlier. Investing our lives and careers in education (David) and mental health (me) has naturally led us to have hearts for service, but most importantly people.
Special needs adoption just seemed to be a natural extension of all the things we valued and worked so hard to advocate for in our community — human worth and dignity, respect for all people, social justice, human rights, and the importance and value of relationships. And when the timing was right, that seed sprouted and our special needs adoption journey unfolded.
It doesn’t take an extraordinary person or people to adopt. It just takes love, perseverance and patience — like ALL great things. I am thankful for a God whose plan is bigger, better and more incredible than anything we could ever imagine. Adoption is so special, but it doesn’t take special people to adopt — only imperfect, faith-filled people who are willing to take a chance at something magical.
We strongly encourage other families to not shy away from special needs adoption! What you don’t know or understand, you will learn. What skills you lack, you will gain. What fears you have will be erased when you pray and seek the support of others, especially those who have made a similar journey. In fact, our support system has grown tenfold since we brought our son home.
God will provide in the most miraculous ways. He will bring in the funds to you through amazing family, friends, agency grants, fundraisers and even complete strangers. Most importantly, please remember that ALL of the scary stuff will fade away the day you meet your child and look into their eyes for the first time.
Without hesitation, growing our family through adoption has been the most incredible journey of our lives. Our faith has been strengthened in so many ways. There is not a day that goes by that we do not feel humbled and grateful for the people that loved so big on us as we worked to bring our son home — and that still do today.
There is also not a day that goes by that we are not in awe of our son. He began attending preschool for the first time in November at 5 years old and is thriving. He loves to learn and have fun with his friends. He is saying some short English phrases and loves to sing and dance. He loves his family and showers his “mama” and “dada” with hugs and kisses daily.
When we think about Micah’s future, we feel an incredible sense of excitement for what is to come and the successes and joys that he will experience. Those with Down syndrome continue to break barriers and demonstrate limitless capabilities in the areas of relationship-building, education, employment and independent living.
These individuals are challenging the status quo and changing how we understand “disability.” They are integral to their families and communities, and continue to contribute to the world in meaningful ways. They are showing that they have nothing to prove, that they are valuable and worthy just as they are. And we continue to celebrate that Micah is valuable and worthy just the way he is.
At the end of the day, when we tuck our son into bed under an animal print quilt that was specially made for him when we were still waiting to meet him, we are so thankful that we allowed love — and not fear — to win. Thankful that our son, so fearfully and wonderfully created, finally made it home to us, his forever family.