Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy? If so, and you are in Texas, you may wonder, “How does adoption from Texas work?” You may find yourself with choices you never thought you’d have to make as the life you are used to takes a little detour.
Maybe you’re considering adoption, but are worried about the outcome. You might be concerned about your future, the future of your child, and the next steps.
You may be surprised to learn that most American adoptions are open, and most adopted kids are happy.
Let’s take a look at the process and your options.
Weighing Your Options
Choosing to make an adoption plan for your child is a brave and serious decision. It is not one you should make on a whim or without careful thought and planning.
You may have trusted friends or family members you can talk with over your options. These people can listen to your doubts, fears, and hopes for the future. Sometimes, it helps to make a list of the pros and cons of adoption, abortion, or raising your child yourself.
Some expectant mothers may be uncomfortable discussing the situation with those who know her best. Many counselors are well-equipped to listen to you in a neutral, nonjudgmental way. Counselors can help you clarify your needs and wants.
If you have health insurance, many will help you pay for counseling for a period of time. You can also check with clergymen or friends and family for the names of professional therapists that come recommended. Many currently offer remote sessions as well.
Remember that no decision is without positives and negatives, and all you can do is make the best decision for you at this time.
Many women faced with unplanned pregnancy find themselves thinking about the future in a way never before anticipated. You will want to consider your financial situation, or your career plans for the future. Think about the involvement of the birth father as well as friends, family, or other support groups who could serve as extra hands while you raise your child.
Religious beliefs, past experiences, and your hopes for the future will all impact your decision. It is important to remember that your life is not over, and there is a purpose for every journey, and you may see yours unfolding early on.
Many pregnancy centers can also provide free counseling and support you while you are planning. Some may even provide for your basic needs, including healthcare, food, and clothing until the baby is born. Other pregnancy centers can continue to provide supplies such as diapers and baby formula during your first two years of parenting.
If you are considering adoption, remember that most adoptions are open. Not only will you be able to choose your child’s adoptive parents, but you can also maintain communication with them as the child grows up. Many open adoptions are semi-open, meaning that you will get updates about your child at regular times throughout the year. These could be birthdays, holidays, or monthly dates. Often, updates are exchanged in the form of emails and texts.
Some birth parents, however, prefer more open adoptions where the birth mother or father meets in person with the child and the adoptive parents regularly. Others choose closed adoptions, in which birth parents do not maintain contact with birth parents.
None of these options are either the right or wrong choice. You will have the opportunity to work out openness arrangements with the family you choose.
It is also helpful to remember that most adopted children are happy and healthy. In fact, NPR found that 88% of adopted children over 6 years of age demonstrate positive social behaviors. Most adopted children also do well in school and get lots of attention from the parents.
How Does Adoption from Texas Work?
A great way to start searching for an agency to place your child with is to find another birth parent who made an adoption plan and had a good experience. If you don’t know of anyone personally, there are lots of online social media support groups that can help you find birth parents who were once in your situation and pulled through beautifully. You may find that feeling alone in your confusion is the worst part of the situation you are facing. A support group can introduce you to others who have felt similar hopes, highs, and lows.
When you call your adoption agency, make note of how you are treated. Do you feel comfortable and supported? Were all of your questions answered, or directed to someone who could answer them?
If you are unable to get a personal recommendation, ask prospective adoption agencies for the names of three references who can verify their experiences. Did they feel in control of the adoption and the adoptive family selection process? Were they cared for and supported throughout the pregnancy?
Some adoption agencies can support you medically if you are not insured, depending upon your situation. They may also be able to help you with food, clothing, counseling, or even finding a place to live during your pregnancy. You will want to find out what your options are.
Choosing an Adoptive Family
Choosing an adoptive family is quite a personal decision. Many adoptive families now provide birth parents with photo or video “snapshots” that can help you get to know the families better. You may suddenly connect with a family that loves your favorite sports team, or celebrates a holiday the way you do. Some birth parents point to a moment that he or she “knew” the adoptive family was the right one for the child.
You will likely meet with an adoption specialist who will ask you to give a profile of the type of life you envision for your child. Will your child go to college? Will she be raised with certain religious beliefs? Will she have siblings?
You will be able to speak with prospective adoptive parents before choosing a family. You can discuss how comfortable the family is with the level of openness you have chosen.
Don’t be afraid to ask prospective families lots of questions. Healthy couples or singles will be able to give honest answers that can make you even more confident of your decision.
Find out how long the couple has been married, and what makes the marriage work. You can find out about the couple’s philosophy when it comes to parenting and discipline. The right family will have thought through how the couple can raise a child with the right balance of love and limits.
Ask about extended family and how involved they will be in your child’s life. Many families have traditions involving nationality or style of worship that you will identify with.
You can inquire about a college savings plan, and the kind of neighborhood your child will be raised in. Does the family live in a city with lots of cultural opportunities, or is the home suburban with lots of opportunities to socialize? What would a typical Saturday look for your child when he is in school?
You can find out who will be the primary caregiver before your child enters school. Will both parents work? Do both have college degrees?
Remember that adoptive parents are required to undergo a rigorous screening process before the couple is even allowed to talk to you about adoption. A home study involves interviews both in and outside the home. Your prospective family has already answered many questions about their backgrounds, degrees, upbringing, and plans for the future.
Criminal background checks and physical exams proving the general help of the adopting parents are also required. Couples have had to submit proof of employment and supply personal references attesting to character. Adoptive parents may have also written essays and provided testimonials about why the couple wishes to adopt, and how the family plans to support a child.
Choosing an adoptive family is not an easy task, and you should remember that it will impact the rest of your life. You will likely be communicating with your child’s adoptive family on a regular basis, so you will want to make sure your relationship is warm and comfortable.
There should be no surprises in the future in terms of visit frequency or updates. It is critical to outline the terms you are expecting so that your relationship continues to be amicable later on.
Creating a Birth Plan
How does adoption from Texas work when creating a birth plan? You will want to be sure that you are ready when the big day arrives.
You will want to think about who will be in the delivery room when the baby arrives. Think about who will make you feel most supported. Some birth parents choose to have adoptive parents in the waiting room, and others may even be there for delivery.
Remember that the law in Texas requires that you wait at least 48 hours until you give consent for your child to be adopted. You are also allowed to change your mind before the paperwork is signed. This usually happens about 48 to 72 hours after the baby is born.
Maintaining Communication After Birth
How does adoption from Texas work after you leave the hospital?
After your child is born, your part is simply to maintain communication with the child’s adoptive family in the way you agreed upon. You can begin to plan for your future in a healthy, responsible way, and even start to get excited about your new plans.
You will likely receive updates about how your child celebrated her birthday, or how she is doing in school. Recently, options like Skype and FaceTime allow you to communicate with your child face-to-face without traveling anywhere. Asking questions and maintaining good boundaries will allow you to maintain a positive relationship with the adoptive family.
Within reason, you can be flexible about how often you communicate. Just remember to keep any appointments you make and be respectful of the other family’s time.
Sharing emotional experiences, including the regular ups and downs of life, are a great way to maintain a close relationship with your child’s adoptive family. Trust your gut in terms of what you are willing to share and what you want to keep to yourself.
The feelings you experienced while making an adoption plan may return after the process is over. Sadness, anxiety, relief, and hope are part of the journey. You will, however, notice these feelings becoming less and less frequent as the years go on. Remember that, while it may help to overthink your decision before you make it, it won’t help you to look back. Focus on the dreams you have for your future and how making an adoption plan makes it all possible.
You may wish to continue going to counseling or talking to your support group for a long time. It will help to have someone to talk over your feelings with. There are also many books, podcasts, and tapes that can help you.
There are some trusted friends that you are sure will understand your journey, and others that you may not feel comfortable sharing it with. This does not mean that those people can’t be part of your life, but that you should start being more selective about who you talk about your adoption plan with.
This is a great time to make a list of your goals for the future. You may wish to finish college and move on to your career or graduate school. It may be time for you to start your own business, or even a community outreach to others facing unplanned pregnancy.
How Does Adoption from Texas Work?
For a birth parent, adoption can be a journey of love, sacrifice, patience, and hope. With the right planning and some good decision-making, you will remember how much you grew and learned through the process. Some even find it was a pivotal point in the journeys toward becoming who people were meant to be.
Rebekah Yahoves is a writer, mother, and music teacher from Long Island. In 2016, she adopted three school-aged siblings from Poland at the same time. When she isn’t constructing casseroles or tuning violins, Rebekah likes to go on tea binges and read.