How Does Texas Adoption Work for Expectant Parents?
Howdy from the great state of Texas. If you have recently found out that you are expecting a child, you might be unsure of your options. I want to answer the big question, “How does Texas adoption work for expectant parents?” I want to walk you through this difficult process and remind you that you are not alone!
If you are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, there are three generally accepted options to consider. You can choose to parent your child, place your child for adoption, or terminate your pregnancy. There are a lot of things to think about when you are considering parenting your child or not. A few questions you might want to ask yourself are:
- Am I at a place in my life, right now, where I can care for another human?
- Am I able to prioritize my wants and needs with those of my child?
- Can I provide a stable home?
- Can I provide food, clothing, and shelter for this child and myself?
- Am I supported by my family and friends?
- Do I have a job and financial support?
- Am I emotionally stable enough to raise a child?
If you decide to parent your child, there are many resources available for you. The Gladney Center for Adoption is a great resource to use as you are working through the decision to parent your child or to place your child for a Texas adoption. They offer counseling and informational guides to help you with your decision. They can also offer support and encouragement throughout your pregnancy, as well as throughout the rest of your life. Gladney has a carefully designed program called Next Steps that helps you plan for your future, set goals for your life and career, coaches you on finances and budget keeping, and provides resources and guidance to education.
Counseling through Gladney is also available for the important people in your life, like your family and/or your child’s father. There is a special workshop called “Family Loving Decisions” that explains adoption to the whole family and teaches them how to support you throughout your pregnancy and after adoption.
If you are considering placing your child for adoption, the answer to the question “How does Texas adoption work for expectant parents?” might be very important to you. Considering placing your child for adoption, as you probably know, is a big decision. There are a few questions you want to ask yourself before you make your final decision:
- Are you comfortable with someone else raising your child?
- Are you supported by family and friends?
- Would placing your child for adoption help you to reach your future goals?
- If you choose adoption, how much contact will you want with the adoptive family?
- Would you want an open or closed adoption?
- Will you be able to go through the process of birthing and then giving your child to someone else?
If you already have a young child and are considering placing them for adoption, it might benefit you to have a little time away from your child. This space can allow you to sit back and deeply consider how you want to move forward. Gladney has a program called Rest and Respite. They know that caring for a young child can be overwhelming and exhausting. Between feeding, changing, and comforting a baby or toddler, there is housework, relationships, and jobs to attend to. It can be a lot to handle. With the lack of sleep and additional stress, you might need some extra time to figure things out. Gladney can have an options counselor work with you closely, provide care for your children while you think things through, and walk you through your different options.
The Gladney Center for Adoption also helps expecting mothers find doctors to help them throughout their pregnancy, during delivery, and for post-natal care. Gladney can work with your insurance to find you a doctor that is covered, or they can help you to complete a Medicaid application. In addition to medical support, Gladney will also help you with living expenses (phone, rent, maternity clothes, food, utilities) as well as legal expenses. Gladney has a program called Living At Home where you can work with an options counselor to:
- Determine your eligibility for financial assistance
- Schedule and arrange doctor and hospital visits
- Coordinate free legal services for the adoption
- Connect you with others who’ve chosen adoption for their children (so you can hear about their stories and experiences)
Education is an important tool to expand your career options and improve your life situation. While making your Texas adoption plan, you should also work with a counselor to put together a plan for your education and future. You can create a plan at a local community college and your options counselor will guide you through the process of applying for school, applying for financial aid, and meeting with a scheduling counselor for the school.
Choosing an Adoptive Family
Obviously, making the decision to place your child for adoption isn’t one that should be taken lightly. You can be guided and directed throughout your Texas adoption decision, with the help of The Gladney Center for Adoption. You can be provided a significant amount of support. A big decision often made by the expectant mother is which family will adopt your child. It’s important to ponder the things that are important to you in a family setting. Some different things you might want to consider:
- The type of couple and/or person that adopts your child. Do you want the person/people that adopt your child to be single? Married? Simply living together? How important is it to you that the child be raised in a single or two-parent home? You are able to ask questions about the couple’s relationship, how long they’ve been married, and the types of things they argue about. You might want to know their conflict-resolution style and how they work with each other.
- The age of the family that is adopting your child. Some people like the idea of an older, established family, caring for their child. Others want a younger couple that can keep up with a young child and possibly have other siblings to grow up with.
- If it is important to you that your child is raised with siblings, choosing a family that already has kids would be a wise choice. Some expectant mothers want their child to be raised in a family with other adopted children.
- While the specific job that the hopeful adoptive family has shouldn’t necessarily influence your decision, it might be important to think about the kind of future your child might have. This will show you what is important and valued by the hopeful adoptive family.
- The kinds of traditions and holiday celebrations that the potential adoptive family celebrates might also be beneficial to know. For some people, it’s important that their child is surrounded by family for holidays, celebrate birthdays, and go on summer vacations. This isn’t true for everyone, but it’s something worth thinking about.
- The level of openness your Texas adoption will have is one of the bigger decisions that expectant mothers are often expected to make. Adoptions can range from very open to completely closed. The level of openness is agreed upon by the hopeful adoptive family and the expectant parents. Some adoptions are very open and exchange pictures regularly, have video calls, visits, and are include each other in major celebrations. Others are more comfortable with a semi-open adoption where contact is less frequent and is generally observed by a third-party for safety. Others prefer a completely closed adoption, where there is no contact between the birth family and the child.
You might be wondering what the step-by-step process is when placing a child for a Texas adoption. First, you will make your decision to place your child for adoption. As mentioned before, you can work with an options counselor to decide what is the best decision for you and your child. Once you make the decision to place your child for adoption, you will be given many different family profiles to look through. A family profile book is similar to a photo album with pictures of the hopeful families and information about them. Profile books usually share things like how the couple met, what their educational/career background is, information about the extended family, their family traditions, values, and anything else they think is important for you to know about them. For some expectant moms, they get a gut feeling which family is the right one. Others have a list in mind of things that are important and sift through the many profiles to find the best fit.
After you choose a few families that really stand out to you, you can ask to meet with them in person, over a video chat, or over the phone. It might help for you to talk to the families directly to get a real feel for them and their personalities. When you talk to them, you can ask them any questions that are important to you, that weren’t necessarily answered in their profile books. Once you choose the family that you want to adopt your child, you will create an adoption plan.
An adoption plan is essentially an unofficial document that outlines your plans for the adoption. You can clarify with your caseworker specific instructions for during the delivery. You can decide if you want the adoptive family to be present during the delivery, visit after the child is born, or have no contact with you. You might want to keep the child in your hospital room for a few days or have the child go directly to the care of the adoptive parents. You will need to decide how much time you’d like to take before signing the Texas adoption paperwork. For some, it is easier to do it right away, and for others, they want a little time with their baby before signing the paperwork.
When the time comes, your caseworker will come to you with the adoption paperwork. This is when you can sign your parental rights, in favor of the adoptive family. The family will have to wait at least six months for adoption to be finalized in a court of law.
Another part of your Texas adoption plan, as mentioned previously, should be an agreement on how open the adoption will be. Some birth parents request that their information not be shared with the child until the child is eighteen years old. This might be something that is included in your adoption plan. Clearly state your desires to the hopeful adoptive family, to make sure that there isn’t any miscommunication of what’s expected in the future.
After the Adoption
As is expected, the time after your adoption can be very difficult. Having just had a baby, your body will likely experience a large influx of hormones. You will be recovering from childbirth and be experiencing withdrawals from the emotional fulfillment of your child. It is important to plan and prepare for this so that you can have the necessary support. If you are working with The Gladney Center for Adoption, your options counselor will provide support where needed, the follow up medical appointments needed, and ensure you have a stable housing situation.
Reach out to trusted family and friends to let them know what you need post-pregnancy. Some mothers appreciate receiving meals, visitors, or looking forward to something special, like a trip or fun outing. Be prepared to take the appropriate time off of work for your body to heal. While you won’t have a newborn to care for, you will still be tired from the experience of giving birth and the emotional strain of saying goodbye to your baby.
The choice to place your child for a Texas adoption is difficult, brave, and incredibly selfless. If you feel that adoption is the best thing for you and your child, finding a family that you trust to raise him/her might feel hard, but will deeply bless your life.
Michelle Donner is the mother to two beautiful children and a hopeful adoptive mama of one more! When she isn’t chasing her kids around, she is working as an adjunct professor teaching college writing and working as a freelance writer. She loves to be creative and runs her own floral design business for weddings and events. Her titles of wife and mother bring her the most joy, fulfillment, and challenge in her life.