What is the adoptive family allowed to know about me?
It is important that the adoptive family know as much about your genetic background, drug and alcohol history, and health as possible. Every agency is required to obtain a Health and Genetic History which will be given to the adoptive family. Although some of the information may be personal and difficult to discuss, it is important not only to the adoptive family but to your child. Genetic issues such as cancer may have a very strong genetic link that should be addressed by your child's pediatrician as he or she grows older. Other issues, i.e., alcohol, drug and tobacco consumption may be essential to the health of your child. This information is kept confidential between the agency, you and your adoptive parents. It is never given to your parents or any law enforcement agency. It is used solely for the purpose of helping your child both now and in the future.
Information such as your name and where you live is kept only in agency records unless YOU request that it be given to the adoptive parents or eventually your child. You will make this decision as you determine the level of openness you want to have with your adoptive family.
You may choose to write letters, give gifts or pictures or even to design a scrap book (called a Life Book) so that your child will have a clearer picture of you, your family, and the love that you feel for him/her.
How much does the adoptive family usually want to know about me?
Although this varies slightly among families, a good rule of thumb is to acknowledge that they are as curious about you as you are about them plus a little bit more. They want to tell your child all about you - not just the genetic information - but also what you look like, your personality and your likes and dislikes. Filling out the "Birth Mother or Birth Father Profile" allows them to see you in a more personal way.
The family may also want to meet you although this is totally your decision. Most families hope to have a picture of you, the baby's father, and your extended family. These things will also help your child to see you as a very real person who made a loving decision on their behalf and it helps to erase any feeling of abandonment that they may have.
Does the agency ever deal with couples who are out of Texas, or must they live in the state where the agency is?
Child Placement Center works with families in the continental United States (excluding the state of New York.) The agency tries to place each child in Texas, if possible. Some children, however, have special needs that require the agency to find parents from all over the United States who can take care of those needs. Remember, CPC, will take care of your child no matter what the outcome of your pregnancy may be. Our special needs program has found homes for children with Down Syndrome, mental retardation, cerebral palsy and other habilitating problems.
May I select what religion I wish the couple to be?
Absolutely! You may make any selection criteria that is important to you. You are also given profiles of families that are waiting for a child from which to choose. You are encouraged to be as much a part of the selection of adoptive parents as you want to be!
Am I permitted to know how long the couple has been waiting for a child and why the wait?
Yes! Your adoption worker will be glad to answer this and any other question that you may have about the family.
Will my child be able to get information about me if she or he desires?
CPC will ask that you sign an open preference sheet which will address if you do or do not wish to be found. CPC relies heavily on this document in deciding whether to notify you of your child's request. It is important that you keep the agency informed of your permanent or new address and that you inform CPC of any change in your feelings. In addition, the State of Texas has an adoption registry which will also provide information to your child if she or he seeks to find you when they are 18 years old or older.
Legally your child may also obtain a "de-identified" copy of their record at age 18. Although this copy does not give your name and address, the agency will attempt to find you if you have made your wishes known.
What information, if any, do you need from the biological father?
The agency seeks to obtain the same information from the biological father that you have provided on yourself. Sometimes this is difficult to do. However, this background information is very important to the future of your child. You may want to assist your adoption worker in obtaining the information or you may feel more comfortable in letting the worker obtain the information herself depending on the type of relationship you presently have with the birth father.
How soon after the baby is born can she or he be placed in his/her new home?
Although this is determined on a case-to-case basis, the agency seeks to place the baby in an adoptive home immediately, if possible. Much of this is determined by the cooperation of the biological father.
In the years to come, if my child searches for me, would the agency contact me before my child does?
This issue may be addressed in one of two ways. If you keep in contact with the agency by providing a current address AND you have signed a consent which allows us to contact you at this point, the agency will be the first to let you know your child if seeking to find you. Unfortunately, some adoptees attempt to find birth parents even though they are aware that the birth parent does NOT want to be found. CPC will not give out identifying information but some judges will open the sealed records on behalf of the adult adoptee. Moreover, some adoptees are able to effectively search and locate birth parents themselves.
The most important issue is to be open and honest with your future spouse and children about your decision to place for adoption so that there will be no surprises should you receive an unannounced knock on your door in the future.
May I write the adoptive parents a letter explaining to them the reasons for placing my child for adoption, and will I have the assurance they will receive it and read it?
You are greatly encouraged to write this letter and any other during your lifetime. Initially the agency will open the letter and reseal it to protect your location. As time progresses, you and the adoptive parent may MUTUALLY agree to give each other your address so that the correspondence does not have to go through the agency.
Will they receive it and read it? If you choose an adoptive family that says they wish to have this information, yes, they will definitely receive it. Will they read it? Of course! Remember that much of this is in your hands during your decision making process.
What "qualifications" must a couple meet before they are accepted as clients in your agency? (Financial, emotional stability, unable to have children, age, etc.)
Each agency licensed in Texas must meet a certain set of "Minimum Standards" regarding the qualifications of the adopting family. This criteria is different for each agency but meets state standards as a minimum. CPC has the following initial criteria for applying to adopt:
CPC policy usually includes the criteria listed below. However, qualifications of the referring agency and/or birth parent when not in direct conflict with agency policy, are greatly considered. Some agency policies may be waived or changed to comply with the participating agency's policies and specific requests by the birth parent(s). In those cases where adopting parents do not meet agency requirements, a strength and weakness assessment will be made and presented to the birth parent and/or referring agency who may continue to request placement and/or services.
Adopting parents should be emotionally stable, in good mental and physical health, financially secure, flexible, understanding, and accepting of the background and needs of the child.
AGE: Child Placement Center policy requires that adoptive applicants be at least 21 years of age or older.
MARRIAGE: Couples must have a stable marriage and must have been married at least three (3) years for the 1st marriage and (5) years for the second marriage. However, those married less than 3 years with proven infertility in the required time frame can ask for a waiver and consideration based on communication between the partners, a sharing relationship and a commitment to the marriage will be carefully considered through a petition to the adoption committee.
SINGLE PARENTS: Single parents are accepted for study with the understanding that the birth parent(s) must agree with the placement decision. Single adopting parents must be at least 21 years of age.
RELIGION: Religions which prevent a child from receiving medical care are not accepted.
HEALTH: A medical history of each potential parent is required. Adoptive parents must have the capacity to raise children and have health expectations of living for the full childhood of the adoptee.
FINANCIAL: Adoptive applicants must demonstrate financial stability by submitting information on financial assets, insurance, investments and the stability of employment.
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Applicants living in Texas must be able to remain in the area long enough to complete the adoption evaluation and complete their post placement supervision.
EMPLOYMENT/CHILD CARE: The primary care giver* must be willing to remain home to care for the child for the first six weeks of placement. Single parents must be willing to remain home for one month after placement. (*Married couples may share this time commitment.)
FBI/CANRIS CHECK: Each applicant must submit a criminal and/or fingerprint record check completed through the appropriate governing entity. The agency will complete the CANRIS (State Child Abuse and Neglect Check) for Texas couples. Applicants must not have a felony record or must be able to provide proof of rehabilitation. Out of State applicants must have backgrounds checks done in their state as well as the state of Texas.
How much will I know about the adoptive parents? (Occupation, living area, ages, etc.)
You may be given as much information as you wish to have. You may read all about them, meet them, and exchange addresses and phone number if you both parties mutually agree.
When, if at all, does the biological father have to be present?
The biological father is encouraged to participate in all decisions, when possible. He can be as involved as both or either of you would like him to be. When that is in direct conflict with your wishes, the agency will assist you in making a decision in the child's best interest both legally and emotionally. Whether you remain together as a couple or mutually agree to separate it is important to stay in touch and remain on cordial terms for the sake of your child.
What is an open adoption?
Open adoption has varying degrees of openness according to the mutual agreement between the birth parent(s) and the adoptive parent(s). That agreement may include the exchange of information through the agency only or a mutual agreement to have access directly with each other. The amount of openness must be agreed upon by both parties. Usually that agreement is made when you select an adoptive family.
Do my parents need to sign papers in order for me to place my child for adoption?
No! The court assumes that you are an adult in this situation. However, if you are under the age of 18, the court will appoint an attorney ad litem to talk with you and be sure that you understand the impact of placement and that you are making a decision of your own free will. You will not have to appear in court nor pay legal fees to do an adoption. The agency will provide these service on your behalf.
How much can I be involved in choosing the couple for my child?
You may be as involved or uninvolved as you wish to be. For example, you may review information on several couples to select a family that you feel comfortable with, review photo albums, have verbal information about them, have phone conversations or perhaps have a meeting with them. OR you may choose to let the agency select a family for you.
May I have a picture of my baby?
The agency will provide six pictures and update information to you and the birth father of your child for up to six months. Other information may be provided for an extended period as agreed upon by your adoptive parents and you.
What may I send with my child (gifts, letters, books, etc.), and will I have the assurance that my child will get these items?
You may send any of the above with your child and they will be given to the adopting family at time of placement. You may continue to send any of the above and they will either be sent to the family or kept in the file as agreed upon by you and the adopting parents. Major bulky items obviously cannot be kept in the file or at the agency due to limited storage space.
Will I have to go to court?
Your adoption worker and the agency attorney will go to court and advocate on your behalf. Therefore you will not be required to attend court.
Once I sign the adoption papers, can I change my mind?
The Supreme Court of Texas says that the surrendering documents called, "Mother's (or Father's) Affidavit of Relinquishment" are IRREVOCABLE. That means that you cannot change your mind AFTER you sign the papers. Take all the time you need to make this decision since it is one which cannot be changed! Your adoption worker will educate you and go over these documents in advance so that you understand every aspect of your adoption.
Will I be able to see my baby in the hospital?
Yes, and the agency very much encourages you to do so. You may take pictures, room in, breast feed and make all decisions for your child until you sign the papers. Seeing your child after this time is allowed if you have made arrangements with your adoption worker.
On the other hand, you may choose to have a room that is not located on the maternity wing and you may choose not to have contact with your child. (Please notify your doctor, hospital social worker, nurses, and agency staff about your desire to do so.)
Can I name my baby and will the adoptive parents keep the name I pick?
You are encouraged to name your child and should do so on the birth certificate if you so desire. The adoptive family is given these names and may use all or part of the name you choose on the final birth certificate. The original birth certificate is sealed when the adoption is final and a new birth certificate is created with the adoptive parents' name as the parents of the child, as well as the adoptive name of the child at that point.
When do I have to sign the adoption papers?
You are never REQUIRED to sign papers but you MAY sign 48 hours after the birth of your child. Some parents may take their child home and attempt to parent only to find after six months, a year, six years, which they cannot continue to do so. CPC is here to meet your needs at any time either now or in the future. Remember, all services are free to you!
Do I get to see and hold the baby at the hospital? Do I have to?
You may see and hold the baby as much as you would like to while you are in the hospital.
Do I take the baby home from the hospital?
Most generally you will not take the baby home from the hospital unless you request to. Occasionally, you may wish to take the baby out of the hospital at dismissal to place in the adoptive couple's arms in another location so the baby can avoid an extended hospital stay.
Will the adoptive parents be at the hospital? Can I pick who I want to have at the delivery?
You most certainly decide who you would like with you at the hospital. Some hospitals have regulations to include the number of people who may be in delivery with you, however.
What would an adoption agency do for me?
A licensed TEXAS agency provides counseling and support, before, during and after placement of your child into a home. They should take care of all medical expenses and travel to the hospital, doctor and the office. They should explain all the adoption processes to you, provide you legal services, and should make sure you have access to them 24 hours a day. Further, a licensed agency may be able to provide such things as maternity clothes, food, and living expenses.
This Is My Testimony.....
Hi my name is Ashley and I’m a birth mother. I chose adoption for my baby not for me, but for my child’s best interest. I loved her enough to set aside my needs for her and after much exploration and praying, it became evident that I could be that very person to impact a couple who cannot have children in a very special way.
Although this is one of the biggest decisions I have and will ever have to make, I know in my heart that I made the most loving one could make for their child. I feel honored and blessed to know that my daughter’s adoptive parents love her unconditionally. They are the answer to my prayers and I will be grateful for them.
If you are considering adoption, remember that adoption is a loving option! It is a selfless act and not an act of selfishness!
Crisis Counseling 24 hours a day
Making an adoption plan is an important, yet emotional decision and we truly understand what you are encountering at this difficult time in your life. Our caring and supportive adoption workers are available 24 hours a day to provide you with the best yet most personalized and confidential counseling free of charge.
Educating You on Adoption
You do have choices and options and you will want to think about them carefully. CPC has an adoption worker available that can help you better explore your options. More women are choosing adoption as a loving plan and positive solution to an unplanned pregnancy. Adoption is the process of relinquishing your parental rights to your child and placing your child with a family of your choice. You have the option to select the type of adoption you feel is best for you and your child.
Handling Your Adoption Legal Matters
If adoption is an option for you, rest assured that we will handle all of your legal matters through adoption. This will include preparing your relinquishments, executing your legal documents, testifying on your behalf, and finalizing your adoption. Our service goal is to make this process convenient and stress free.
Select From Waiting Families
You have the opportunity to select the adoptive family from our approved adoptive family profiles. You will be ale to view their pictures and learn more about them as well as their adoption preferences. Each family that is represented by CPC has been extensively screened to prove that they are qualified and capable of providing a home and an environment that is loving, stable and safe for your child. You can be assured that no matter which family you choose, your decision is a loving decision and your child is being placed with a family that will care for and love your child. Perhaps if the decision is too difficult, Child Placement Center can assist you in Choosing the best family for your child. Just know you have options and we are here to assist you.
Your Post Adoptive Needs
Child Placement Center provides post placement counseling and mediated correspondence with your child and their adoptive family. We offer families the ability to maintain a relationship through the agency.
Post adoption counseling for birth parents is provided at no cost by an agency licensed professional counselor, this is available during and after your adoption. This is available during and after your adoption at no charge.
Financial Support Available
When we can establish and document a financial need, we can make allowable and reasonable expenditures on your behalf, to help reduce some unnecessary stress. Based on a justifiable need, we are able to assist you.