Question: How will I know if adoption is right for me?
This is a question that many birth mothers would like to have answered for them, but one that only they can determine. The first thing to ask yourself is: “Am I ready to parent this child?” If you don’t know, you will need to do research about what it takes to be a good parent (financially, emotionally, physically, etc). Children of All Nations has counselors that will help you explore that very question and tools that may be of assistance to you in determining your readiness to parent. If you find that you are ready and capable of providing effective parenting to your child, then by all means, you are encouraged to do so! However, if you know that you do not want to be a parent at this time, or find that you are unable to provide the kind of life that you envision for your child, then you have some further considerations to make. You have the options to choose to either place your child in an adoptive home or abort the pregnancy.
Children of All Nations promotes family, so when a woman determines she is not ready to parent the child she is pregnant with, we ask that she strongly consider giving her child the gift of life, as an alternative to ending it. Ultimately, adoption is your choice. Just know that there are many families who are capable and ready to become parents, and would love nothing more than providing your child with all that they deserve. CAN believes that adoption is a beneficial option for all involved:
- The birth mother, who is not ready or unable to parent at this time, is afforded the opportunity to proceed in her life and pursue her goals.
- The child, who is given a chance at life, and being raised in a safe and nurturing home with a parent or parents who are able to provide all that the child needs.
- The adoptive parent(s), which are provided the opportunity to grow their family by becoming parents of a child who is deserving of a stable family environment.
Question: Do I need to have my mind made up about adoption before receiving services from Children of All Nations’ Domestic Adoption program.
Answer: No. Our counselors are trained to support expectant mothers like yourself; to help you process your feelings, provide tools to help you assess your readiness to parent and present options available to you. We cannot, and will not, proceed with an adoption plan unless you have weighed all your options and have been able to make a well-informed decision. If you decide that parenting your child is in the best interest of you and the child, you are encouraged to do so. You do not owe CAN anything! Should you decide that you are not ready to parent, and would like to pursue adoption, your CAN’s Domestic Adoption Program Counselor will work with you on determining the right adoption plan for you and aide in your search for an appropriate adoptive family.
Question: Will the adoption cost me anything?
Answer: No. CAN’s Domestic Adoption Program offers free service for birth parents. Our goal is to help support you through a difficult time in your life and ensure that you are provided with all options for your unexpected pregnancy. Should you choose adoption for your child, we will continue supporting you and present you with eligible, pre-qualified adoptive families, and assist you through the adoption process, all at no cost to you.
Question: Am I able to receive financial help?
Answer: Yes, if necessitated. This means that if you require assistance to continue your pregnancy in a healthy way, and with the intent to place your child for adoption, your chosen adoptive family may provide financial assistance in obtaining those needs. This is regulated by the agency, whereas all expenses are closely monitored and recorded. Some examples of acceptable expenses are food, safe housing, medical care, transportation costs, etc). It is important to note, however, that Texas state law requires we first seek alternate providers to meet your needs, like enrolling you with Medicaid, billing available insurance, accessing food stamps, etc.
Question: Do I need to have my parent’s consent if I am under the age of 18?
Answer: No, Texas Family Code specifically states that a birth parent may legally consent to the adoption, “whether or not a minor.”
Question: Does the birth father need to be involved in the adoption?
Answer:Texaslaw requires the agency to search for, and make efforts to obtain the consent of any known, locatable fathers/possible fathers. If you do not know the identity of the father then his parental rights will be terminated without notice unless he comes forward to assert his interest by signing up with the Paternity Registry through the Texas State Bureau of Vital Statistics. Adoption agencies and attorneys are required to search the Paternity Registry to find if a biological father is seeking to legally establish his interest of the child. The alleged birth father may register his name anytime during the pregnancy, but no later than 31 days following the child’s birth. This search must take place prior to making a motion with the court to involuntarily terminate parental rights. In most cases, it is best practice to involve the biological father in the adoption decision and provide him information about the process so as to gain his willing participation.
Question: How is my child’s adoptive family chosen?
Answer: By you! All adoptive families available through CAN’s Domestic Adoption Program have undergone an extensive screening process, which includes detailed family history interviews and criminal record clearances. You will be able to look through detailed Family Profiles that describe each family’s interests, lifestyles, family relationships, religious preferences, etc. You are even encouraged to interview your top choices of families to ask questions and get a better feel for their personality. You have made the choice to place your child with an adoptive family so that your child will be provided a lifestyle that you envision for your child’s future; so who better to select the family than you!
Question: When do I sign the adoption papers?
Answer: You may sign the paperwork that relinquishes your parental rights 48 hours after the birth of the baby. Typically this step takes place in the hospital, prior to the baby’s dismissal.
Question: May I change my mind after I sign the adoption paperwork?
Answer: No. Once you sign the relinquishment paperwork, your decision is final and you may not change your mind. During the course of your relationship with CAN’s Domestic Adoption program, you will receive plenty of information and counseling about the decision you are facing, and therefore, should be signing the relinquishment with confidence in that decision. This doesn’t mean that it will be easy, but you should be well-prepared.
Question: Will I be able to have contact with my baby after the adoption?
Answer: Children of All Nations recognizes the benefits of “open” adoption and encourages it whenever possible and appropriate. You are placing your child with an adoptive family out of love and with high hope for his/her future. This is not an act of abandonment, and therefore it is natural to want to see your child’s progress in life. Likewise, the child will be raised with the knowledge of his or her adoption and will have the desire to know about his birth family. By having contact, you and your child will be reassured of one another’s well-being and your child will have the opportunity to know you, his birth mother and/or father, and that you have his or her best interest at heart. There may also come a time when it is a necessity for you and your child to have contact with one another to gain answers to possible medical issues or family genetics. This is much easier to accomplish if there is already contact.
Typically, having open contact means sharing letters and pictures at least twice a year (usually more during the first year), using Children of All Nations as an intermediary. Sometimes the birth parent(s) and the adoptive family agree to maintain a pre-determined amount of telephone contact every year, or even face-to-face visits. The amount and type of contact is something that is worked out between birth families and adoptive families and is dependent upon their comfort level with one another. Over the course of your pregnancy, you and the selected adoptive family will most likely have an opportunity to get to one another on a more personal level, so the details of “openness” become more comfortable as your relationship develops. It is important to note that although you and the adoptive parents come to a mutual agreement about the amount and type of contact you plan to have following the adoption, this agreement is not enforceable by law and can be changed and/or discontinued by the adoptive family at any time.
Question: Will my child have life-long issues if I place him for adoption?
Answer: Although no one can predict the future, reliable studies show that adopted children are just as well-adjusted (and oftentimes better-adjusted) in their lives as compared to children raised by their biological parent(s). Additionally, when an adoption is open, the mystery of the adoption is removed, which helps the child gain a better understanding of the circumstances of their placement. They are able to see that the adoption was an act of love where the child was, and still is, the central consideration of all parents involved.