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Texas Adoption Center answers top adoption-related questions

Here are excerpts from our Q&A.

WFAA has compiled a list of some of the most prevalent adoption-related questions found online and asked Texas Adoption Center to help us answer them. 

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Here are excerpts from our Q&A.

What is the difference between an open and closed adoption?

Open: This is the most common choice for expectant mothers making an adoption plan. The adoption is “open” because the expectant mother will pick the family, she’ll get to know the family, and she’ll have a plan for an ongoing relationship. The relationship typically starts building before delivery. The expectant mother and the prospective adoptive parents typically exchange direct contact information, such as phone numbers and email addresses. After delivery, the birth mother spends time with adoptive parents and the baby at the hospital, depending on how she’s feeling. After placement, adoptive parents will have an ongoing relationship with the birth family through direct contact (phone calls, texts, emails, photo sharing app) and visits. In many open adoptions, the visits are annual.

Closed: This kind of adoption is less common and very few cases result in a fully closed adoption. In some cases, the expectant mother will ask the agency to choose a family on her behalf. After the family is chosen, the expectant mother typically won’t meet or have a relationship with the family. There are usually no updates, pictures, letters, or contact between the birth mother and the adoptive family.

What is the difference between foster care and adoption?

Foster Care: These children are involuntarily removed if they are in a situation deemed unsafe for the child by Child Protective Services. They are placed in licensed homes to care for the child until a permanency plan can be made, whether reunification with the birth family or adoption.

Private Domestic Infant Adoption: These children are voluntarily placed by their birth families with an adoptive family. These children are most often placed at birth and the children are not under the care of the state; they do not enter foster care but are directly placed with a family.

Straight Adoption (TARE): These children have been in the foster care system and the courts have determined reunification is not a safe permanency plan. All parental rights for the birth family have been terminated. These children are legally free to adopt and are awaiting a forever home. In most of these cases, the children are around 7 and up.

How much does it cost to adopt a child?

Foster Care & Straight Adoption: These children are in care of the state of Texas so most expenses for caring for the child and possibly the adoption are covered by the state.

Private Domestic Infant Adoption: Every agency will be different and but may range from $30-55K+ depending on the state/case/agency.

Why do parental termination rights differ by state?

Termination of parents rights differs by state due to each state having different adoption laws. There is no federal mandate surrounding adoption and decisions are made at the state level.

How long is the average wait time?

Average wait times will vary for everyone as there is no guaranteed answer. We encourage families to check with each agency as it’ll depend on how many waiting families they have vs. how many placements they see vs. a family’s preferences.

What are the different types of relationships I can have with my child’s birth parents?

Open, Semi-Open, Closed: This is a broad spectrum and each case will be unique based on the birth family and adoptive family’s wishes.

What services are available for expectant and birth families that are pregnant or recently delivered and desire to make an adoption plan?

• Emotional Support & Counseling

• Financial Support

• Housing & Transportation Assistance

• Medical Care & Health Insurance Assistance

• Professional support in guiding an expectant family through each step in their adoption journey