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Adoptive Family FAQ's

What is the basic process for adoptive families with a licensed agency?

  • First step is the initial application process, next comes the homes study (3-6 months) next comes the active waiting period (9-18 months approximately), then a match (0-3 months), then placement, then post placement supervision (6-9 months) then finalization in court, then updates to the agency/first family upon request (0-18 years).

What all is involved in a home study?

  • The home study is a mixture of paperwork, interviews and a review of your home, background, and lifestyle. It includes references, background checks, finial analysis, medical analysis, adoption and childcare related training, and adoption preparation. This time is also the time the adoptive family profile book will be completed. This home study has to be updated on a yearly basis, or with any major life changes, until placement occurs.

What is the “active waiting period”?

  • The active waiting period is the time in which you are home study approved, but not yet chosen for a case. This time consists of hearing about cases, deciding whether or not to present for them, and then waiting to find out if you have been chosen by the expectant/birth family. Some say it is the hardest time of the process because it is completely out of your hands. Just as you are allowed to have preferences, so are the expectant/birth families. We recommend continuing adoption related training and living your life as normal during this time in anticipation of the day your whole life will change.

What is an “adoptive family profile book”?

  • A profile book is the common way agencies present home study approved adoptive families to expectant /birth families for review. It is usually about 10-15 pages and can be pdf, soft back, or hard back. There are examples and templates all over the internet for use. There are also companies that can put them together for clients. It is a representation of your life that is used in the matching process and shows who you are and what is important to you.

What types of relationships with the Birth family are available?

  • There are three different types of adoption relationships Cradle of Life has. These are closed, semi open, and fully open. Closed: no contact with the birth family, likely that staff will choose the adoptive family. Semi open: Birth/Expectant parents have the right to pick the family get to know them and receive pictures and updates on their child for the rest of their life through agency staff. Open: everything included in the semi open option as well as the possibility for direct contact with the Birth/Expectant family and yearly visits as the relationship deepens.

What type of relationship does COL recommend? 

  • While Semi Open is the most common we do counsel on the benefits of a fully open adoption as this type leads to a closer and more beneficial relationship with the child's birth family. Closed adoption is our least common form of adoption and can only be requested by the birth family. Closed adoption is not an option for the Adoptive Family unless their birth parents decide it is what they want. Even in a closed adoption the adoptive family will sign a "Photo Agreement" that requires them to send pictures and updates to the agency for the birth family, until the child becomes an adult and can decide for themselves how to proceed.  See our "Level of Contact" blog for more information. 

How long does it take to be placed with a child?

  • Matching times vary greatly due to the fact that, in most cases, the agency is not the one choosing the adoptive families, the expectant and birth families are choosing. Generally 9 to 18 months from approval of your formal adoption application, although, in some circumstances it can happen much faster and sometimes it can take much longer depending on preferences and reach.

Can the expectant/ birth parents change their mind(s)?

  • Yes, they can change their minds until they sign the relinquishment paperwork. This usually happens 48 to 72 hours after the child is born, once those documents are signed they are permanent and irrevocable.

What can I know about the child and first family?

  • In many cases, quite a lot. We attempt to obtain a thorough and comprehensive health, social, education, and genetic history on the birthparents. We do this before matching and continue to update it as the adoption proceeds. We also receive the results of testing for HIV, STD's, and illegal drugs after the child is born and before placement can occur.

Who exactly is the agency working for?

  • In every case we are focused on the child's best interest. Matching children with a caring home, if that is the will of the first family, is Cradle of Life Adoption Agency’s top priority. We are also ensuring the first and forever family have all the tools they need to ensure a peaceful adoption journey.

How does adopting through an agency compare to adopting through a separate entity, non-adoption attorney, or individual?

  • Licensed agencies are able to provide more services to adoptive, expectant and birth parents than anyone else in the adoption community. Non-licensed individuals involved in the adoption process may be committing a crime in Texas when they match a couple and expectant parent. They may also be committing a felony in Texas if they provide the expectant/ birth couple with any financial aid. Generally there is less financial and emotional risk for the adoptive couples when adopting through a licensed agency. Attorneys can only draw up paperwork and go to court, agencies like Cradle of Life will continue to assist in the relationship between first and forever family long after placement occurs.

Can we specify preferences for the family and or child we are open to accepting?

  • While you can specify certain preferences, we do ask that most families be open to at least considering most situations. The more preferences you have the fewer cases you will be shown to which increases your wait time exponentially. However, we also ask that you do research before deciding preferences. We would prefer you be honest about what you can and cannot handle than for you to lie to yourself or your professional, or go in blind, in order to “make a quicker match”. Not every family is right for every case and you need to ensure you are going into this process well researched and ready.  

What does adoption cost?

  • Every agency has different fee’s, due at different times, for different reasons. Please reach out to us privately for fee information. Private adoption is going to be the most expensive form of adoption as you are paying for our services for 18+ years. At minimum most home studies range from $1,500-$3,000 and that is just for the initial process to become an active couple.

When do I tell the child they are adopted?

  • At birth! We recommend an open and honest dialogue with your child about their adoption story. Of course this should be age appropriate and specific to their level of understanding. We recommend allowing them to come to you to ask questions when they are ready, and ensuring they feel comfortable to speak openly with you when that time comes. Always remember this is their story not yours. The agencies role is also to guide you in this. Come to us if you have question or concerns. 

What if my child wants to reunite with their birth parents?

  • That great! Call us. We will guide you, the child, and their first family and ensure the reunion is in the best interest of everyone involved. Know that just because they want to know more about their story, does not mean they don't love you or the life you gave them. It is common and understandable to be curious about where they come from. 

*The sentiments and policies expressed in this blog represent Cradle of Life Staff and/or Clients and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or policies of all adoption agencies.