AIM Adoptions is a non-profit, Christian adoption agency located in beautiful Houston, Texas. We have been helping birth mothers place their babies for adoption for over 30 years. We believe there are no accidents in this world, even when a pregnancy is unplanned. God has a plan for that baby, and we’re here to help ensure babies everywhere have the best chance possible to live out that plan.
We not only offer incredible support services for our birth mothers, but we also offer community for our adoptive families as well. While the birth mother definitely has a struggle all her own, the adoptive parents can live on pins and needles as well, especially while awaiting approval from the state of Texas finalizing their adoption. Below, we’ll go into a bit more detail on the final approval process of adoption in Texas. Contact us today to learn more!
FINALIZING ADOPTION IN THE STATE OF TEXAS
As we mentioned in our last blog post, birth mothers cannot legally relinquish their rights to parent their child until at least 48 hours after birth. This allows them plenty of time to make sure that surrendering the beautiful baby that they hold in their arms is the right decision for them.
This 48-hour window can be an incredibly stressful time for the chosen adoptive parents. While the birth mother has chosen them as the adoptive parents for her baby, the birth mother can still change her mind. Not until the moment she has signed the consent for adoption form relinquishing her rights as a parent can the adoptive parents have any hope of taking the baby home with them.
Once the documents have been signed, the adoptive parents can now breathe a huge sigh of relief. One hurdle down; however, the hurdle to finalize the adoption is yet to be surmounted. When the adoption is finalized, the baby is now legally the parents. A judge in Texas has to sign the final adoption decree that does officially reward legal custody to the adoptive parents. The judge reviews all of the paperwork and makes sure all of the applicable state and federal laws were followed before issuing the decree. The judge is looking for the following items to be completed:
- The biological parents have relinquished their rights. The judge will review the consent for adoption forms signed by the biological parents, ensuring both parents have signed. Or, if the rights of the biological parents were legally terminated due to abuse, neglect, etc, the judge will verify that all of that paperwork is in order.
- The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was followed. The Indian Child Welfare Act was a law enacted in 1978 at a time when a lot of Native American children were being removed from their families and given to non-Native American families to raise. This federal law enacts additional requirements before a Native American child can be adopted. The child must be cleared via the ICWA in order to be adopted if he or she is of Native American ancestry and is a member of a Native American tribe.
- The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) was followed. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children governs adoptions when the adoptive family lives in a different state than the birth mother. This agreement between all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. This helps protect the birth parents’ rights to see their baby, as well as ensures that all applicable state and federal regulations are still followed so nothing gets overlooked in transit and that the baby is still protected under all laws.
- The required post-placement visits have occurred and the adoptive parents have passed. Texas requires five post-placement visits, which are designed to ensure that both the adoptive parents and the baby are adjusting to life well together. This also serves as a check just in case something was missed in the approval process conducted by the adoption agency. These visits and subsequent reports must be completed before the adoption finalization hearing can take place.
THE FINALIZATION HEARING FOR ADOPTION
The adoption finalization hearing is usually an event to be celebrated. It’s a day you’ve been waiting for for a long time. Average time between the birth of your baby and the finalization is between three months and one year. Once all of the reports from the post-placement visits are in, you will be notified (either by your adoption attorney, the adoption agency, or the social worker who has been conducting the visits) of the time and place of the hearing. You are usually allowed to invite family and friends to watch. Here’s what to expect at your adoption finalization:
- Your attorney, family, and social worker will be sworn in.
- You will be asked to give a brief statement about why you want to adopt the child.
- The judge will ask you to confirm that you understand the responsibilities you are taking on, including providing the child with a loving, safe home.
- If the child is over the age of 12 in the state of Texas, the child must give verbal consent to being adopted, in which case, this will happen as well.
- There may be a few more questions. A picture may be taken as well.
- Then the judge will sign the adoption decree, and you are now the legal guardians of your long-awaited baby!
At the finalization hearing, it’s best if both parents show up, and in some counties, this is required. However, if the adoptive parents live in a different state, the parents may not be required to travel back at all. You can now apply for a new birth certificate and social security card. And your life has now officially begun with your new family member.
HOW AIM ADOPTIONS HELPS WITH YOUR ADOPTION FINALIZATION
AIM Adoptions is an adoption agency in Houston that helps both birth mothers and adoptive parents navigate the sometimes complicated adoption process. We are a non-profit Christian adoption agency dedicated to ensuring every child has a good home. We partner with birth mothers in their journey to finding the perfect adoptive family for their baby, and we help those seeking to become an adoptive family have that chance in life. For birth mothers, we help with medical care, transportation, financial assistance, such as food, and housing. For adoptive parents, once you finish our application process and are approved, you move to our waiting list where you will be eligible to adopt.
Community is important to us, and we host regular events for our adoptive parents to get together and support one another. We are available 24 hours a day for your questions and concerns. We understand that the adoption process is fraught with emotion. We do everything in our power to make it easy on everyone involved. Thus, our adoption process does not stop when the consent for adoption is signed by the birth mother, or the baby is handed over to its new adoptive family. We support you whenever you need it, day or night, for as long as you need it. Our post-adoption services include counselling, referral services, and more. Choose us as your Houston adoption agency of choice today!