E.J. asks from Flower Mound, TX on January 08, 2007
Thinking of Adopting
My husband and I are thinking about adopting a child. I was wondering if there are any good agencies we should go through and how long does the process take? What requirements do you have to do? Which is better an open or close adoption? I hear so much about bad adoption cases that I would like to hear maybe some good stories. We won't do this until my youngest gets a little bigger.
J.W. answers from Dallas on March 22, 2007
Our son is adopted (we used Adoption Works in the Dallas, it was formerly called Christian Services of the Southwest) and we will likely adopt again in the future. There are tons of agencies out there, so I would just start searching online for info. Each agency has it's own parameters... most will not "put you low on the list" because you already have kids. For lots of agencies, they simply provide the prospective adoptive parent information (in the form of a scrapbook or paperwork that you have filled out - not your personal info, last name, address, etc. but what you do, what your family is like, why you want to adopt, if you have kids, etc.) to the birthparents and they choose the couples they would like to consider. That is the way our agency worked - there was no "waiting" list - if you got your paperwork in and a birthmother picked you the next day, that was that. For those agencies, it's just about which couples the birthparents are drawn to and what kind of family they want to place the child in. Like I said, do some research and find out the kinds of things appeal to you in an agency. The initial paperwork will take at least a month or two to get together (references, background checks, etc.) and after that the timeline depends on the agency and how they do things.
Our adoption went beautifully... there were ups and downs, just like there is with pregnancy, but we have loved the outcome. We have a very open relationship with our son's birthmother and her family and it works really well for us. It's different for everyone, though, and each agency will likely specialize in either open or closed adoption, so that will be part of what you base your agency decision on. Once a baby is placed with you, there will be a 6 month period until the adoption is finalized in court (this is how it works in the state of Texas). The $10,000 tax credit has some eligibility requirements, but you can google all the info on that - just look for Adoption Tax Credit. We got part of our credit this year and it is GREAT!
Also, in response to another post regarding money... I would be hesitant to go with an agency that requires all the money up front. Our experience was different - there were fees assosciated with the application, but we did not pay the rest until our adoption was finished.
Good luck! It's an awesome experience!
M.F. answers from Dallas on January 08, 2007
I have 4 close friends who have adopted. It took anywhere from about 1 to 3 years for them. You can go through an agency, but since you already have children, you're likely to be low on the list of recipients unless you want a black or bi-racial child. One used Hope Cottage in Dallas, another used Gladney for an international adoption and another used an agency in Houston for her first child and a private adoption for her second. And one of those same friends is now trying to adopt through child protective services, which is apparently a painstaking process (you have to be certified foster parents before adopting). Other friends adopted a couple of pre-teenagers through CPS in Denton and it took about 2 years. Their experience was positive (and their daughters are simply wonderful).
I know that it is terribly expensive. The couples who adopted newborns spent a minimum of about $15,000 each (and I believe this is cash/credit up front, or possibly in 2 or 3 payments timed to certain court dates or other events in the adoption process.) There is a bit of a tax break for adopting, but I don't know what that is.
A.L. answers from Dallas on January 08, 2007
Hope Cottage in Dallas and Adoption Service Associates in San Antonio are both good agencies. One thing that you might want to keep in mind is that a lot of times adopted children want to meet their parents. I'm adopted and even though mine was a closed adoption I met my birth-parents and my sister when I was 18. It upset my adopted parents so. It was so important for me to meet them though.
L.M. answers from Dallas on January 11, 2007
I interned at Gladney a few years ago, and it is a wonderful, loving, not-for-profit organization. I will say, though that they do not accept applicants for domestic infant adoption who have more than one child. There are just too many infertile couples wanting to adopt. However, you would be able to adopt an older child domestically, or a child internationally. I do know that domestic adoption averages 12-16 thousand dollars, and international is more like 18-22 thousand. Hope this helps!