Questions & Answers
Adoption at Christian Homes
WHAT IS AN OPEN ADOPTION?
Open adoption is a relationship where both the adoptive family and the birth parents exchange identifying information including names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. Contact may include letters, pictures, emails, phone calls and personal visits between you and the adoptive family. You and the adoptive family work out the agreement so that everyone is as comfortable as possible. This agreement will be put in writing for you and the family to sign.
Most adoptions at Christian Homes are open. The choice is up to you on whether or not you want an open, semi-open or closed adoption.
WHAT IF I AM UNSURE ABOUT WHETHER ADOPTION IS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR ME?
We have a staff of counselors available to explore and discuss your options.
HOW CAN I BE ADMITTED TO THE PROGRAM?
When you contact the Agency, you are provided information about Christian Homes while answering basic questions about your situation so staff can determine if we are able to meet your needs. In most cases, you will complete a brief pre-application that can be returned by mail. A caseworker will schedule to meet with you at a time and place mutually agreed upon in the community where you live. If you are thinking about living in the residential apartments, an interview may be scheduled in Abilene where you can meet the staff, see the apartments, and decide for yourself if Christian Homes’ services meet your needs.
MAY I STILL COME TO THE MATERNITY APARTMENTS IF I AM UNDECIDED?
Yes, you will have counseling while in residence, and, should you reach a decision to parent the child, an alternate plan will be developed. Sometimes this may involve returning to the community where you lived before coming to Christian Homes. In addition, we can help with referrals to other social service agencies that might be able to offer assistance.
DO I HAVE TO COME TO THE MATERNITY APARTMENTS?
No. You can remain in your own community and a caseworker will work with you there.
IF I CHOOSE TO LIVE IN THE MATERNITY APARTMENTS, IS THERE A CHARGE?
Christian Homes is supported by contributions from interested individuals and fees charged to adoptive parents. There are NO FEES charged to you. A small weekly allowance is provided for extra activities.
HOW LONG CAN I STAY AT THE RESIDENTIAL APARTMENTS AFTER I DELIVER?
You may remain at the residential apartments for up to six weeks following delivery. In some cases, you may remain longer, i.e. to finish the school semester, etc. You have the option of leaving the residential apartments as soon after delivery as you wish. Many residents who live nearby return to their home the day they leave the hospital. Others remain at the apartments until their health permits them to travel.
WILL MY MEDICAL COSTS BE COVERED EITHER BY THE AGENCY OR THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS, OR BOTH?
When you plan adoption, Christian Homes pays maternity related medical expenses except those covered by health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, CHAMPUS or third party resources.
WHAT INFORMATION, IF ANY, IS NEEDED FROM THE BIRTH FATHER?
We would like to have the same information on the birth father as we do on you, so the child will know something about both parents (medical, genetic history, etc). We realize, however, that sometimes this is not possible, but we find that children who were adopted are usually curious about information on both parents.
If you still have questions after visiting with your caseworker, Christian Homes will arrange for you to visit with an attorney who can explain the legalities. Christian Homes wants you to fully understand your rights and the father’s rights.
WHEN, IF AT ALL, DOES THE BIRTH FATHER HAVE TO BE INVOLVED?
If you are not married, he does not have to be involved in the adoption plan unless you desire him to be. If you wish, he will be given an opportunity to indicate his interest or waive his rights to the child. Hopefully, he will support your choice but the adoption may generally proceed even without his consent. If you are married, separated or recently divorced, a caseworker can provide you with more information.
WHAT “QUALIFICATIONS” MUST THE COUPLE MEET BEFORE THEY ARE ACCEPTED AS CLIENTS IN YOUR AGENCY?
A couple (man and woman) must be married for at least two years; both be over 21 years of age; both be involved in a church that professes Jesus Christ as the Son of God; have an approved, completed home study which demonstrates emotional, financial, spiritual, and physical stability; as well as references from neighbors, friends, relatives, employers, and church members. Criminal records and child abuse records are checked to verify that your child will be safe in their home.
HOW MUCH CAN I BE INVOLVED IN CHOOSING THE RIGHT COUPLE FOR MY CHILD?
If you desire, you may select the couple you feel is right for your child. Christian Homes has profiles of each approved family, which includes includes letter addressed to you, a photo album, and each prospective parent’s autobiography, that you can look through until you find the one you desire.
MAY I SELECT WHAT RELIGION I WISH THE COUPLE TO BE?
All of our adoptive couples are of the Christian faith but from various denominations, i.e. Church of Christ, Baptist, Methodist, etc. You may select the couple whose beliefs you are most comfortable with.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I SELECT A COUPLE?
Christian Homes will notify the couple and, if desired, we will set up a meeting between you and the couple you choose. If the meeting goes well and you still want this couple for your child, a “match” will be made.
BY LAW, WHAT IS THE ADOPTIVE FAMILY PERMITTED TO KNOW ABOUT ME?
The law requires certain information be provided to the family, including, but not limited to, a social/genetic history and any criminal record you might have.
WILL I BE ABLE TO SEE MY BABY IN THE HOSPITAL?
Yes. Your parents, friends, birth father, etc. are allowed to see the baby, too, if you choose. Your contact with the baby is determined by hospital policy, but, unless your baby has medical issues, your contact is nearly unrestricted.
*Your contact with the baby may be determined by hospital policy if your baby has medical issues. Otherwise, your contact with the baby may be unrestricted.
CAN I NAME MY BABY, AND IF SO, WILL THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS KEEP THE NAME I PICK?
Often, the naming process is shared between you and the adoptive family. Discussing names with the adopting family and reach an agreement on what he or she will be named. Ultimately, the adopting family has the right to select the name they choose for the baby.
WILL I BE ABLE TO HAVE A VISIT WITH MY BABY BEFORE I SIGN THE ADOPTION PAPERS?
Yes, if that is your wish. You may tell your caseworker how much time you wish to spend with your baby at the hospital. However, if your baby has medical issues following birth, hospital policy may dictate how much time any one can spend with the baby.
WHEN DO I SIGN THE ADOPTION PAPERS?
In Texas, you may sign legal documents no sooner than 48 hours after you deliver the baby. Most women elect to sign before leaving the hospital, if possible. If you do not deliver in Texas, then the laws of the state where the baby is born will govern how soon after the birth you may sign the papers relinquishing your parental rights.
ONCE I SIGN THE ADOPTION PAPERS, CAN I CHANGE MY MIND?
After the birth you will have 48 hours before signing the legal documents to make sure you want to proceed with adoption. You will not be able to change your mind after these documents are signed.
MAY I HAVE A PICTURE OF MY BABY AFTER HE/SHE IS BORN?
Yes. You or your family may take photos of the baby. Assuming the hospital has a photographer on staff, Christian Homes will arrange for your baby’s First Photo.
WHAT MAY I SEND WITH MY CHILD (GIFTS, LETTERS, PICTURES, ETC.) AND WILL I HAVE THE ASSURANCE THAT MY CHILD WILL GET THESE ITEMS?
In an open adoption, you may send gifts, letters and pictures directly to your child; otherwise you can send them to Christian Homes, and we will forward them to the adoptive family.
Christian Homes photographs items that you send to us to forward to the adoptive family for them or the baby. We keep those photos in your record as assurance that you child will know what you sent. At age 18, your child has the right to request to see the adoption record. This is the time that he will know what you sent regardless of what the adoptive family has told your child.
MAY I WRITE MY BABY A LETTER EXPLAINING THE REASONS FOR ARRANGING THE ADOPTION, AND WILL I HAVE THE ASSURANCE MY CHILD WILL RECEIVE IT AND READ IT?
Yes, you may write a letter and give it to the family personally when they come to meet you or pick up the baby. Christian Homes will place a copy of your letter in your file so that you can be assured your child will be able to read that letter if he or she requests to see his/her file.
AFTER THE ADOPTION IS FINALIZED, WILL I NEED TO HAVE ANY FURTHER CONTACT WITH THE AGENCY? IF SO, UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES?
Christian Homes has an open door, and we encourage continued contact as you sort through your emotions. A caseworker will be available to counsel with you for as long as you need. If you and the adoptive family desire to correspond through the Agency, you may. Many families correspond directly with the birth mother.
WHO HAS ACCESS TO MY FILE IN THE ADOPTION AGENCY?
Only authorized employees will have access to your file. The information is confidential. Once your child reaches age 18, he/she may have access to his/her adoption record. And, with your permission, he/she may be given your name, address, etc.
Christian Homes has found that in “identified adoptions” most of the adoptive parents have shared your name, address, etc. with the child at the age they believe he/she is able to understand what adoption is.