Frequently Asked Questions for Adoptive Parents
Adoption Advocates, Inc. (AAI) is committed to placing a child in your home within 18 months of full acceptance. To be fully accepted in our program, your inquiry, application, and home study must be fully approved. (See What steps are involved in an open adoption plan? for more information.) Although we cannot guarantee placement in about 18 months, we accept only the number of prospective adoptive parents with whom we can reasonably expect to place children within about an eighteen month period. Your placement might happen much more quickly, or take a little longer. Every adoption plan happens differently, but remember that your child is out there!
Because the birth mothers generally choose the adoptive parents, you should be prepared to be picked at any time after you are approved by AAI. The more flexible you are about ethnicity and background considerations, the faster your placement will likely be.
Adoption Advocates offers a comprehensive fee for the placement of a child in your home. Our comprehensive fee covers administrative costs, professional staff time, adoption educational programs for prospective adoptive parents and birth parents, preparation of interstate compact documents, and post adoption support services. Also covered is our extensive outreach program to educate birth parents about their choices available in an adoption plan.
Also included in this fee are counseling costs, maternity-related expenses for birth parents, foster care for a child for up to ten days, staff travel and associated expenses, overnight courier service, faxes, long distance charges, legal costs for termination of parental rights and other miscellaneous costs.
Not included are birth-related medical costs in excess of $9,000 for both the birth mother and baby, foster care for more than ten days, DNA testing, home studies, and past placement visits. Details about our comprehensive fee program will be forwarded to you in our inquiry packet. Please call us for details about the comprehensive fee.
At AAI, we accept applicants between the ages of 25-48. We accept heterosexual couples, singles, and same-sex couples. If the applicants are heterosexual, there is a two-year minimum marriage requirement. Applicants must be emotionally and financially stable. We also encourage applicants to be flexible about such issues as ethnicity and health history, and to be comfortable with open adoption. (See What is an open adoption? for more information.)
There are varying degrees of “openness” in an open adoption plan. The important thing to know is that no two adoptions are exactly alike. Participants in an adoption plan have different needs and interests, and Adoption Advocates will work with you to achieve a plan that best meets both your needs and the birth parents’ needs.
Most of our placements are fully-disclosed adoptions. This means that the birth parents and adoptive parents decide to exchange names, addresses, and phone numbers. This is left entirely up to the adoptive parents and the birth parents. The decision is made based on the individual relationship developed between the birth parents and adoptive parents, and occurs in conjunction with counseling from AAI’s staff. In almost all adoption plans, the adoptive parents provide pictures and letters and exchange phone calls with birth parents. Sometimes there is visitation. In adoptions that are not fully disclosed, AAI serves as the intermediary to arrange future meetings and exchange letters.
The most important thing to remember is that an open adoption is what the participants jointly decide that it should be.
To learn more about the ABC’s of Adoption, click here
- Request and review an Information Packet from AAI:
Click here to fill out the request form.
- Receipt/Review of Inquiry ($50 non-refundable fee): Inquiries are accepted year-round as a first step in the adoption process with AAI. The agency reviews Inquiries to assess if the preferences of the adoptive parents align with the needs of the agency and contacts them within 10 days of receipt to talk about next steps. You should receive a link to the Inquiry form along with this information packet.
- Application ($300 non-refundable fee): If your Inquiry is approved, you will be invited to submit a full Application. Approval of your Application (Conditional Acceptance) will be based on the information you provide, as well as an interview. Applications are reviewed bi-monthly (every other month), with e-mail notifications approving or denying the Application at the end of each bi-monthly cycle.
- Interview (Can be completed any time during the application process): AAI feels it is important to meet with all prospective families face to face. The relationship between clients and the agency needs to be based on trust and a commitment to a collaborative working relationship. The interview allows the agency to get to know the potential families, how they are approaching adoption and their adoption preparedness. The interview enables families to meet the staff, find out more about our process, and have any of their questions answered. For out of state families, this interview can be completed by phone after you have attended the training.
- Adoptive Parent Training (Can be completed at any time during the application process): Training is required by the State of Texas for any family adopting through a licensed agency. AAI offers our weekend training four times per year for free. This training educates potential families on the adoption process, open adoption, and raising an adopted child. We include a panel of birth parents and adoptive parents so you can hear the experiences of past clients. This weekend will answer your questions about adoption; prepare you for the challenges of the adoption process and allow you to network with other potential adoptive families. All of our families, including those who are out of state, must attend this training.
- Conditional Acceptance: Conditional acceptance is based on your approved Application and completed interview. E-mails will be sent out notifying families of their status at the end of the bi-monthly period. The agency deposit is due within 10 days of receipt of your approval e-mail.
- Full Acceptance: Full acceptance will be granted upon approval of Application, attendance of AAI training, an approved Pre-Adoptive Home Screening/Home Study, and receipt of all supporting documentation including the Adoptive Parent Profile. Once a family receives full acceptance, they will be ready to be shown to birth parents!
A free service AAI provides to ALL prospective clients is our AAI Training Seminars, generally offered four times a year. Attending a seminar answers a lot of questions about the adoption process and also allows you to get to know us better. These meetings include a panel of birth mothers and adoptive parents in order to broaden your understanding of the various lifelong issues of the different types of adoption. There is no cost for attending. AAI requires eight hours of adoptive parent training in Austin prior to placement.
Just as birth parents don’t get to choose the sex of the baby, neither do adoptive parents. Generally, in an open adoption, the birth parents select the adoptive parents before the child is born. We find that placements happen much more quickly when adoptive parents are willing to be flexible about issues like sex, ethnicity, and background considerations. Although we specialize in infant adoptions, we have placed children up to six years old.
Before beginning the adoption process, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is either of us prejudiced against (whatever child you are considering)?
- Are our extended families prejudiced?
- How would they accept a grandchild (niece, nephew, etc.) who is a minority?
- Do we have friends, neighbors, and other role models of the child’s ethnicity for the child to grow up knowing?
Open adoption is in the best interest of the child. Adopted children grow up thinking about both sets of parents—their mommy and daddy who raise them and their birth parents. The more you know, the more you can share with your child. Your child can grow up knowing that their adoption was an act of love and an unselfish desire that he or she have a better life. Your child will know that his or her birth parents carefully chose you to be the parents with love and great hope for the future. Your child will learn that the connection to their birth parents is lifelong and always honored. It is much easier for your child’s self-esteem to remain intact if their origin is honored.