How does adoption work?

Adoption is a loving solution for those who are not ready to take on parenthood at this time in their life and for those who have been longing to be a “mom” and “dad” through adoption. At Lifetree, we care about your welfare and as well as your child’s and the adoptive family’s. We feel it is important for you to know and understand all aspects of the adoption process. Lifetree’s caring, experienced staff is here to comfort you and answer all of your important questions – whenever you need us. All discussions are and will remain totally confidential, up to the point such information is released to the courts for finalization of your adoption.

There is a reason why God has allowed you to be in this situation and adoption may be God’s answer for you. Think of adoption like the same way God thought about Jesus dying on the cross – God didn’t look at the journey Jesus was going to have to go through during his life on earth; rather, the joy that his death was going to bring to all. So, don’t look at the journey you will have to go through during your pregnancy; rather, look at the joy you will bring to others through adoption.

At Lifetree, we allow you to select the type of the adoption scenario you desire and to what extent you would like to be involved, and we also allow the Adoptive Family to select the adoption scenario that is best for them. We offer three different types of adoption: Open, Semi-Open, and Closed.

Open Adoption

Open adoption involves sharing confidential information like full names and addresses, and includes an ongoing relationship with the adoptive family and the child. You get to choose and interview the Family whom you desire to adopt your child. You are allowing the adoptive family to parent and raise your child but you still remain in contact with your child. The amount of contact between you and your child as well as the adoptive family is agreed upon by both parties.

Semi-Open Adoption

In a semi-open adoption, the most popular type of adoption, involves sharing only some information like first names with one another; and meeting each other at our office with your counselor present. Continuing contact between you and the adoptive family, if you desire, is through photographs, videos, letters, and/or other means of correspondences.

Closed Adoption

In closed adoptions, all confidential information (i.e., names, addresses, and telephone numbers), except for the medical/genetic information, remains confidential and there is no further contact with your child or the adoptive family. The adoptive family is chosen by Lifetree. There are several disadvantages to this adoption scenario: you don’t know how your child is doing and you don’t know what your child will look like. For the child, he/she will grow up in a world with unanswered questions.

Not only do we want to help you through your pregnancy, we also want to help you through the steps of the adoption process. We want to learn how you envision the adoption process, what you desire out of the adoption process, and how much you would like to be involved in the adoption process as well. We will discuss with you each adoption scenario and which one will work best for you and your Child as based on what you desire and the other ways Lifetree can possible help you through the adoption process. One of the best things that we have to offer you is our counseling services. We will counsel you to confirm that you truly desire placing your child into the home of an awaiting family and when you are ready to do so. Once you have made your decision, we will help you to prepare an Placement Plan outlining your desires.

Support during your pregnancy

We will offer you the best medical care available and a complete pre-natal screening for you and your child. You will undergo a pre-natal screening to determine the presence of any illnesses and/or diseases (i.e., HIV, communicable diseases, drug, and alcohol) and undergo a sonogram to determine if your child is free of any birth defects. Once the Obstetrician has deemed you and your baby as “healthy,” Lifetree will meet with each Birth Parent to obtain hereditary medical information. The hereditary medical information is somewhat lengthy and will ask some important questions relating to each of your health, social, family and genetic history. This examination may make you anxious, but it is unavoidable, because all courts require a Health, Social, Family, and Genetic History Report on both Birth Parents. If for instance the Birthfather is unknown, there other options the courts will accept.

Choosing an adoptive family

In order to ensure you that your child will be placed into the home of a loving family who will provide care for your Child, Lifetree will require the Adoptive Family to go through a pre-adoptive home screening process before Lifetree accepts them as a client and a six-month post-adoptive placement process after the child is placed into their home. These processes too are somewhat lengthy, but it is unavoidable because all courts will require both types of examination on the Adoptive Family. Not only are we presenting to you that our Adoptive Families will be great parents, we are also presenting to the courts the same type of information. Therefore, Lifetree wants to make certain that the Adoptive Family you select will have the resources needed to raise your child.

Once you and your Lifetree counselor have come to an agreement on your readiness to select an Adoptive Family, you will be presented photo albums of awaiting Adoptive Families who desire the same adoption expectations as you do. You will get to select which Adoptive Family you would like to parent your child. After you have chosen the Adoptive Family, Lifetree will present a photograph of you to the chosen Adoptive Family and your Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History Report (if both are known). In return, they too get to select whether they want to parent your Child.

Having your baby

We will try to pre-register you at one of our recommended hospitals or at a hospital of your choice. We do this so that your admission into the hospital when you are in labor will go smoothly. In order for you to have a great delivery, we will get you prepared for childbirth (if you so desire). When you go into labor, you will need to call your Lifetree counselor as soon as you can or you may elect to have the hospital do so for your. We will be there with you during your time at the hospital, as long as you feel comfortable with that. Many of our Birthmothers do not have support systems, and often we may be the only person(s) who have unconditional relationships with them. We do not want you to be alone at the hospital, and would like to be there for you. We would remain a neutral party, and only want you to make the decision that is best for you and your baby. The hospital social worker will be involved, also as a neutral party, to make sure that you are not being pressured in any way.

After your baby is born

At the conclusion of the adoption process, you will be required to sign a relinquishment of your parental rights. Texas law states that the soonest a Birthmother may sign her Relinquishment of Parental Rights is 48 hours after the birth of her child. Most Relinquishments are done before the Birthmother leaves the hospital to go home. Before signing your Relinquishment, we make sure you are not under the influence of medication so you will be thinking clearly. We have two witnesses present, and then we will read aloud each sentence of the document. If you feel like adoption is the right option for you, which is the point in time when you sign your Relinquishment. Once the document is signed, it is irrevocable and permanent. Because of this, we give each Birthmother a copy of a Relinquishment when she first signs on with our agency. This allows her to read the Relinquishment in advance so she may understand what she would be signing and the finality in signing it.

The following is a general overview of the adoption process outlining the steps that you will have to take.

THE ADOPTION STEPS FOR OUR BIRTH PARENTS

  1. Contact Lifetree 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (972) 491-3333 or email us.
  2. Discuss with a Lifetree counselor the information you will need in order to make an informed decision regarding placement.
  3. Undergo a pre-natal screening by one of Lifetree’s approved certified obstetricians.
  4. Complete and sign various court-ordered forms.
  5. Continuing contact with your Lifetree counselor to ensure your true desire regarding placement.
  6. If you choose, you can join our Birthmothers Support Group, hosted at our office.
  7. Select one of Lifetree’s awaiting adoptive families, by way of photograph albums.
  8. Meet the adoptive family, if you so desire.
  9. Pre-register at the hospital where you will deliver your baby.
  10. Contact Lifetree counselor when you start labor.
  11. Sign the Birth Parents Relinquishment of Parental Rights documents as early as 48 hours after the birth of your baby.
  12. Continuing contact with your Lifetree counselor to discuss how you are doing, your feelings toward the adoption process, any concerns/comments that you may have, and how Lifetree can better serve your needs