Adoption in Texas can be a difficult and time-consuming process. In recent years, the process has continued to be long-term as well as potentially expensive. But is it harder than it used to be?
Support After Adoption
We’ve discussed adoption many times on this blog, and have published articles on the Texas adoption process as well as what Texas requires for adoption. While it’s still long process and can be expensive, modern adoption comes with a range of help and support that was previously unavailable.
The Texas Department Of Family And Protective Services has a list of post-adoption services available on its website, and refers families who request them.
CK Family Services is a faith-based organization that offers a wide range of services for foster and adoptive families, including post-adoption services. They are licensed by the State of Texas Department Of Family And Protective Services, and are available in 19 counties, including Tarrant.
The Texas Foster Care Association is a private nonprofit that offers support and educational resources to both foster families and those interested in adoption. Region 3 serves the DFW area. Over the years, TFCA has begun to include advocacy in their mission.
Show Hope is another faith-based support nonprofit organization that understands the special circumstances that adoptive parents sometimes find themselves facing. They offer a number of resources, including pre- and post-adoption support for families who need it.
It Wasn’t Always This Way
Back in the 1980’s, television stations began running segments called “Wednesday’s Children” during their news programs. This was a joint effort to get more children out of the foster care system and adopted into families. These children were generally adolescents, not the babies most people think of when they consider adoption. Viewers saw these segments and began adopting based on the profiles they saw.
While many of these adoptions went well, others did not. One article from Texas Monthly and another from D Magazine detail how Texas DHS adopted out children from their system without disclosures. Parents who adopted directly from DHS or by fostering a child were offered minimal information on the children they were bringing into their homes. Many came from severe abuse and neglect situations, and needed help to be able to overcome their difficult upbringing.
Unfortunately, DHS never disclosed the extent of the children’s abuse, and closed out the file once they placed these children. The children’s records were hidden from the parents intentionally, and a two-minute segment didn’t show a picture of the child’s entire personality. When parents went back to DHS to ask for help, there was none, and DHS was finished with them. The children were now “the parents’ problem,” and no help or support was available when the problems began manifesting. DHS continued to market the children on TV for many years in this fashion, moving them into unprepared families as fast as they could.
Adoptive parents were caught unaware when their children began to act out, violently in some cases. Since they had no idea of what kind of problems the children were facing, they were unable to get the children the help they needed. The parents were not equipped to deal with the extreme behavior exhibited by children who developed severe mental illness and weren’t capable of functioning within a non-abusive family unit. Behavioral and family therapy did nothing. Some of the children were returned to DHS for re-adoption, others were institutionalized because of the parents inability to help them.
Fortunately, there have been changes in Texas’ adoption system since then, and adoptive parents can get the help they need.
Family Law Attorney Wendy L. Hart For Your Family’s Adoption
At the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart, we love bringing happy families together through the adoption process. You can always expect compassionate service, detailed knowledge of Texas adoption law, and consideration for your goals and interests. To begin the adoption process or for help with any family issue, call our Mansfield-Fort Worth family law office today at (817) 842-2336.