"CATHOLIC CHARITIES of the Diocese of Galveston Houston"
CATHOLIC CHARITIES of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston 2900 Louisiana St. Houston, TX 77006 VOLUNTARY ADOPTION PROCESS At Catholic Charities adoption is seen as a process rather than as an event. Consequently, services are offered to all members of the Adoption Triad, (birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted persons), throughout their lifetimes. THE PROCESS A. ORIENTATION A private orientation session is scheduled with potential applicants. During the orientation, the adoption process is explained in more depth. The potential applicant's questions are answered and they are requested to sign consent for a criminal history check. An adoption application packet is reviewed and may be given to the applicants at that time. The applicants must then complete the application and return it to Catholic Charities. B. ADOPTION READING Read the books on your bibliography, especially the required reading: Dear Birthmother, Raising Adopted Children, and The Open Adoption Experience. C. HOME STUDY 1.Each spouse completes an autobiography for the adoption study counselor. This must be completed and received by the agency before a counselor will be assigned to complete your home study. The following material is collected as part of the file: references, medical reports, criminal and CANRIS checks, and validation of specific documents required by the court. 2. After receipt of the completed application, and requested documents and materials, and payment of the home study fee ($1,500.00) the home study begins. For married applicants it consists of one joint interview with the couple and individual interviews with each spouse in the office. More interviews may be conducted to complete all the information if needed. During the home study, the family completes the Child Preference Form, and Openness Checklist. 3. Infant CPR and First Aid Course are highly encouraged. 4. A home visit is conducted to ascertain the safety and suitability of the applicant's home. 5. The social worker presents the family to the adoption committee for review. Page 1 of 3 Revised 9/30/02 Central/Manual/InfAdoptParentForms/OrientationPacket/AdoptionProcessInfo 6. Upon approval, a formal letter and financial contract is sent to the applicants. 7. The adoptive parents will need to complete their Dear Parent Letter after the approval committee has met. The adoptive parent social worker will review letters if requested for any suggestions or advice. Adoptive parents should include colored photos that pictorially describe who they are as a family to include with their Dear Birth Parent Letter. An outline will be given to adoptive applicants. For adoptive parents who are considering placement of child from a Hispanic Birth Parent, it is suggested that you provide a Dear Birth Parent Letter in both English and Spanish. 8. The applicants must check with their adoption counselor monthly while awaiting placement. D. EDUCATION 1. Each applicant must attend four Adoption Readiness Education Seminars provided through the agency. E. WAITING FOR YOUR CHILD 1. Our birth parents generally select the adoptive parents for their child based on the Dear Birth Parent letters written by the adoptive couples and the adoptive couple's attitude toward openness. The adoptive family selected is provided with data on the birth parent so that they can determine if they wish to be considered by that particular birth mother. 2. After a family is selected, they and the birth parent(s) may meet prior to delivery and/or after delivery. An agreement about the nature of future contacts between the birth and adoptive families is usually agreed upon at this stage. The agency encourages continued communication and fully open adoptions in the best interest of the child. F. PLACEMENT OF YOUR CHILD, SUPERVISION AND FINALIZATION 1. Each adoption is unique and the parties involved decide how the placement will take place. The birth parents may choose to place their child in the adoptive parents' arms, or she may not wish to be involved in the placement at all. The placement may include a ceremony in the agency meditation room where a brief celebration with refreshments for the adoptive family and their guests follow would follow. 2. The adoption is supervised, as required by the state, for a minimum of six months, by the adoption counselor. The supervisory period will be longer if the child is older or has special needs. This is a special time for the family to utilize the services of their counselor to facilitate the child's integration into the family. The counselor's role is not that of a judge. 3. Finalization of the adoption occurs after the supervisory period. Families will obtain their own attorney for the court proceeding but will be provided with known adoption attorneys by the agency. Page 2 of 3 Revised 9/30/02 Central/Manual/InfAdoptParentForms/OrientationPacket/AdoptionProcessInfo G. POST PLACEMENT 1. Communication between the birth and adoptive parents continues according to the birth and adoptive families' plan. 2. Individual, family, and group counseling is available to all adoption triad members through Catholic Charities Post Adoption Department. ADOPTIVE PARENT/COUNSELOR ASSIGNMENT Orientation/Application Phase: During the orientation and material gathering stage, the prospective adoptive family is assigned to the Intake and Recruitment Worker. She/He will keep them abreast of what documentation has arrived, and how their file is developing. Adoption Study Phase: Once the file is complete, the Intake and Recruitment Worker assigns the prospective adoptive parents to a Home Study Worker who conducts the Home Study. The Home Study Worker will call the prospective adoptive family to schedule appointments. During the home study, the prospective adoptive parents should direct questions and stay in contact with their Intake and Recruitment Worker. (The Intake and Recruitment Worker remains the prospective parents’ primary worker until completion of the study and notification of approval.) Pre and Post Placement Phase: When the prospective adoptive parents are informed of their approval status (via letter), they are assigned to the agency Placement Services Worker. From that point on she/he will be the family's primary worker. She/He will facilitate Dear Birth Parent letters being presented to birth mothers, keep the prospective adoptive parents abreast of possible placements, facilitate the openness discussions, and coordinate placements and placement documents. This counselor will visit the prospective parents while they are waiting and continue to visit after the child is placed. The Placement Services Worker will refer the family to court to finalize the adoption. Post Finalization Phase: After finalization, the adoptive family may call Catholic Charities Post Adoption Department for help with questions or counseling needs. 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