November is National Adoption Month, which is a time to celebrate the importance of adopting children and youth into safe and loving homes.
Adoption is one of the core services that DePelchin provides in the communities of Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Lubbock. Adoptive families often begin as foster families. Foster care begins when a child is removed from their birth family and state caseworkers contact agencies such as DePelchin to find an appropriate family to provide care. DePelchin provides intensive training, therapy, and support for these families to help equip them to provide the care needed by children who have experienced trauma.
The process of fostering may last for a year or longer before the family is eligible to adopt the child. If birth parents are unable to complete the court requirements to provide a safe environment for the child, there may be a legal termination of parental rights. At that point, foster families can be adoptive families and commit to provide a forever, loving home for the child.
Another service that DePelchin provides is often referred to as “straight adoption.” The children available for adoption in this process have had a termination of parental rights. However, their previous foster families or group homes have not been available or suitable as a forever home. Their state caseworkers may create online profiles or coordinate media spotlights, as well as contact local agencies like DePelchin to seek out appropriate families who will be the best fit for the children’s unique needs.
The children who wait the longest for a forever family are typically teens, sibling groups of three or more, or children with significant behavioral, developmental, or medical needs. DePelchin has a process to equip families to meet the needs of these children, who have experienced trauma in their birth families as well as foster care. Staff spend months with the family as they learn about a child and the child’s history, to determine whether their family could be the right match. When the child moves into the home, a family will have the support of DePelchin and state caseworkers for at least six months before the adoption is completed.
DePelchin also has a third program, known as private infant adoption. Through this program birth parents seek adoptive families for their children before the child is born. There is an opportunity through private adoption to maintain contact between birth family and the adoptive family as a child grows, should both families be open to it. This is a smaller program, which helps educate birth parents on their options and supports families seeking infant adoption.
Thousands of children are adopted in Texas each year, and DePelchin is always looking for more families to consider providing foster and adoptive care. You can learn more about these programs and sign up for an online informational session here.