Pregnancy FAQs

Our role is to help you explore adoption as an option for your unplanned pregnancy. There is never any pressure or obligation to choose adoption. Our licensed, experienced counselors will help you explore adoption, and if you choose to parent we can refer you to resources.

Hope Cottage offers birth families a supportive environment in which to receive counseling services as you examine adoption. All of the services birth families receive are free.

Yes. At Hope Cottage, we encourage birth parents to choose their child’s adoptive family. You’ll have the opportunity to see pictures and letters about families that are available for your child, and you can choose to meet families before making your final decision.

We don’t have housing on the premises, but may be able to provide minimal financial assistance with rent, utilities, food, clothing and transportation based on pregnancy-related needs.

We encourage birth parents to see their baby after delivery. Should you choose to place your child for adoption, you and the adoptive family may work together to determine the amount of contact you wish to have after you leave the hospital.

Every adoption is unique. Birth parents are encouraged to realistically consider what kind of information they may want in the future. Our staff works hard to help every birth parent find a family that is a good fit. Levels of openness range from closed to fully open. In a closed adoption, the birth parents have no identifying information on the adoptive family and choose not to have any contact. The other end of the continuum is a fully disclosed adoption, in which the birth parents and adoptive parents share all identifying information and arrange for visits and communication on a consistent basis. Most fall somewhere in between. Some birth parents choose a semi-open adoption in which Hope Cottage serves as intermediary to arrange visits and handle communication, and only first names are exchanged.

Yes, Hope Cottage has adoptive families available for children of any race.

Yes, to place a child for adoption, the birth father’s parental rights must be addressed. In Texas, birth fathers are entitled to notice of proceedings to terminate parental rights or adoption proceedings. There is also a paternity registry available for birth fathers to acknowledge paternity. Hope Cottage can handle all of the communication and legal work with the birth father, even when he is unknown.

On occasion, women contact us from the hospital after their baby is born, and we may provide short term foster care for the baby to enable the birth mother to consider her options and make an informed decision. Hope Cottage can arrange placement of a child up to the age of three with an appropriate adoptive family.

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Infant Adoption FAQs

In addition to the legally required six-month post-placement supervision, Hope Cottage provides a strong support system for as long as needed. Our family picnic, holiday open house and other events help adoptive families meet others who have also completed the adoption journey. We provide counseling and support for all adoptive parties throughout their lives.

Our first commitment is to you and your needs. We are not a huge organization where you will get lost among the many. Since 1918, Hope Cottage has been committed to providing families with the best possible adoption experience. Our commitment to birth mothers is lifelong support or as long as you need a trusted counselor. We are a non-profit licensed child placing agency run by an unpaid board of directors and committed social workers, not lawyers.

Emotionally and financially stable couples and singles, at least 25 years old who have made the decision to complete their family through adoption may apply to participate in one of two programs: Infant Adoption or Foster to Adopt. After an interview and orientation session to explore these options, a trained counselor will work with you to make the best possible plan for you and your family. Refer to each of these sections on the website to learn the particulars.

Most babies are placed with adoptive parents directly from the hospital following birth. If there are legal reasons the child cannot be released, they may remain in Tender Loving Care homes supervised by Hope Cottage for up to a year. In rare cases, Hope Cottage assists families in adopting children who are up to five years of age who are NOT in the custody of CPS.

Domestic Adoption fees are based on a sliding scale assessed at a percentage of average total income over the last three years.  There are no agency fees for families choosing to adopt from the Foster-to-Adopt program. See the individual sections for details. Adoption tax credits, employee benefits and low-cost loans may also be available to help offset the cost.

Every adoption is unique. The average wait time ranges from nine to eighteen months after the home study is completed.

Birth mothers are referred from a variety of sources, including hospitals, physicians, schools and counselors. Because of our history in the Dallas area, many of our referrals come from our long-standing reputation and from former clients.

Hope Cottage offers birth families counseling and support to examine the option of adoption. Counselors and social workers provide information and referrals to community services in a non coercive, value free environment. Birth mothers may be eligible for housing and other financial support on a case by case basis. All of the services birth families receive are free and options counseling is available so that birth parents may explore their choices.

Today, virtually all adoptions are open adoptions. This means that the birth parents will most likely select a family committed to maintaining a level of openness throughout the years.  Open adoption can mean anything from exchanging pictures and letters once a year to occasional face-to-face visits. Hope Cottage can facilitate all exchanges and visits. Current research strongly supports this arrangement as one that most positively benefits the child.

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Foster Adoption FAQs

Foster care adoption is the process of transferring parental rights of a child in foster care from one person or couple to another. In most situations, children that are available for adoption through the state have had the rights of their biological parents terminated. The state of Texas has become the managing conservator of these children. Adoptive parents will be assuming parental rights from the state. Legally, the results are the same as a traditional adoption.

In order to become a foster to adopt parent you must be between 25 and 50 years of age. You must be healthy, mature and responsible. You must be financially stable and own or rent your own home. You must have an appropriate amount of space in your home for a child. You must attend various trainings and consent to a home study. You cannot have any concerning criminal history or abuse/neglect related history. Couples must have been married at least two years before becoming licensed foster and adoptive parents.  Single persons are able to become foster and adoptive parents.

A home study is conducted by a trained Hope Cottage social worker. The social worker will visit your home and conduct a series of interviews in order to assess your family and determine what type of child would be the best fit for you. The home study will also look at the physical environment of your home to determine if it is a safe place for children.

In almost all situations, when children are removed from their biological homes, DFPS gives the biological parents the opportunity to work services in order to have their children returned to them. If the biological parents are unwilling or unable to take the necessary steps to regain conservatorship of their child(ren) then DFPS will move towards terminating parental rights and finding an adoptive, forever home for the child.  DFPS also seeks relative placements before finding a non-relative adoptive home.  The process to terminate a child’s parental rights so that they become legally free for adoption can take 12 months or longer.

Children come to be placed in foster care through no fault of their own. Most children who enter foster care are victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment. Children in foster care are not criminals or “damaged goods”. These children require a loving, stable and safe environment in order to grow and reach their full potential.

It is possible to adopt an infant through DFPS. However, it is uncommon for children under the age of 18 months to be legally free for adoption.  Families who wish to adopt an infant are required to accept emergency placements because infants’ rights typically aren’t terminated before the child is 18 months old.  There is a great need for families willing to accept emergency placements of infants and foster with the intent to adopt if the child’s rights are terminated. Hope Cottage requires that families are open to fostering children up to 5 years old (at minimum) to increase the opportunities the family has to adopt.

When a child is legally free that means that all parental rights have been terminated and the child is free to be adopted. A child is considered legal-risk when parental rights have yet to be terminated; however, the judge presiding over the case has determined that it is in the best interest of the child to move toward termination of parental rights. The judge will then order DFPS to search for an adoptive home for the child, starting with relatives and then looking for non-relative placements. In legal-risk cases there is a high probability that the case will end in termination of parental rights and result in adoption. Most children who are legally free for adoption have been in CPS custody for at least 12 months and are typically teenagers or large sibling groups.

Once you have been approved and verified as Foster to Adopt Parents, your family will be presented for matching with children in the care of the state of Texas. A case manager from Hope Cottage will present you with possible children to be matched with. You will be allowed to review information about the child and make a decision about moving forward. If you choose to submit your home study for a child then information about your family will be sent to DFPS. DFPS will review your information to determine if your family is a good match for the child.

It can take as little as two months or as long as six months or more to become a licensed foster to adopt home. The length of the process is partially determined by how quickly the potential foster parents work to complete trainings, inspections of their home and paperwork. There is no average length of time for the matching process. Once a child has been placed in an adoptive home, it can take as little as six months or as long as a year for consummation (finalization) to be completed.

Once you legally adopt a child from the foster care system, the biological parents cannot come back and reclaim any rights to the child.

The state of Texas subsidizes most of the cost of foster care adoption. The attorney fees incurred from the finalization of the adoption is the only major cost to the adoptive family. There are also some smaller fees associated with fingerprinting and background checks. Additionally, college or trade school tuition and many other financial subsidies are available to adopted children meeting certain criteria.

If you are interested in learning more about the Foster to Adopt Program and the first steps to becoming a licensed foster to adopt home through Hope Cottage, please contact us at 214.526.8721.

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Post Adoption FAQs

You may call the Central Registry in Austin (512-458-7388) to confirm the child-placing agency. To inquire if DFPS was involved in your adoption call DFPS (512-929-6764). Upon receipt of two forms of identification (one must be a photo I.D.) and a written or verbal request, we can also check our records.
Hope Cottage has retained all adoption records since 1918.
Hope Cottage does not receive funding for post adoption services. In order to provide these services, we must charge fees for staff time. Rather than charging clients an hourly rate for services, we charge a flat fee. The client will be aware of the costs involved with their request.
You can update your file by sending in a written request with your new information or call our Post Adoption Department and we will take your information over the phone. If you send in a written request, please include as much information as possible (adoptive parents’ names, birth mother’s name at relinquishment, date of birth, etc) as well as a daytime number in case we need to reach you.
By law, agency records are still sealed and confidential in Texas. We are unable to provide identifying information unless we have had contact with birth parents (or birth children) and all parties have completed the necessary steps towards becoming disclosed.
Texas law states that before identifying information in shared, at minimum one hour of counseling from a social worker or mental health professional with expertise in post adoption issues must occur with the person requesting the information. You will have the opportunity to discuss concerns and ask questions.
Please contact the Post Adoption Department by email or by calling 214.526.8721 to speak with a counselor about your specific needs. If we are unable to provide the service you are looking for, we will refer you to an outside resource.
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