National Adoption Day … a child is waiting

National Adoption Day

                November 23rd is National Adoption day.  On this day, courts in all 50 states finalize adoptions from foster care and celebrate and honor families who adopt.*  This day is also used to bring awareness of the more than 100,000 children currently in foster care in the U.S. 

            In Texas, there are thousands of children in the foster care system waiting for a loving “forever family.” Do you have the heart and desire to adopt? If so, follow the steps below; a child is waiting. 

            What is the process of becoming an adoptive parent?  The first requirement is that a single adult or a married couple must be at least 21 years old, financially stable, and be responsible, mature adults.  These qualifying prospective parents must then go through four steps.

            The first step is to attend an informational meeting held by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).  This meeting discusses the scope and requirements of being an adoptive parent. 

            The second step is preparation and selection.  The prospective parent must meet with DFPS staff.  The staff will evaluate the prospective parent’s ability to take on this challenging role. 

            The third step is training.  The goal of this 35 hours of training is to boost a prospective parent’s knowledge and confidence to meet the challenges of taking children into their home and to be sure that the parent will be ready for the commitment. 

            The fourth and final step is a family home study.  A home study involves a DFPS staff member or contractor coming into the prospective parent’s home to discuss their personal history, family interests and lifestyle, childcare experiences, strengths and skills in meeting the children’s needs.  After all this, the prospective parent is able to consider caring for a specific child. 

            As an Attorney/Guardian Ad Litem appointed by the Court to represent children in foster care, I have witnessed firsthand the benefits that adoption can bring because the child is no longer lingering in the foster care system after parental rights have been terminated.  Permanency is the goal for a child and when they are unable to return home or be placed with family or fictive kin, adoption is the alternative. 

            To see the benefits of adopting, read heartwarming stories, and learn more about adoption visit https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Application/TARE/Home.aspx/Default.  *Tarrant County will celebrate National Adoption Day on Friday, November 22, 2013; other states may celebrate on a different day as well

            Chante Prox is a family law attorney and mediator practicing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area @ www.barnesproxlaw.com

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