Frequently Asked Questions
Click a link below to get more information about the topic in which you are interested.
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.
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.
Since 1918, Hope Cottage has been committed to providing families with the best possible adoption experience. More than 30,000 women have turned to the trained, caring professionals at Hope Cottage for assistance with unplanned pregnancies. Twelve thousand families have been created through adoptions . The majority of our clinical staff has a master’s degree in social work and/or counseling and is experienced in adoption issues. We believe this continuous history prepares us uniquely to help you with your adoption journey.
Emotionally and financially stable couples and singles 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.
Most babies are placed directly from the hospital following birth or shortly thereafter. In rare cases, Hope Cottage assists families in adopting children who are up to three years of age.
Domestic Adoption fees are based on a sliding scale assessed at a percentage of average total income over the last three years. Costs range from $22,000 -$39,000. This fee is in addition to a home study fee, education seminar and medical costs for the mother and baby if she is uninsured and does not qualify for Medicaid.There are no fees for families choosing to adopt in our Foster-to-Adopt program. 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 in the Infant Adoption Program ranges from nine to eighteen months after the home study is completed. The wait time may be shorter for those families who are flexible with their expectations.
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. All of the services birth families receive are free. There is never any pressure or obligation to choose adoption.
Open adoption means that the birth family and the adoptive family have some level of information and contact with each other. This can range from knowing only first names and having a single meeting to agreeing to continual shared information about the growth and progress of the child. In a closed adoption only medical history is disclosed to the adoptive family.
Foster to Adopt
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 parents you must be at least 25 years old. 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. You do not have to be married to become a foster parent.
A home study is conducted by a licensed 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.
How does a child become available for adoption through DFPS (Department of Family and Protective Services?
In most situations, when a child is brought into foster care by DFPS the biological parents have an opportunity to work services in order to have their child 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.
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. This is partially due to the fact that biological parents are given around 18 months to work services and regain custody of their children. However, there are situations in which infants become legally free for adoption. A foster parents must understand that the matching process may take longer if they are wishing to adopt an infant.
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. In legal-risk cases there is a high probability that the case will end in termination of parental rights and adoption.
Once you have been approved and verified as a 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 up 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 childn then information about your family will be sent to DFPS. DFPS will review your information to determine if you family is a good match for the child.
It can take as little as two 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 214.5336.8721.
Family History Search
- Copy of De-Identified Summary of Hope Cottage record for adult adoptees and birth parents
- Hope Cottage Mutual Consent Registry
- Search services for adult adoptees and birth parents
- Intermediary services between birth parents and adoptive parents
- Copy of Identified Summary of Hope Cottage record for adult adoptees. This requires a court order
- Birth parents who placed through Hope Cottage
- Adoptees who were placed through Hope Cottage
- Siblings of Hope Cottage adoptees
- Adoptive parents who adopted through Hope Cottage
Only limited services are available to birth siblings. Due to confidentiality restrictions, search or contact services are not offered.
You may call the Central Registry in Austin (512.458.7388) to confirm the agency who handled the adoption. Upon receipt of two forms of identification, one of which must be a photo I.D. accompanied by a written request, Hope Cottage can then check existing records. If it was not a Hope Cottage adoption you will be referred to the Central Registry.
Fees vary, depending on the service requested. You can request an information packet that lists services and fees, or you may call 214.526.8721, ext 222 to discuss the fees associated with your request.
Like any other service that requires someone to do it, Hope Cottage can only continue to offer this service if it is supported by the payment of fees. No private or public funder pays any part of the costs of providing the search which in some instances requires many hours. The fees are modest by comparison to legal or private investigation fees.
Length of time will depend on the number and type of requests currently in process at the time your request is received. Contact the post adoption coordinator at 214.526.8721, ext 204 to inquire about the length of time involved.
We offer counseling when appropriate along with information and referral to appropriate community resources to Hope Cottage adoptees and birth parents.
Call Hope Cottage at 214.526.8721, ext 222 or email your request Brooks Quinlan.
Write, call (214.526.8721) or email Hope Cottage with your new information. If you send 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 telephone number in case we need to reach you. Hope Cottage mailing address is: Hope Cottage, 4209 McKinney Avenue, Dallas, TX 75205.
Texas law allows birth parents, adoptive parents of children under eighteen and adult adoptees to obtain a copy of their Hope Cottage de-identified file (names, addresses and other identifying information is edited). File information varies, but usually includes the adoptee’s birth, medical, and social information regarding their birth families. For birth parents, we can summarize non-identifying information about the adoptive family. We can also share contact information upon mutual request.
The procedure is to provide a copy of the adoption decree, along with a notarized confirmation letter. This is usually sufficient for passport offices.
The Hope Cottage Mutual Consent Registry is a voluntary listing for parties interested in reunion. Because it is a voluntary service the other party is not contacted and your registry application can remain active up to 99 years. This service is only available to birth parents who placed a child through Hope Cottage; siblings of an adoptee placed through Hope Cottage and Hope Cottage adult adoptees. For information on participation, contact Brooks Quinlan by email or call 214.526.8721, ext 204.
What is a family history search conference and why is it required for registry? I live out of state- do I have to come into the office?
Texas state law requires that a one hour conference be completed to prepare clients for a possible match and reunion. If you do not live in the North Texas area, it might be possible to conduct the conference by phone or you may complete the conference with an adoption specialist in your area.