How can Arms Wide Adoption Services help me decide if adoption is right for me and my family?
You can fill out our inquiry form or contact us. We also host information meetings twice a month where we explain what is involved in becoming licensed to adopt a child through Arms Wide. Our information meeting schedule can be found here. At information meetings, we will provide you with an application and answer any questions you may have about the process. We also provide adoption preparation classes and opportunities to meet with experienced adoptive parents. Contact us and start your journey today!
What information do we have to provide to Arms Wide Adoption Services during the adoption process?
During the adoption process, we ask you for information such as five personal references; identification (such as Social Security and driver’s license numbers); copies of marriage licenses and/or divorce decrees, if applicable; medical history; proof of income and proof of medical insurance. We also do criminal background and child abuse checks. We know this may sound overwhelming, but Arms Wide staff makes this process as straightforward as possible.
Who selects the child(ren) I adopt?
You are involved from the beginning by expressing what types of needs you feel you would be able to support as a parent. For example, if you do not feel you have the parenting skills to parent a child with severe developmental delays or fetal alcohol syndrome, etc., you have the opportunity to disclose this at the beginning of the process in order to inform the agency’s search for a family/child match.
However the process takes time and there are many steps involved. It is best to contact an Arms Wide representative for a detailed explanation of the process. In short, we look for the best family for each child and look at which families can meet a specific child’s needs. You will be contacted about a child(ren) that you would be a good match for based on their needs and your ability to meet those need. At that point, you will learn as much about the child(ren) as Arms Wide can share. If you are interested in the child(ren) that your family has been determined a good match for, CPS and the courts must also approve your family before a potential adoptive placement can begin.
How can Arms Wide Adoption Services help ensure a good match between the child(ren) and my family and a smooth transition from foster care to adoption?
We follow a specific process to ensure a positive and successful adoption experience for all involved.
- You and your family will attend our pre-service training and support groups in addition to making a family “life book” or album with photos of yourselves, your home, and significant people in your lives.
- An Arms Wide Adoption Coordinator conducts a home study to learn more about you and your family.
- The child is “introduced” to your family by viewing your “life book.”
- Visits between you and the child begin with the support of an Arms Wide adoption coordinator.
- Placement occurs, papers are signed and a transitional “ceremony” marks the move from foster care to adoption.
- For at least the next six months, the Arms Wide Adoption Coordinator visits you and the child to help with the adjustment period. You may also need help from therapists and other community resources during this transition and your Arms Wide Adoption Coordinator can help you connect with the appropriate supportive resources. Once the adoption is legally finalized, your family and the child are eligible for state-contracted post adoption services until the child is 18 years old. Arms Wide offers a full continuum of care, including free, state-contracted post adoption support to ensure adoptive families have all the tools they need to be successful once the adoption has been finalized.
Does Arms Wide Adoptions Services provide a support system once the family has gone to court to finalize their adoption?
Yes! Once the adoption has been finalized, the Arms Wide post adoption staff confirm the family is eligible for services and meet face-to-face to develop a plan of service with the family. Then the post adoption staff work to find support services that will be helpful to the family and assist with connection to other adoptive families. The Arms Wide staff in the Houston area and in the South Texas area provide a variety of post adoption services aimed at ensuring the long-term success of all adoptive families. At Arms Wide, our compassionate staff are prepared to guide you toward the resources most needed for your family.
Who do I contact in South Texas for permanency support?
The contact person for South Texas is Delia Lopez and she can be reached at 361-850-8200. Arms Wide’s toll-free number, 1-800-460-6298, may also be contacted and we can ensure you are connected with the appropriate contact person from there in order to receive the help you’re seeking.
Do permanency staff speak Spanish?
Yes, Arms Wide’s Post Adoption / Post Permanency staff recognize the importance of avoiding potential language barriers when services are delivered. There are English/Spanish bilingual staff serving families in the Houston area and in the South Texas area. The dedicated staff at Arms Wide will work with post adoption and post permanency families to find therapeutic community services, regardless of the family’s preferred language.
Who is eligible for post adoption services?
Any family who has an adopted child under age 18, who was in the custody of Texas’ foster care system administered by DFPS at the time of the adoption and whose adoption has been legally finalized is eligible for post adoption services. A family who meets this criteria but has moved out of state after the adoption was finalized is also eligible for post adoption services.
Does Arms Wide Adoptions Services provide a support system for the family that has been appointed Permanent Managing Conservatorship of a child?
Yes! We know that the completion of the court process is not the end of the road for families. To be successful, families who are granted PMC of a child/ren from DFPS are eligible to receive ongoing support, guidance, and resources until the youngest PMC child turns 18 years old. All services are provided without cost to the PMC family. Services are available in English and Spanish.
Who is eligible for post permanency services?
Post Permanency support may be provided to a family that lives in designated counties, has been appointed PMC of a child from DFPS, may or may not be a recipient of Permanency Care Assistance and the youngest child (PMC) is under age 18.
How long will it take before I can have a child living in my home?
Every situation is different. It is up to the family applicant and the matching process.
Once I become a foster parent, can I adopt my foster child?
If the child is legally free for adoption, meaning that their birth parents’ rights have either been terminated or relinquished, foster parents may be considered for adopting their foster children. Your Arms Wide Foster Care Coordinator will help advocate for you, but the decision is ultimately made by CPS and the judge.
What is the difference between foster-to-adopt and temporary foster care?
Children in our Foster Care Program may not be legally free for adoption. Children in a foster-to-adopt placement may have a concurrent permanency goal of adoption if family reunification is not an option.
Does Arms Wide Adoption Services offer support services for foster families?
Yes! This is the hallmark of our program. Arms Wide Adoption Services foster families have access to their respective coordinator 24 hours a day, including weekends. It is our belief that our foster parents should not be alone on this journey, and providing support is crucial to the care and well-being of our children. Arms Wide Adoption Services Foster Care Coordinators speak to their respective parents weekly and see the children at least once a month.