A mixed family with adopted children on a hiking trail.

Adoptions Affected by COVID-19 in 2021

Author: 
Leslie Barrows
 | Published: 
January 28, 2021
 | Category: 
Adoption

Adoptions Affected by COVID-19: Common Pandemic Problems Affecting Texas Families

The COVID pandemic forced many people to look at their lives and focus on what is most important. So many of us realized the importance of family, especially in times when we were not able to be with loved ones. 2020 was difficult for families, and it was particularly tough on foster children hoping to be adopted into forever families. Adoptions in Tarrant County were down in 2020, as reported by different adoption agencies. For a variety of reasons, the process of adoptions became a challenge during the pandemic. Also, many mothers decided to keep their newborns and be their loving parents. Meanwhile, in addition to adoptions affected by COVID-19, foster parents in many cases are concerned about the virus and are not taking in as many foster children who need stable homes.  

As we move forward in 2021, getting vaccinated, and getting back into healthy routines, we hope that adoption prospects and success stories abound. With questions and concerns about adoptions, the Barrows Firm in Southlake is available to assist and offer referrals to great agencies like the Gladney Center in Fort Worth. Adopting a child into a forever family is a great way to share the love and make a difference.  

People and Parents Looking to Adopt

There are many reasons people adopt a child. Some children are adopted when a birth mother selects an individual or couple to adopt and raise her child. In other cases, children are adopted from the foster system. The people who adopt children in Texas have stories they tell about why they chose to adopt children. Some are unable to have their children, others have children who have grown up and there is still room to add an adopted child to the family. In many cases, people first become foster parents and may later adopt their foster child.  

COVID-19 Affected the Adoption Process

There is a process to become an adoptive parent. The meetings and time required to become a foster parent and to adopt a child require a serious commitment. And during the pandemic, the process changed. No longer able to have in-person meetings and connections, some people decided to wait until after COVID-19 to resume the adoption process. Many feel that Zoom meetings are useful but not the same as in-person meetings, and adoption is a serious and emotional life event for all involved. When the intimacy of the adoption process is interrupted, we can understand how adoptions affected by COVID-19 can be on hold.  

Uncertainty is a significant factor in decision making and family planning. Consider how many people had no idea whether their jobs and small businesses would be there to support another child, let alone the current family. Hopefully, as vaccinations continue to become available, and as the science surrounding the pandemic helps us all fight to wipe it out, more people can feel comfortable resuming the adoption process affected by the pandemic.  

Adoption Placement Agencies Reporting a Slower Year in 2020

For the many reasons COVID-19 affected the adoption process, many adoption agencies in Tarrant and Denton Counties reported fewer adoption placements in 2020. November is national adoption month and adoption and foster rates decreased. November was also the month of an election that caused all kinds of emotions and concerns as we all waited for the promise of vaccines.  

A recent article by Very Well Family, COVID-19 Has Had Significant Effect on Foster and Adoption Rates, suggests that there are options for adoptions during the pandemic if people are open to a change in the regular adoption and fostering process. In-home visits, for example, can be delayed by pandemic restrictions and adoption agency policies. It is recommended that anyone interested in adopting contact local agencies with a virtual process and participating in foster-to-adopt plans.

Mothers Changing Their Mind and Deciding to Parent Their Child

Expecting mothers working from home and spending more time at home due to COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions are changing their minds and keeping more babies to raise themselves. It is easy to imagine how busy we all were before the pandemic, and how so many expecting mothers felt like they did not have the time or resources to be a parent. The reality of isolation and loneliness might have caused several women to reconsider their priorities and being a mother became a new and exciting prospect.  

It is easy to let priorities become unbalanced and it is easy to take things and people for granted. Not being able to see families face to face has been difficult for many people who have had lots of time to think about their priorities and what is truly most important in life.  

COVID-19 Bed Shortages and Foster Placement Interruptions

Foster children removed from their homes are sleeping in shelters. They have nowhere to go. Shelters, churches, CPS offices and makeshift bedrooms are being used to house foster children who cannot otherwise be placed in foster homes. In many of these facilities, complaints surface about unsafe conditions and fighting among teens.  

The number of foster homes decreased due to several conditions, including COVID-19. Also, investigations in the Texas foster care program over allegations of abuse impact placement capacities. Sadly, there are no homes for these children right now. However possible, hopefully, more loving people will become foster parents and help get these kids into safe homes.  

Call the Barrows Firm for Referrals to Local Adoption Agencies, and for Assistance in Becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent Even While Adoptions Are Affected by COVID-19