Maybe you have a friend who went through the process of searching for their birth parents in Texas.
You undoubtedly have seen a TV movie where a confused teen finds out her mom wasn't the one who gave birth to her and sets out on a hunt for her "real" mom.
Years ago, almost all adoptions in the United States were closed adoptions. The birth parents and adoptive parents didn't keep in touch. In fact, in many cases, the identity of each party was cloaked in secrecy. Generations of children never knew their birth parents. They were whisked away at birth and given to a family waiting for them.
Today, closed domestic options are rare, but they're typically the rule in international adoptions.
With closed adoptions, birth and adoption records are sealed. Once adoptees turn 18, they can place their name on the Texas Vital Statistics Unit's Voluntary Central Adoption, which allows an adult adoptee, birth parent or sibling to place their name on the registry in hopes of finding other family members who are registered.
Today, a majority of adoptions are open. That means in many cases, the birth mother meets a number of potential adoptive parents in advance and chooses the family she'd like her baby to join. Often, the adoptive parents are in the delivery room. Sometimes, the adoptive parents regularly send photos to the birth mother, visit with her and her extended family or converse online.
The open adoption process gives the adoptive parents a window into their child's family medical history, and it also affords children the chance to know all the people in their lives. One of the potential negative side effects is the worry that adoptive parents have that birth parents somehow will try to intrude on the newly formed family.
Adoption isn't an easy decision for either party: for parents who need to decide whether they should raise this baby or for people who would like to pursue adoption. If you find yourself in either category, a Texas attorney with experience in family law can answer your questions and advise you how to proceed.