AUSTIN (KXAN) —The ongoing pandemic has created an uncertain climate for parents hoping to adopt. It’s already a long and sometimes stressful process, but COVID-19 has added to that for some hopeful parents.
“Normally our agency does 10-15 placements a year. Last year, we definitely had a slower year,” said Rory Hall, executive director of Adoption Advocates, Inc.
Hall says in Texas a mom relinquishing to an agency cannot sign the relinquishment papers until 48 hours after the child has been born. This year her agency has seen more birth moms who make plans for adoption but end up keeping the baby.
“20-25% of moms who make an adoption plan decide to parent even after a match or after the baby is born,” Hall said. “We saw a higher number of parents who chose to parent after they were matched to a family in 2020.”
It’s still unclear why exactly this is happening, but Hall says there could be a number of possibilities.
“I know some people have lost their place to live and have gone back to live with family members so maybe there are more people that can help,” Hall said.
The isolation and loneliness could also be playing a part.
“You feel very vulnerable and you want to keep your loved ones close to you,” Hall said.
The pandemic is also having an impact on the adoption process.
“Normally you would meet them in person and you would get to know them while they are still pregnant,” said Terese Everson, who recently adopted twins.
Some agencies have been able to move training and meetings online, but still, the important face-to-face meetings required to place a child aren’t happening.
Some hospitals are limiting who can be in the rooms with the mother and babies as well, so both adoptive parents can’t always see the baby right away.