Well first things first, congratulations!! This will be a fun and exciting day for you, your family and especially the children joining your family. Below is information on what to expect leading up to Adoption Day and during the event. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please feel free to ask your attorney, case worker, CASA advocate or contact one of the Adoption Day committee members found here.
All the questions you never knew you had about Adoption Day....
1. How do I finalize my adoption at Adoption Day?
To be eligible to finalize an adoption at Adoption Day, you must be adopting a child or children currently in foster care. In addition, your case will need to be eligible for adoption as of the date of Adoption Day. If you are uncertain if you will be ready for adoption by that date, please check with your attorney or CPS worker. If you think your case is eligible and you want to participate in Adoption Day, please let your attorney or CPS worker know and they will contact the appropriate members of the Adoption Day Committee.
In addition, CPS caseworkers, attorneys and the District Attorney's office regularly review the cases of children in care and may ask you if you wish to participate in Adoption Day, if your case is eligible.
2. What do I need to do in preparation for Adoption Day?
To prepare for Adoption Day, please make sure you are keeping in regular contact with your CPS worker so any information needed related to your case can be obtained quickly and timely.
Also, if you have not already decided, start thinking of the names you would like the child or children you are adopting to have once they are adopted. This information is needed in advance of Adoption Day for filing by your attorney and for items that are prepared in advance for you and the children participating in Adoption Day.
Select an attorney if you have not already done so. If you are uncertain of which attorney to pick, a list of attorneys with experience in adoption will be sent to you a few months prior to Adoption Day to help you with your selection.
Let your family and friends know of the special day and invite them to attend. We welcome you to invite anyone and everyone that is special to you and your kids to join in the special day.
Plan your attire. You will need to be in courtroom apporpriate attire. We ask that you not wear shorts, flip flops, tank tops or jeans.
How do I pick an attorney?
If you already have an attorney you have hired for this process, you are welcome to use this person at Adoption Day. If you have not selected an attorney or you are uncertain of which attorney to pick, a list of attorneys with experience in adoption will be sent to you a few months prior to Adoption Day to help you with your selection. You can also click here for a list.
Either way, please make sure to let the Assistant District Attorney who contacts you regarding Adoption Day know your attorney selection so the committee can be sure to communicate with that attorney regarding anything that arises with your case, your scheduled adoption time and any last minute questions.
I have heard if our adoption is finalized at Adoption Day, it is free. Is this true?
This is not accurate. Families who finalize adoptions at Adoption Day are required to pay their attorney fees, court costs and the fees associated with obtaining new birth certificates for the child or children adopted. Court costs and the birth certificate fees are a fixed cost. Each attorney charges a different rate, so feel free to call mutiple attorneys to find out his or her fee.
If you cannot afford an attorney or the court costs, there is a possibility of financial assistance through the TVAS program administered through the Tarrant County Bar Association. To be eligible for assistance through this program, you must be adopting a child currently in foster care, the child/children's biological parents' rights must have already been terminated with CPS being given managing conservatorship of the child/children and you must meet the financial restrictions of the program. For more information on this program, you can go here. If you would like to be considered for financial assistance, call Megan at the Tarrant County Bar Foundation at 817-338-4092.
Where and when is Adoption Day held?
Tarrant County holds its Adoption Day event on the Friday before Thanksgiving each year. This year's event will be held on Friday, November 16, 2018. The courthouse will open at 8:00 a.m. for families and guests. We will hold Opening Remarks at 8:45 a.m. on the 4th floor in the Atrium. Adoptions will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the courtrooms on the 4th floor.
The event is held at the Tarrant County Family Law Center located at 200 E. Weatherford Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102. Parking is available for families and guests in the parking garage adjacent to the courthouse on the corner of Calhoun Street and Weatherford Street. A map and directions to the courthouse can be found on the Contact Us page. Please enter the courthouse from Weatherford Street.
Where do I park?
The event is held at the Tarrant County Family Law Center located at 200 E. Weatherford Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102. Parking is available for families and guests in the parking garage adjacent to the courthouse on the corner of Calhoun Street and Weatherford Street. A map and directions to the courthouse can be found on the Contact Us page. Please bring your parking ticket in with you. We will validate ONE parking ticket per family.
When do I need to arrive?
We ask families to arrive approximately 1 hour in advance of your adoption time and enter from the Weatherford Street entrance. This will allow you plenty of time to get through security, register for the event, meet your escort for the day and make your way to the 2nd floor for refreshments before heading to the 4th floor for your first official family photograph and your adoption.
Please try to wear shoes that are easy to take off and put on as everyone, including the children, will be asked to take their shoes off to go through security. Belts, jewelry and anything else in your pockets will also need to go through security. We suggest that you bring only what you need in regards to diaper bags, purses, strollers and other baby gear.
Who can I invite?
Anyone special to you or the children. We know it takes a village to raise children and we encourage you to be surrounded by your village on this special day.
As a note, guests can park in the same parking garage you will use or any other public parking location in downtown, but they are responsible for their own parking costs.
What do I need to bring?
We ask that you only bring what is necessary. Everyone must through security and it can be very busy that morning. We understand you may have purses, diaper bags, strollers and other items for the children, but please try to limit the items you bring in. Also please make sure to bring in your parking ticket so it can be validated. We will validate ONE parking ticket per family.
Describe the day.
After you go through security, you will check in with the registration table to get your name tags, welcome bag and meet your family escort. Then, you will get your parking validated and head up to the second floor for refreshment. We will also have information tables and activities for the kids here. About 20 minutes before your adoption, you will head to the 4th floor to have your first official family photograph taken. Your escort will then take you to the courtroom for your adoption. Once the adoption is complete, you will be provided some items from the judge and all the children will be allowed to pick a stuffed animal to take home. You will receive your family photo in the mail shortly after adoption day.
What is the Photo Release I have been requested to fill out?
We have photographers taken photos at the event. One is stationary and the other walks around to capture moments during the event. We have at times in the past utilized these photographs for publicity, flyers and other promotions. We realize that some parents may not what photographs of themselves or their children utilized for these purposes. As a result, we ask that you fill out the photo release to advise us of your preference.
If you do not want photographs of your family utilized by the Adoption Day Committee, we will make your name tags a different color. Our photographers, and any media present at the event, are notified that any parent or child with the colored name tags cannot be photographed or videotaped.
What if something is wrong or mispelled on my child's necklace or Certificate of Adoption?
Please know, we do our best to double check that everything is spelled correctly and all the information is accurate. But, if you find an error before leaving the courthouse, please notify your family escort. He or she will get your information and the necessary corrections. We will then make sure the item is corrected and new items provided to you.
If you do not realize the correction until you are home, please email us here and we will get it correctly as soon as possible.
What if the information in my Final Order of Adoption or Birth Certificate is incorrect?
Please contact your attorney. He or she can address this matter with you.