Thinking of adopting? How to get started by selecting an adoption agency

Where to find agencies in Bexar County and what your first steps will look like once you make the call

Ever think about adoption? There are thousands of Texas kids in foster care who are in desperate need of a loving home. There are a lot of misconceptions about adoption out there, too. Many people don't know where to start. We're answering that question and many more right here.

BEXAR COUNTY – If you’ve been thinking about opening your heart and home to a child in need of adoption, it can be tough to know where to start.

In Bexar County, anyone looking to foster or adopt a child must work with an agency.

Family Tapestry, a division of The Children’s Shelter in San Antonio, facilitates all fostering and adoptions of local kids in the custody of the state.

Find out who can adopt a child by watching the Q&A video below.

The organization compiled a map of local adoption agencies and other organizations it works with.

That map provides links to the agencies where you can find their contact information and more.

Melissa Arroyo, director of outreach with Methodist Children’s Home, recommends considering the values of the agency, which are often listed online, when deciding which one is right for you.

Then, simply make a call.

“We invite them to come in for an orientation and the orientation typically takes about an hour,” said Arroyo. “It’s for us to get to know the family a little bit and for them to get to know us as an agency.”

That’s when you will receive an application and learn about the agency’s guidelines and requirements for fostering or adopting. You’ll also find out what kind of documentation you need to provide.

“We let them know that we start with a background check,” Arroyo said. “Typically, it does help to start the process to have your driver’s license and social security card. That way we can run their background checks.”

Once the background check is complete, you can expect an in-home visit so that your home can be inspected for safety.

“We let them know it is a pretty invasive process. Your home essentially becomes like a facility,” said Arroyo.

So, what will the inspector look for?

“If we go into the laundry room and there are cleaners that are out and exposed, we’ll ask for those to be put away- either five feet above the ground or they need to be locked away,” said Arroyo. “The storage of their medications must be locked. We also cover fire inspections. They’ll need their own extinguisher. We’ll look at the size of the rooms, the area the children have to play in. Outdoor, inside, bedrooms, bathrooms. Pretty much the entire house. And we go through and let them know what items need to be taken care of before we can license them.”

Next up: everyone who lives in the home will be interviewed, plus any references you have, for the agency to compose a Home Study.

“What their childhood was like, what their upbringing was like,” said Arroyo, describing the kinds of questions asked during the interview. “Their education, their relationship, their children, and what they’re looking for in terms of what children they would like to foster or adopt.”

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Becoming licensed to adopt takes roughly three months, according to Arroyo.

Matching families with children can begin after that.

Multiple training sessions are required, which continue even after you become licensed or complete the adoption process.

“Ultimately, if its the right decision, we need homes,” Arroyo said. “And we’d like to offer hope to children.”

About the Author:

Myra Arthur is passionate about San Antonio and sharing its stories. She graduated high school in the Alamo City and always wanted to anchor and report in her hometown. Myra anchors KSAT News at 6:00 p.m. and hosts and reports for the streaming show, KSAT Explains. She joined KSAT in 2012 after anchoring and reporting in Waco and Corpus Christi.