Types of Adoption in Texas
Adding to your family can be an exciting experience. The different types of adoption in Texas include:
- Private Adoptions: In a private adoption, the prospective adoptive parents will work with an adoption agency to adopt an infant in the United States. Only newborns can be adopted in private adoptions.
- International Adoptions: International adoption involves adopting a child from another country through permanent legal means and then bringing the child to the United States. It is also known as transnational adoption or intercountry adoption.
- Child Protective Services (CPS): A child may also be adopted through the Child Protective Services. A prospective parent looking to adopt can work with CPS to adopt children who have been taken from their home as a result of high-risk situations, including child neglect, abuse, or abandonment.
- Step-Parent Adoption: In Texas, a step-parent can adopt their stepchild by filing a petition seeking the adoption of the stepchild. However, the adoption will only be possible if the parental rights of the non-custodial parent have been terminated.
Who Can Adopt?
According to Texas Family Code Section 162.001(a), an adult may petition to adopt a child who may be adopted. To be eligible to adopt a child in Texas, the person may either be single or married, but must be:
- At least 21 years old
- Financially capable of supporting the child
- Healthy enough to take up parental responsibility
- Willing to encourage and respect the religious affiliation of the child
- Willing to share information about their family background
- Willing to provide relative and non-relative references
Who Can Be Adopted?
Pursuant to Texas Family Code Section 162.001(b), a child residing in this state may be adopted if:
- The parent-child relationship has been terminated
- The parent whose rights have not been terminated is presently the spouse of the petitioner (step-parent adoption)
- The child is at least two years old, and the person seeking adoption has been a managing conservator
- The child is at least two years old, and the person seeking adoption is the child's former step-parent
According to Texas Family Code Section 162.010, the following people must consent to the adoption:
- The managing conservator, unless he or she is the petitioner
- The child's parent who is presently the spouse of the petitioner
- The child, if he or she is 12 years of age or older
Overview of the Adoption Process
The steps involved in the adoption process include:
Verification of Eligibility
For prospective parents, it is important that you meet the eligibility conditions to adopt in your state. In Texas, only adults who are financially capable and can take up parental responsibility are eligible to adopt.
Adoption agencies in Texas offer orientation meetings and guidance to prospective adoptive parents. Through the orientation meetings, you can learn more about the adoption agency's specific program, adoption requirements, and other services.
Upon submitting your application to adopt a child, the adoption agency will carry out a comprehensive background check and a home study. Both must be done before your application can be approved. Through the home study, the adoption agency will get to know more about you, your family and ensure that your home is safe enough for the child.
Once your home study has been approved, the adoption agency will require you to sign a contract. After signing, the agency will match you with a child. Depending on your preference, you may have the option for a "closed" or "open" adoption.
- Closed Adoption: In a closed adoption, you will not meet the birth family. However, the adoption agency will provide you with general information about them.
- Open Adoption: In an open adoption, you will meet the birth parents. You are also allowed to maintain contact with the birth family based on mutually agreed-upon terms.
Support Before Placement
As you wait to be matched with a child, the adoption agency will provide you with the training and support you need.
After matching you with a child and before finalizing the adoption, the agency will keep in touch with you for a period of time, usually six months. This is to ensure that the placement is successful. You can always voice concerns regarding the placement.
Finalizing a Texas adoption involves certain legal requirements, such as terminating the birth parents' rights. You may also be required to attend the adoption hearing. An attorney can help review your application and ensure that the adoption is in compliance with all applicable state laws.
Under Texas law, adoption agencies are required to offer counseling services to adoptive parents and adoptive children after finalizing the adoption. The counseling may be offered directly or through referrals.
Work With Knowledgeable Attorneys
The Texas adoption process involves a lot of complexities. Statutory requirements surrounding the adoption proceedings, determining whether you are eligible to adopt, filing necessary legal paperwork, and finalizing the adoption can make the entire process overwhelming. When considering adoption, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Texas family law attorney for proper guidance and to help simplify the whole process.
We are highly experienced and knowledgeable in family law and adoption matters, including private and international adoptions. As your legal counsel, we will help you understand your available options, fill out the required paperwork, sign, and submit necessary documentation in court. Our attorneys will offer you the experienced legal guidance and advocacy you need throughout every step of the adoption process. We will ensure that all required state adoption laws are followed and help you complete the process smoothly and legally.