Adopting a child is a very exciting time for prospective parents. However, the legal adoption process in Texas can be quite intimidating and stressful. There are numerous twists and turns along the way, which I aim to help smooth out. As a child of adoption myself, I am passionate about providing expert adoption legal support to make this process as pain-free as possible.
Whether you are very early in the adoption process, deep into the process and facing a new set of challenges, or almost to the finish line, there are important things you need to keep in mind from a legal perspective. I’ll unpack some of the most important aspects that match your stage on the journey to expanding your family.
1. Early Stages of the Adoption Process in Texas
If you are in the early stages of the adoption process, you will want to know the basics of how everything works so that you can set your expectations for what’s ahead on the journey.
The Informational Meeting
If you plan to adopt from the Texas foster care system, you must attend an adoption informational meeting before applying to adopt the child. This meeting is hosted by the DFPS in your area, and you can search for your local DFPS office online. When you’re ready to start the journey, you can contact them to schedule a meeting date and time.
Once this meeting occurs, DFPS officials will go over the adoption process and the requirements of eligibility for prospective adoptive parents. Once you satisfy the eligibility requirements, DFPS officials will work with you to formally start the adoption process.
Cooperatively with CPS, the DFPS offers prospective parents a training program known as Parent Resource Information Development Education (PRIDE). Texas is one of several states that follows this model. Adoptive parents must attend the PRIDE training to adopt a child from the foster care system. The PRIDE training covers distinctive aspects of adopting a child from a foster care agency.
Information covered in the program includes the various types of trauma that foster children have experienced and how to provide the best care for children in a new environment. The training also includes ways that parents can assist their future child in processing and coping with any past ordeals.
Family Home Study
Next, a caseworker will visit your home. This is required to understand the prospective adoptive parents’ home environment. The DFPS caseworker will make sure your home is child-proofed, safe, and appropriate for the child, as determined by the age of the child.
The caseworker will also review the adoption process with you to ensure that everything is aimed toward acting in the child’s best interests. You should expect to be asked questions pertaining to these topics:
- Your motives for adoption
- Your parental philosophy
- Your plan for raising the child
- Your plan for meeting the child’s needs
2. The Next Stage of the Adoption Process in Texas
You might be a little further along in the adoption process and are dealing with some big issues. I understand that it can feel overwhelming, and you may have doubts about whether to keep going. There are so many steps to follow, as well as strict adoption rules and laws that must be adhered to. It can be a lot to deal with.
The best, most efficient way to navigate these legal issues is to consult with a family law attorney. I am well-informed about the many factors that go into the legalities of the adoption process in Texas. I will help you navigate key issues while also working hard to make sure you don’t experience setbacks along the way.
You may be concerned about whether the biological mother could have second thoughts about giving up a child, whether a grandparent or another party could claim parental rights, or whether the court will unexpectedly not grant you parental rights.
I know how important it is to build the strongest possible case to adopt a child. I also know that simple mistakes like omitting information from your paperwork could be costly. Working with an expert in Texas family law will help you avoid these common pitfalls as you push forward to the finish line.
3. Completing the Adoption Process in Texas
If you’re at the end of the adoption journey and ready to complete the process, there are some important things you need to know. Before a judge grants your final order of adoption, the judge will re-evaluate the adoption case to ensure that certain requirements have been met.
One of the most important requirements is that the child’s birth parents (or their legal guardian) have provided their adoption consent to effectively terminate their parental rights. Other important requirements include reviewing that all pertinent adoption laws were followed throughout the adoption process and confirming that placing the child in your home is in the child’s best interests.
Once the requirements are satisfied, your child will be deemed your official, permanently legal family member. However, once you take your child home, some important requirements must be met before the journey is formally complete.
To finalize the adoption process, there will be a period of post-placement review. Your caseworker will be required to complete a specified number of in-home visits to evaluate how the child is faring in your home.
The court may also schedule a post-placement adoption finalization hearing. This varies by jurisdiction. Because I know the local family law court systems in South Texas, I will help ensure that you satisfy any further court requirements.
Find Support for the Texas Legal Adoption Process
No matter your current stage of the adoption process, working with a family law attorney will ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. I encourage you to work with me early in the process so that you start and finish strong on the journey.
However, even if you’re in the thick of the adoption process or at the finish line trying to complete the process, I can provide expert support to get you over those final hurdles.
I have helped numerous families in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County complete the legal requirements for adoption in Texas. Let me help you navigate key issues so that you can reach the wonderful destination of adding to your family.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your adoption case. I’m ready to help you with the adoption process in Texas!