Growing your family through adoption is an exciting time for any parent. It can also be stressful navigating legal hurdles and other roadblocks on the journey.
For Texas parents that are thinking about adopting a newborn child, there are very specific things that you need to be aware of so that you can find success adding a precious new life to your family.
As a child of adoption myself, I am passionate about providing expert support to parents. Take a moment to learn more about the legal process of infant adoption in Texas.
Infant Adoption in Texas: What Do You Need to Know?
In the state of Texas, infant adoption is supported by a set of laws in the Texas Family Code. The laws are designed to protect the birth mother, the newborn, and the adoptive parents. Let’s review what you need to know so that you can be informed and prepared for what’s ahead.
1. Infant Adoptions Typically Go Through Agencies, not DFPS
The infant adoption process typically starts with the expectant mother contacting an adoption agency instead of going through a government agency. In Texas, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) rarely places infants for adoption. On occasion, DFPS will be named as a managing conservator for an infant child, but DFPS focuses on placing children ages 7 to 17 into adoptive care.
Therefore, the best route to adopt an infant in Texas is by connecting with a private adoption agency. The typical agency will ask you to complete an application, perform a home review, and meet other qualifications. Then, the expectant mother will have the opportunity to review your family and potentially select you as the adoptive parent(s).
Or, you may know an expectant mother – or the representative of an expectant mother – that wants to give up their child directly to your family. Adoption can be accomplished on an individual basis. However, I highly recommend working with a family law attorney such as myself to protect your rights when going through a private party instead of an established adoption agency.
2. The 48-Hour Rule is Crucial
Even if the birth mother agrees to relinquish the child upon birth, you still must wait 48 hours to be granted legal possession of the child. Texas laws allow the birth mother this 48-hour window to change her mind and retain the child.
It can be stressful waiting for those 48 hours to pass. Still, it is part of the legal requirements to ensure that the birth mother is prepared to voluntarily relinquish parental rights to the child and legally terminate the parent-child relationship.
To make it official, the birth mother will need to sign an affidavit relinquishing her parental rights and naming your family as the adoptive parents. This must be witnessed by two people and verified by a person that is authorized to take oaths.
3. The Birth Mother Could Request Post-Adoption Contact
The affidavit of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights could include terms that grant the biological mother limited post-relinquishment contact with the child at a future time.
Even though the biological mother is terminating the parent-child relationship, Texas law does allow the biological parent to request limited contact, such as:
- Receiving specified information regarding the child
- Sending communication to the child
- Having limited access to the child
However, Texas law also states that the affidavit cannot contain terms for limited contact as a condition for the birth mother to relinquish parental rights. In other words, the birth mother cannot use this as leverage to create a more favorable situation for herself, maintaining contact with the child at your expense.
If you are concerned about this aspect of adopting an infant in Texas, then I can help protect your parental rights by ensuring that you are comfortable with the terms included in the affidavit and that you have a clear understanding of what is being agreed to.
Contact Me For Infant Adoption Legal Support in Texas
My goal is to place your family in the best possible situation to complete the legal adoption process and fully incorporate the newborn child into your family. No matter what stage of the process you are currently at, I can provide you with legal support and representation to navigate hurdles along the way.
I have helped countless families in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County finalize their infant adoption in Texas. If you live in one of these counties, please reach out to me for support.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your specific situation and adoption plans. I am here to help!