Choosing to adopt is a life-changing decision, and I know it can be a long, difficult process. However, couples and single adults who choose to adopt are rewarded with something wonderful — you get to experience parenthood for the first time or add to your existing family.
The key is understanding how the adoption process works and the corresponding Texas adoption laws. I’ll walk you through the legal process for adopting a child in Texas to help make this process easier for you and your family.
Getting Started on an Adoption in Texas
The first step in any adoption process is, of course, to make the decision to adopt. You want to be absolutely committed to the decision. Be ready to potentially face difficulties during the process in addition to the incredible joys that come with adoption. You are about to positively change you and the child’s life forever!
Once you have made the decision to move forward, you may adopt a child from foster care, a private adoption agency, or through a private lawsuit. In any case, you will first need to make sure that either one or both of the biological parents’ rights to the child have been terminated.
While there are very specific grounds to forcefully terminate a parent’s rights within the Texas Family Code, the most common scenario is when a parent voluntarily relinquishes their parental rights to their child, resulting in the termination of their parental rights. This subsequently leads to the adoption of the child thereafter.
In a Suit for Termination and Adoption of a Child, you will need to be prepared to do the following:
- Pay the fees of an Amicus Attorney who will be appointed to represent the best interests of the child(ren) involved in the termination and adoption lawsuits.
- Pay the fees of a Child Custody Evaluator who will file a written report to the court recommending whether or not the adoption should move forward.
- Provide information about your lifestyle, your home, and your background.
- Provide references.
- Submit to a criminal background check.
Choosing the Best Type of Adoption in Texas
The next step you’ll need to take is deciding on the type of adoption you want to pursue. Whether that’s adopting through foster care, a private adoption agency, or a private lawsuit between private parties, each adoption process can be different depending on the child you’re looking for, where you want to adopt from, and your idea of family structure. These all affect the adoption process and the laws you may encounter.
Anyone who meets certain legal criteria is eligible to adopt a child. Whether you are a grandparent, stepparent, a single adult, or same-sex couples, you may be able to adopt that special child into your life with the right assistance.
Texas Adoption Legal Situations You Need to Know About
I know the adoption process can be difficult. There are many legal issues that may affect your decision-making process or your ability to adopt a child. Consider these Texas adoption laws and requirements you need to know about.
Completing a Home Study
The home study is conducted by a child custody evaluator. It is required for all adoptions, whether they be domestic, international, or through foster care.
The evaluator will visit you to interview you and inspect your home or other residence. They want to know information such as your lifestyle, childcare experiences, and family interests. Interviews will also be conducted with other residents in your home.
The Texas Family Code states that prospective adoptive parents are required to complete current and up-to-date background checks. The following checks must be performed in Texas:
- Criminal history check
- Central registry check
- FBI fingerprints
In Texas, child abuse clearances need to be completed for each state and country the adult has lived in during their past.
Ready to Adopt? Work with a Family Law Attorney
When you choose to adopt, you have a wonderful opportunity to share your life and your love with a child in need. To achieve a positive outcome, I recommend working with a family law attorney to help navigate Texas adoption laws.
As a family law attorney who is an adopted child myself, I have helped families in Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Harris County work through the court system to successfully complete the adoption process. I am passionate about helping your family during this exciting time.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss the specific details of your adoption. I look forward to helping you grow your family.