Adoption in Texas is a legal process that provides a suitable home and family for a child in need. Individuals that become parents through adoption will legally have rights over the child, like the biological parent. Because Texas prioritizes the wellbeing and interests of minor children, adoption is a very detailed process to ensure that a child will end up with a qualified adopter.
People can consider adoption for various personal reasons. Many people see it as an alternative if they cannot give birth naturally but still wish to be parents. However, anyone looking to adopt must be devoted to the idea. They must commit to it before embarking on the legal process.
Requirements for Adoption in Texas
Before commencing with a petition to adopt in Texas, applicants should double-check that they meet the state requirements and understand the process involved. The following are necessary to adopt in Texas:
- The person looking to adopt must be at least 21 years old.
- Individuals looking to adopt must commence the adoption application.
- All documents requested by the agency facilitating the process or DFPS should be provided.
- References on the applicant should be provided by relatives and non-relatives.
- For spouses that wish to adopt, both of them have to file a joint petition.
- Provision of a marriage license for married couples or a divorce decree for divorcees.
- Background checks on applicants are mandatory.
- Applicants must agree to partake in a home study involving home inspection, interview of household members, and evaluation of the general environment.
- Attend the mandatory training approved for prospective adopters.
Texas Statutes also state who is eligible to adopt and who can be adopted:
- The court has terminated the parental rights of the biological parents
- If the termination of parental rights applies to just one parent and the spouse of the other parent is the petitioner for the adoption of the child.
- If the prospective adopter has cared for or possessed the child for six months before the adoption, the parental rights of one biological parent have been terminated, and the prospective adopter has the consent of the other unterminated biological parent.
- The child, aged two years or older, has no parental relationship with at least one birth parent, and the prospective adopter is a former stepparent that cared for the child for a year preceding the adoption.
Adoption Options in Texas
You can consider any of the following options to make adoption in Texas:
Domestic Infant Adoption
In this type of adoption, An expectant mother is willing to give her newborn to a person looking to adopt. The arrangement may be solely between the expectant birth parent and the person looking to adopt the baby, or a qualified agency can screen the applicants on behalf of the expectant mother. Usually, the birth mother also participates in filtering the applicants and makes her choice.
The arrangement can also be an open adoption. This arrangement will involve the birth parents in the child’s life to the extent of the agreement. The relationship between the child and the birth parent must be according to the agreed terms.
In Texas, a new mother cannot voluntarily terminate parental rights for adoption until 48 hours after childbirth. Giving up a baby is a tough decision for expectant mothers, especially publicly admitting they cannot care for it. Texas has the Baby Moses or Safe Haven Law to encourage such mothers to give up their babies safely and privately. The law allows anyone to drop a baby not older than 60 days at any fire station, hospital, or emergency medical services station in the state. An employee of the Safe Haven location must receive the baby any information on it.
Foster Care Adoption
Usually, the Texas foster care system tries to reunite foster youths with their natural family. However, some children put in the system may become eligible for adoption if they can not be reunited with their families. For instance, legal termination of parental rights due to a crime committed by the natural parent. While some children may have relatives that can be legal guardians, some have no place to turn.
Adopting foster children can be a delicate process because some have traumatic experiences. Agencies are usually looking to find an applicant that can provide adequately for the adoptee’s general needs, including emotionally.
If you are considering adoption beyond the country’s borders, you may need to register with an agency that provides intercountry adoption services. You must also comply with the adoption requirements of the country you pick. After deciding on the country, research the laws on adopting a choice and follow the essential steps. You can learn more about the process on the U.S Department of State website.
Steps to Make an Adoption in Texas
The Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE) website, managed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), serves as a way for prospective adoptive parents to match children up for adoption. Interested persons can search for children eligible for adoption that match their search criteria.
While the process of getting a child through adoption may depend on the method you choose, TARE specifies these steps:
- Check for an Information meeting near you and attend to understand the Texas adoption process and make inquiries.
- After knowing the provisions for the process, the next step is to commence the application. Interested individuals can use the help of a DFPS staff member.
- The Child Protective Services (CPS) offers mandatory training and certification for prospective adopters that applicants must attend.
- Family home study: Applicants must prepare to receive a visit from their caseworker for household evaluation and related discussions.
If all goes well, the applicant will be paired with a kid, and the finalization will commence in due time. However, the state laws specify that adoptees must reside with their new families for six months before the finalization. During these six months after the arrangement, there will be visits to the home to assess how well the child and the new parent(s) are adjusting. A conclusive case hearing will follow for the last review of the case before the judge pronounces the adoption as official.