Adoption gives a child a new life and men and women the chance to become parents, many for the first time. If you are considering adopting a child in Texas, there are several things to know as you begin the process. At Illaraza Law, we help prospective parents with the legal process so that things go smoothly.
Here are several things to keep in mind if you are considering adopting a child in Texas.
Requirements for Adoption in Texas
In Texas, a man or woman can be single or married if they wish to adopt. Whichever the case, they must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Complete an adoption application
- Be financially stable
- Provide references
- Complete a home study
- Submit to a criminal background check (as well as any adults living in the house where the child will live)
Types of Adoption
Deciding you want to adopt is just the first step. You must decide what type of adoption you want to pursue. There are several types, including:
Domestic Infant Adoption
In this type of adoption, the birth mother selects the adoptive parents where her child will be placed.
Foster Care Adoption
This type of adoption involves children who are in foster care because their biological parents’ rights were terminated by a court. Foster parents or adoptive parents may adopt children who are in foster care.
International adoption is the adoption of a child from a different country. These children are usually placed in orphanages because their birth parents abandoned them or gave them up for one reason or another.
You must also decide if you want to seek an open or closed adoption. In an open option, the adoptive parents stay in contact with the birth mother. Before the adoption, the birth mother meets the prospective parents and gets to know them before deciding whether she will give her baby to them. Once she does, this relationship continues through the child’s life with regular contact between the two. In a closed adoption, the birth mother can still choose her baby’s parents, but once the baby is born and placed in an adoptive family, contact is typically over.
Deciding which type of adoption you want to pursue is a difficult one and one that should be thought about thoroughly.
What does a Home Study Involve?
A home study is an important part of the adoption process as it plays a vital role in whether you are approved for adoption. During a home study, a caseworker will visit your home to talk about your personal history, lifestyle, and childcare experiences. This process will also involve anyone who is going to be living with the child. Once the home study is complete and background checks are done, the rest of the process can move forward.
What is the Cost of Adoption in Texas?
There is a cost involved any time you adopt a child, no matter where you live. If you’re thinking of adopting, the entire process can cost anywhere between $35,000 and $50,000. This covers fees that include:
- Adoption professional service fees
- Home study fees
- Birth mother expenses as permitted by law
- Travel expenses
- Court costs
Since the cost of adoption can add up, there are loans, grants, adoption tax credits, to help bring the cost down. If cost is a factor it’s important to look into all aid options.
How Long is the Adoption Waiting Process?
Many factors go into how long you may have to wait to adopt a child. But, once you receive a call that you have been chosen, the process can move forward.
Depending on the type of adoption you choose, adoptive parents are sometimes at the hospital for the birth of the child. In Texas, a birth mother must wait at least 48 hours after giving birth before terminating her parental rights. But, one she consents to the adoption and signs the papers, she cannot change her mind. The birth father’s parental rights will also need to be terminated. The time frame of the adoption process will differ depending on the type of adoption and whether it is closed or open.
How is the Adoption Finalized?
For your adoption to be finalized, several steps need to happen. You can expect to have several post-placement visits by a caseworker. Similar to the home study that happened before the adoption, the caseworker will visit your home and observe the living arrangements. They will also observe how everyone is getting along and how the child is being cared for. In Texas, there are typically five post-placement visits required before the adoption can be finalized.
Once all of the paperwork is done and the home visits are over, a finalization hearing is scheduled. During this process, a judge reviews the adoption to make sure all of the home visits were completed and both birth parents’ parental rights were legally terminated. In Texas, an adoption cannot be finalized until the child has been with their adoptive family for at least six months.
After the adoption is final any contact you have with the birth mother has already been determined by the type of adoption you chose.
Do You Want More Information on Adoption in Texas?
The experienced team at Illaraza can guide you through the adoption process. We know that adoptions can be complex and emotional and we’re here to help.