Texas does not require you to hire a private attorney when adopting a child. However, consulting with a lawyer who regularly deals with adoptions can help make the complicated process smoother.
Experienced adoption lawyers understand the challenges and can guide you through the application process, court proceedings and protect your rights and interests every step of the way.
Requirements for adoptive parents
In the Lone Star State, you can pursue a private adoption or choose to adopt through the Texas foster care system. While the journey is different for each route, the requirements for adoptive parents are the same. You must:
- Be 21 or older, financially stable and a responsible, mature adult
- Provide background and lifestyle information
- Have references from family and non-family members
- Agree to a home study, which includes visits with every member of your household
- Pass a criminal background check
- Attend free training sessions on issues of abused and neglected children
Providing you meet all of these qualifications you can even adopt if you are unmarried. However, the state requires you to show proof of marriage, divorce or a spouse’s death.
How the process works
The three most common adoptions in Texas are for domestic infants, foster care children and international children. There are six basic steps:
- Home study: This analyzes your physical, mental, emotional and financial readiness and is the most critical step to assure that children are placed in stable, loving homes.
- Waiting: Waiting for approval can be the hardest part, but how long it takes depends upon the type of adoption and a number of other factors.
- Accepting an adoption opportunity: If you’re adopting an infant, this means the birth mother has chosen you. If you’re adopting a foster child, it means the child is ready for placement in your home.
- Pre-placement contact: This occurs only in the case of adopting a domestic infant. You have the chance to meet the birth mother as part of open or semi-open adoption. About 95% of today’s adoptions are open.
- Placement: This is the moment you’ve been waiting for since you decided to adopt. This can happen in the hospital after the child is born or welcoming a foster child after meeting them.
- Finalization: After completing a series of post-placement requirements, it typically takes six months to reach the finalization hearing in Texas family court, where a judge makes the adoption legal.
Adoption is a lifelong commitment
Whether you pursue adoption through an agency, surrogacy or foster care, adopting a child in Texas can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. For most, the rewards far outweigh the challenges, especially if you’re fulfilling your lifelong dream of becoming a parent or simply want to allow another child to experience the joy and blessings of a loving home.