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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:

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November is National Adoption Month, which raises awareness of the urgent need for adoptive families for children in the foster care system. If you are considering adoption, you have several options to choose from in the Lone Star State.

During the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which ended Oct. 31, nearly 4,600 adoptions occurred while about 3,000 other children await their “forever homes,” according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Options for adoptive parents

As long as you are a responsible adult (age 21 or older) and meet some basic requirements, you are eligible to adopt a child in Texas. Here are some ways to become an adoptive parent:

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A Texas couple, who are not Native American, attempted to adopt a part-Cherokee and part-Navajo boy but were stopped by the Navajo Nation. After a years-long legal battle, the Navajo tribe withdrew its objection, and the couple was able to adopt the boy.

Native American tribes have the right to object to non-Native parents fostering and adopting Native American children. This is because of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) that became federal law in 1978.

What is the Indian Child Welfare Act?

The ICWA laws were passed over 40 years ago as a reaction to decades of separations involving Native families during the 19th and 20th centuries. For decades, children were often forcibly removed from their homes and sent to boarding schools run by white missionaries.

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Adoption can be a wonderful way for a child to receive a caring, loving parent. As most readers know, adoption is the formal transferring of parental rights to another person who may or may not be related to the child. The circumstances under which adoption may arise can vary tremendously. In some cases, a stepparent may choose to adopt the child of his or her spouse; in other cases, a person may choose to adopt simply because of a desire to parent a child. Finally, infertility may lead others to adopt. Whatever the case may be, the procedure for adopting a child in Texas is complex and requires expert guidance to fully traverse.

In this post, we will go over the essentials of the adoption process; those who would like to learn more are encouraged to contact The Ramage Law Group for more information.

Adoption vs. Conservatorship

Before discussing the adoption procedure, we should point out that adoption is legally distinguishable from another kind of custody – conservatorship. In the State of Texas, a court may grant a non-biological relative or third-party a conservatorship over a child for numerous possible reasons. This conservatorship bestows upon the holder various rights which are similar to the rights possessed by a biological parent. However, conservatorship is distinct from legal parenthood on several critical points. For one, a child who has a conservator does not automatically have inheritance rights; this is different from a parent-child relationship in which the child has automatic inheritance rights. What’s more, the full rights of the conservatorship are actually limited to those which have been specifically identified by the court. This is unlike a legal parent who has full rights. And finally, conservatorships can always be subject to change in the future. In an adoption, the parent-child relationship is established and is not subject to change.

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A family lawyer does much more than simply provide legal answers. Our lawyers explore a variety of different solutions to help you achieve your goals and secure your family’s financial and emotional future and stability.

To discuss your case or set up a consultation, call us at 972-562-9890 or use the online contact form.

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