Adopting a child is one of the most noble and fulfilling thing to do in one’s lifetime. Let us understand how to adopt a child in Texas, the processes involved, the agencies through which you can go, and how you need to prepare yourself.
Whatever reason you may have, if you have decided to adopt a child in Texas, you are making a life altering decision. The process of adopting a child in Texas, although exciting, involves a lot of steps that can confuse a lot of parents as there is no clear guide on how to adopt in Texas?
If you are also wondering how to adopt in Texas then we are here to guide you through the process. Read on below to find a brief overview of everything you need to know about child adoption in Austin Texas.
How to Adopt a Child in Texas?
Step 1: Decide If You Are Ready To Adopt
The first step to adopting a baby is to decide whether or not you are ready to adopt a baby. There are several different ways to complete your family. To be a parent one such way private adoption in Texas. However it is not for everyone.
Becoming a parent in any way can be exhausting and difficult- mentally, emotionally, financially and physically too, however the outcome makes it all worth it. Adopting a child has its own challenges, but in the end you are raising and loving a child.
Adoption is a process that works both ways, not only you are able to give a home to the child who needs it, but you are also completing your family in the process which makes the whole experience even better. A child needs a home and you are able to provide it. In the end raising a child into a loving family makes it all worth it.
Before starting with your process of adopting a newborn in Texas or anywhere else for that matter- make sure that your mind and heart are into it and you are committed to your dream of completing your family and adopting a child.
Adopting a child is not something you can decide on your own if you have a partner. Before you move forward with your decision, both the partners need to be ready to adopt a baby.
If you are choosing adoption because you lost a child, or have struggled with infertility or can not have a biological child, make sure to address all these issues first. Deal with whatever reason you may have had for choosing adoption and only then start with the process.
Also know that in Texas, you need to be at least 21 years old to file and adoption application and can be either single or married but have to be financially sound.
Step 2: Understand Your Options
Once you have decided for adoption in Austin Texas, your next step would be to understand your options. Determining your options will help you understand what are requirements that you need to fulfill and what are the further steps in the process of the Texas child adoption process.
There are five different types of adoption in Texas.
Domestic Infant Adoption
Domestic adoption in Texas is the process of adopting a US born infant child through private adoption. The infant is voluntarily given up by its biological parents to a new family.
The domestic infant adoption agencies, also known as the Private U.S. adoption agencies offer all the services that you need when adopting a child. From offering counseling to the biological family to protecting the adoption family financially, they do it all.
The agencies are also responsible for adoption home study in Texas (home study is the process where the adoption agency evaluates your home to understand whether it will be a safe and nurturing environment for the child).
While choosing the agency for domestic adoption in Texas, go for a national agency with a full service. National agencies provide all related services, have shorter waiting time and you would be working with a single adoption professional throughout the process.
Foster Care Adoption
Foster care adoption in Texas refers to the adoption of children who are placed into foster care because of unsafe living conditions at their biological home. Even though the main aim of putting a child in foster care is to unite them eventually with their biological parents when the conditions at their home improves, it is not always the case.
If the home condition does not improve and a Texas court decides the biological parent unfit for caring for the child, the parents have to give up their legal rights on the child. Once it happens the child then becomes eligible for adoption through foster care.
About 25 percent of children in foster care will eventually be eligible for adoption. Most of the children in foster care adoption are of older age, are a set of siblings or have special needs. Even for adopting a child from foster care you would need to take help form an adoption agency, who will be responsible for adoption home study Texas and other processes.
International Adoption Agencies
International adoption is the third option for adoptive parents looking to adopt a child. The process of adopting a child internationally was easier in earlier times but things have changed.
Not only have several countries banned international adoption, but the process also is extremely complex and long. International adoption also is expensive when compared to domestic and foster care adoption.
But if you are determined, there are several adoption agencies who provide international adoption services. While adopting a child internationally, you can adopt a child of any age, but you have to follow the restrictions, regulation and costs depending on the country of your choice and the adoption agency you chose in Texas.
Make sure that you have done proper research before going for international adoption and choosing the adoption agency.
Adult Adoption In Texas
In case of adult adoption in Texas, there is no need for giving notice to the biological parents as the person being adopted is an adult. The adoption is granted without any respondent parties.
Stepparent adoption in Texas
A stepparent can adopt a child if the parental rights of the biological parent of the child terminates. For a step parent adoption in Texas to be legal, it requires permission from both biological parents.
Step 3: Choose Your Adoption Professional
Once you have decided the type of adoption, it is now time to choose your adoption agency. It is one of the most important steps as your overall experience of adopting a child will depend on the agency you choose and the adoption professional you get to work with.
National Adoption Agency
National adoption agencies working in the state of Texas have a license to work all over the country which increases the chances of an adoptive parent to find a child to adopt within a shorter span of time.
National adoption agencies have contact both with the adoptive families and the birth parents across the state borders. If it is your first time trying out adoption, then choosing a national adoption agency is the right way to go.
Regional or Local Adoption Agency
A regional or local adoption agency has a license to work on a state level in Texas, but not on a national level. A local adoption agency can work within the Texas state boundaries which means that the wait time can be longer than that of a national adoption agency.
But since the adoption agency is local, you can have more in person contact with the adoption professional.
Adoption Law Firms
Adoption law firms are a group of adoption lawyers in Texas with knowledge of Texas adoption laws. An adoption attorney will handle the legalities related to the adoption procedure.
They work with the national and regional adoption agencies and for placement of children and have connections to other professionals in the field of adoption.
Adoption Law Centers
Adoption law centers are not something that you should choose for a child adoption process. They do not come under the regulations, certifications and routine reviews that other adoption professionals are and they put both the birth families and adoption families at risk.
The adoption facilitators can not place children in adoptive families. According to Texas adoption laws, legally, they can only advertise about adoption. In some of the states adoption facilitators are illegal.
Before determining on an adoption professional, you must consider all the pros and cons of an adoption professional and what their process of adoption is.
Step 4: Become a Waiting Adoptive Family
Once you have selected an adoption agency to work with, they will assign an adoption professional to help guide you throughout the process. The adoption professional will guide you through the adoption home study Texas process.
This step is the assessment of your mental, physical, financial and emotional state to make sure that you are ready for adoption. This step ensures that a child is placed in a safe home. Once you will complete the adoption home study you would become an official waiting family.
Step 5: Find an Adoption Opportunity
Once you are an official waiting family, you will find adoption opportunities. Depending upon your adoption professional, this process can take days, months or even years.
Other than that there are several other factors that will help determine when you will find an adoption opportunity. Getting an adoption opportunity means that a birth parent or birth mother has chosen you as the prospective adoptive parent for their child.
Depending on what kind of adoption you have opted for, you might have some opportunity to talk to the biological parents over the phone or online. You should use this opportunity to make them feel comfortable that they are making the right choice and that you will be able to provide a lovely home for their child.
Step 6: Pre Placement Contact
This step is only possible when you are adopting locally. You can have open or semi open adoption if you choose to adopt a baby through a private adoption agency.
The pre placement contact refers to the prospective of meeting the birth mother before the adoption. Some families even chose to remain in contact after the adoption. Having a n open or semi open adoption is beneficial for the child in the long run.
In some cases, you might even be invited at the time of the child’s birth to be present in the hospital.
Step 7: Placement
Placement is the process of legalizing your adoption process. In case you are adopting a child domestically, the placement of the child with the adoptive family happens right after the birth of the baby at the hospital as soon as the mother is allowed to give consent.
In Texas, the mother cannot give up her parental rights until at least 48 hours after birth. However, once she signs the adoption papers, she is renouncing her parental rights and cannot later go back on her decision, that contract is final and binding.
How soon the placement happens will depend on the type of adoption. If you are adopting from foster care, the placement of the child happens after a few days of you meeting the child.
If you are adopting from a different state, you will have to wait for your ICPC formalities to be completed before the child will be placed with you.
In case of international adoption, you will have to travel to another country to meet the child. You can return after some days once the adoption is finalized.
Step 8: Adjustment To The Post Placement Life
Once your child comes home, there are few requirements that you need to fulfill. There will be a few post placement visits to ensure that the child is adjusting well to life at your home form the adoption professionals.
After six months of the placement, there will be a final hearing on the adoption process in your local Texas court. (as per Texas law, adoption cannot be finalized before six months of the child having lived in your home).
All of the documents will be verified by a judge and if everything is okay, you will get the final adoption decree. Once it happens your child will be a legal member of your family.
Step 9: Post-Placement Contact
In some cases, you might be willing to continue having the child stay in touch with their biological parents. This will also depend on the adoption plan that you had chosen earlier.
Agency adoption agreements typically also mention the type and frequency of such contacts. However, do note that such agreements and contracts are typically not enforceable in a court of law.
Understanding Adopting a Child from Foster Care in TX
While adopting a child, one question on most prospective parents’ minds is: how to adopt a child from foster care in Texas? While we touched on this subject briefly, let us take a look at what the Texas foster care system is and its adoption procedure in more detail.
Understanding the Texas Foster Care System
Children who are removed from their biological homes because of some safety reasons are placed into foster care. The main goal for putting a child in foster care is once the situation at their home improves, the children are reunited with their families.
However, if the condition at the home of a child in foster care does not improve and a Texas court declares that the child can not return home, the rights of the biological parent on the child is involuntarily terminated. Once it happens, any hopeful parents can adopt the child through foster care adoption legally.
Is Adopting a Child Through Foster Care in Texas Right for You?
Foster care adoption is not for everyone, as the children in foster care are older and already have a connection with their biological parents. They may not be able to develop strong bonds with their adoptive parents.
However, some of the children in foster care are in need of a loving and supportive family. If you are willing to adopt an older child, a special needs child or siblings who do not wish to be separated, then adopting from foster care in Texas may be the right choice for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to adopt a child in Texas?
It is difficult to give a specific answer to this question as the cost of adopting a child in Texas depends on several factors. There are several expenses like the fees of adoption attorneys, adoption agencies and other services offered by the adoption agencies.
The average cost for adoption in Texas through private adoption agencies can be anything from 60,000 to 65,000 USD.
How long does it take to adopt a child in Texas
There are several steps involved in the process of private adoption in Texas and it takes time. The first process is getting approval of becoming an adoptive parent which takes anywhere from three to six months.
Once you are approved as an adoptive parent, then you can be connected with an expectant mother within a few days, months or or even years. There is no specific time period in which you can adopt a child. It can take anywhere from a few months to years depending upon the adoption agency that you choose.
Do you get a monthly check when you adopt a child in Texas
For a family who is unable to afford all the expenses related to adopting a child, there is a special assistance program to support adoption.
Apart from health care benefits from Medicaid, a one time reimbursement program, there is monthly payment assistance. The monthly payment is decided while considering the needs of a special child and the financial condition of the adoptive family.
What is the maximum age to adopt a child
For legally adopting a child in Texas, the parents need to be of legal age. As long as the parents are of age 21 and above, they are legally eligible to adopt a baby. There is no upper age limit to adopt a child in Texas.
As long as the parents are healthy and can care for the child till they get independent, the parents are eligible to adopt a child.
Although adopting a child is an exciting process, it is never easy. If you are looking to adopt a child in Texas, but don’t know where to start, our guide will come handy. We have tried to cover as much information as possible in this article.
Thank you for reading the article, we hope that you were able to find what you were looking for. If you have further questions or doubts, do not hesitate to write to us.