Adoption in Texas
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What you Need to Know about Placing your Baby for Adoption in Texas
Making the decision to place your child for adoption can be one of the toughest, but selfless choices you make, but being well-informed about the process may help ease some of your stress. The following information will provide some important factors to think about when considering placing your child for adoption in Texas.
Who must Consent to a Texas Adoption and How Does it Work?
For a Texas adoption, consent must be given by the child’s legal guardian in writing.
When is Consent not Necessary for Adoption in Texas?
Consent to adoption in Texas is not necessary of the child’s parent or legal guardian if he or she:
- Has a mental illness that leaves him/her unable to care for the child
- Committed a crime that lead to the birth of the child
- Voluntarily terminated his/her parental rights to the child
- Attempted abortion, but the child survives
- Has had his/her parental rights terminated because of abandonment, endangerment, abuse, or neglect of the child
Can a Birth Parent Revoke their Consent to Adoption?
In Texas, a child’s legal guardian, who has consented to adoption, may revoke their consent at any time before the court officially grants the child’s adoption.
What Rights do Birth Fathers have in the Adoption Process?
A man is considered to be a child’s father and is entitled to parental rights of the child if:
- He and the Birth Mom are married when the child is born
- He was married to the Birth Mom, and the child is born within 300 days of the termination of the marriage
- He lived with the child and cared for him or her as his own for the first two years of the child’s life
- He marries the child’s Birth Mom after the child is born, but he voluntarily declares his paternity of the child and:
- It is given in writing and placed in a record filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics
- He gives a written promise to care for the child as his own
- He has lived with the Birth Mom and child for the first two years of the child’s life and represents to others that the child is his own
In Texas, a man who wishes to be notified of adoption proceedings or the termination of parental rights to a child he may have fathered can register with the Texas Paternity Registry before the child is born or within 31 days of the child’s birth.
Adopting a Baby in Texas
Adoption is no easy decision, but it is a life-changing one, so it is important that you understand the process before you begin your journey. Continue reading from more information about the adoption process in Texas or scroll to the end of the article for a list of adoption agencies to help get you started.
What are the Laws and Requirements for Adopting a Child in Texas?
In Texas, eligibility to become an Adoptive Parent depends on the following:
- Must be at least 21 years old
- Must be financially stable and able to support the child
- Must be willing to respect and encourage the child’s religious affiliation
- Must be physically and mentally healthy enough to assume parental responsibility
In addition to the minimum eligibility requirement, Prospective Parents must complete and pass both the home study investigation process and criminal background checks.
How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Baby?
Texas adoption expenses may vary depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. International adoption will be different from a domestic adoption, and adoption from a private agency will be different from a government agency. Regardless of the type of adoption you decide to pursue, here are a few expenses you may need to consider when becoming an Adoptive Parent:
- Medical expenses for the Birth Mom and child
- Agency fees
- Attorney and legal fees
- Counseling services for the Birth Mother
- Any other reasonable living expenses for the Birth Mom as approve by the court
How do you Become a Foster Parent?
To become a Foster Parent in Texas, you first must meet the minimum eligibility requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be financially able to support a child
- Show proof of marriage, if applicable
- Provide references from both relatives and non-relatives
- Complete and pass the home study process and home safety inspections
- Pass a criminal background and child abuse registry check
If you meet these requirements, you them must complete the following:
- Complete 20 hours foster parent training per year
- Become CPR and First Aid certified
- Vaccinate all pets living in the home
- Complete TB testing
- Prove you can provide proper sleeping space for the child
- Agree to the non-physical discipline policy
- If you provide a day care service from your home, allow no more than 6 children at a time
Can you Finalize an International Adoption in Texas?
In order to adopt a child internationally, the child must be from a country that is a part of the Hague Convention, which is an international agreement that establishes standard adoption practices for inter-country adoptions.
- Be a U.S. Citizen
- If married, your spouse must also be a U.S. Citizen or have legal status and together you must file for adoption
- Pass criminal background checks, the home study process and fingerprinting
- If unmarried, be at least 25 years old
Who can Legally Facilitate a Texas Adoption?
There are many agencies, attorneys, and facilitators offering adoption services in Texas, so it is important to understand the differences between them.
Agencies are regulated businesses and attorneys are experts in adoption law, both licensed and trained in adoption processes.
Adoption Facilitators are individuals who are usually unlicensed and unregulated that match Prospective Adoptive Parents with expectant Birth Mothers.
In Texas, only licensed adoption agencies may advertise on behalf of a Birth Mom or Potential Adoptive Parent, therefore making it illegal to use an unlicensed facilitator.
A facilitator will help advertise and match his or her client with an expectant Birth Mom, but once they have made a match, the facilitator will then refer their clients to a licensed adoption professional to complete the process.
Home Study and Post Placement Requirements in Texas
What is a Home Study and What Happens during the Process?
Before adopting a child, a Prospective Adoptive Parent and his or her family must undergo a home study to assess their ability to care for a child and provide a safe, stable home environment. This process will also help determine what kind of adoption is appropriate for the family and what child will fit best within their lifestyle.
In Texas, the home study process will include and require the following:
- An evaluation of the physical home to determine:
- Smoke detectors are working properly
- The safety and cleanliness
- All pets are up to date on their vaccine
- There are child safety plans in place if the home has a pool or any other body of water
- An interview with each Prospective Parent and any other adopted child who are at least 4 years old
- A name-based criminal background and central registry check for each Prospective Parent and anyone 14 years or older living in the home
- A fingerprint-based criminal background check for each Prospective Parents and anyone 18 years or older living in the home
While this process is to ensure that adoption is in the best interest of both the child and family, it is also a time for the family to ask questions, make any necessary adjustments, and prepare for a new member to the family.
Who Oversees a Home Study in Texas and Who is Included in it?
In Texas, the home study process will include the Prospective Adoptive Parents and any adults living in the home, and it may be facilitated by any of the following:
- A private adoption entity
- A court-appointed representative
- A state agency
- The domestic relations office
Why would my Home Study not be Approved?
As a Texas resident, the following may be grounds for disapproval of your home study and eligibility to adopt:
- The Prospective Parent or any adult living in the home does not pass the central registry for child abuse and neglect background check
- The Prospective Parent or any adult living in the home has been convicted of the following felonies or misdemeanors:
- Public indecency
- Offenses against a person in the family
- Failure to stop or report aggravated sexual assault of a child
- The Prospective Parent or any adult living in the home has committed any of these offenses in the past 10 years:
- Making firearms accessible to a child
- Alcohol-related offenses
- Those under the Texas Controlled Substances Act
What are the Home Study Requirements for Adopting a Baby from another State?
If you are a resident of Texas, but are presented with the opportunity to adopt a child who was born in another state, you must comply with the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, which is a contract among the states to ensure safe adoptions across state lines.
What are the Requirements for a Foster to Adopt Placement in Texas?
“Foster to Adopt” is when a foster parent or family decides to adopt a foster child that is currently in their care.
The goal of foster care is to eventually reunite the child with his or her family, but in the case that reunification is not an option, the foster parents may be eligible to adopt the child. In Texas, laws and regulations regarding this issue are not specified.
What is a Post Placement Requirement and What Happens During the process?
A post placement assessment is an evaluation of the child’s integration into the adoptive family’s home that takes place before the adoption can be finalized. It is meant to ensure that the child and family were a good fit for adoption.
In Texas, this assessment will include:
- A summary of the child and family’s adjustment to the adoption placement
- An evaluation of any special needs of the child, and if the Adoptive Family meets those needs
- An assessment of the child’s:
- Understanding of the adoption placement
- Current legal status
- History of any previous adoption placements
- Health, social, educational, and genetic history
- History of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, if any
- An assessment of the Adoptive Parents to include:
- Individual strengths and weaknesses
- Home screening and results of a criminal background check
- Observations of the interactions with the child
Texas Adoption Agencies and Professionals
Going through the adoption process can feel overwhelming at times, but the adoption professionals in Texas are eager to help you throughout your journey. Whether you are looking to adopt a child or deciding to place your child for adoption, the following agencies are ready to offer you support, advice, and answers to your questions as you pursue the adoption process:
Is your adoption journey bringing you to Texas? Here’s a list of some of The Lone Star States’ exciting spots to visit while you await the process:
The Alamo in San Antonio
Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Dallas
AT&T Stadium in Arlington
National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg
The River Walk in San Antonio