Like all states, Texas has laws and regulations pertaining to adoption. At first glance it can seem like a bit of a minefield, but there are adoption agencies which can help those seeking an adoption plan for their child or prospective adoptive parents.
Support and guidance is essential for all parties involved, as is a full understanding of the adoption process. Let’s explore the process of adopting a child in Texas; procedures may slightly vary from agency to agency but overall the modus operandi remains the same.
Prior to understanding the formal procedure involved, all parties need to be 100% certain they are doing the right thing, for the right reasons. Adoption agencies have a lot of expertise on the issues surrounding adoption and can offer advice, support and guidance. They will talk things through with both the birth and adoptive parents to make sure everyone has a full understanding of the implications and what is involved.
The state of Texas has one of the highest number of adoptions every year and there are certain guidelines that must be followed by all parties.
Potential adoptive parent can be single or married but there are a few key criteria that must be met before you are considered eligible to adopt. Adopters must complete an application to adopt (detailing background and lifestyle). Also, potential adopters must be financially stable and be able to provide references.
If you state that you are married or divorced, you must be able to provide proof. All potential adopters are required to complete a home study. Adoptive parents and anyone living with them will be subject to a criminal background and child abuse check. If you can meet the criteria listed and are still committed to becoming an adoptive parent you will be able to get started with the official process.
The right type of adoption will depend on a few key things. First, you need to consider what age child you would like to adopt. Are you thinking about adopting a baby or a young child? Would you consider adopting an older child? You also need to give some thought as to where you would like to adopt your child from.
There’s an abundance of children that require a loving home; would you prefer to adopt domestically or from further afield? Are you adopting after fostering a child? These factors will have a bearing on the next steps you take. Finally, consider the birth parents; would you prefer to have some initial contact with them when possible or would you prefer no contact?
Adoptive parents are wise to explore the possibility of getting some assistance from an agency such as The Adoption Alliance. Agencies like ours are licensed, and adoptive parents should check out our frequently asked questions to learn about what it’s like to work with us.
The Home Study is an integral part of the adoption process, it sounds daunting, but it exists merely to create a comprehensive picture of the adoptive parents and their eligibility.
The Home Study will either be completed by the state, by an adoption agency involved in coordinating the adoption or by a specialist home study agency. A “caseworker” will visit with the adoptive parents at home and will be looking to find out about them.
The caseworker will want to talk over your background and will also want to know more about you – what do you like to do and how do you like to live your life? He or she will ask about your experiences with children and how you feel you will be able to care for and look after the adopted child.
There will also be time for personal reflection as you discuss what you feel are your core strengths that you feel will help you as a parent. This all seems very personal but it’s essential that your caseworker builds a clear and comprehensive picture of anyone who would like to adopt a child.
The caseworker obviously wants to speak to the adoptive parents but will also want to speak with anyone else who shares the address. So, if you have a parent or sibling living with you, the caseworker will need to interview that person too. Checks will also be carried out in terms of your financial and medical information along with a criminal background check.
Once approved, the details of prospective adopted parents are given to birth mothers. It’s important they can review your application to make sure they can feel certain their child is going to the right adopter. This may take time and those waiting to adopt can feel frustrated, but patience is essential and once a match has been found, all the waiting will have been worth it.
Once a birth mother has selected adoptive parents for her child, the ball will begin to roll. The level of communication between the birth mother and adoptive parents can vary, but there will always be professionals on hand to ensure a smooth flow of communication always.
If a birth mother has chosen to give up her baby for adoption, she must wait 48 hours before relinquishing parental rights; once this is done it cannot be revoked. Custody of the child is then handed over to the adoptive parents and you are able to go home and begin your life as a family.
The official legalization of the adoption takes around six months and will follow a few post-placement visits (to make sure everything is going well), and a final hearing conducted by a judge to make sure all the legalities have been adhered to.
Here at The Adoption Alliance we work with all parties involved in the adoption process. We can support and guide adoptive parents like you, helping you to prepare for the adoption process in Texas. We liaise and coordinate with all parties, and strive to build happy, functional families.
We understand that the adoption process can be unnerving, but we encourage adoptive parents to take the leap and let a child share your home. Allow us to join you on your journey. Click here to get started today.