If you are a hopeful Adoptive Parent in TX, read below to learn more about how to adopt a baby.
Make Sure Adoption is Right for You
This is the first step in the adoption process, regardless of what state you are living in. It is absolutely essential that Adopting Parents are prepared and willing to take on the challenges that come with being a parent before they enter into the adoption process. Parenthood is well worth the difficulties that accompany it, but it is not for everyone and it is in your best interest, as well the child’s, that you are as sure as possible that this is the right path for you. Regardless of whether or not you are certain in your course of action, the information that follows will inform you as to how to adopt a child in Texas.
Choose Your Type of Adoption
When it comes to choosing the type of adoption that you are going to pursue, you really have three choices: domestic adoption, international adoption, and foster care adoption. Figuring out which kind of adoption is right for you helps significantly when you reach the next step in the adoption process, which is choosing an adoption agency or professional to help you on your journey.
U.S. adoption agencies and professionals help Adoptive Parents and Birth Mothers throughout the United States. They will be able to provide you with any information that you may desire regarding the adoption process as well as information pertaining to outside resources that may help you as you go through the process to adopt a child. As a law center, Adoption Network Law Center is able to oversee your adoption from the beginning to end.
International adoption has become stricter over the past few years with countries either closing their doors to international prospective parents or enforcing stricter rules and regulations that have cut down on the number of adoptions taking place. Where in Texas it does not matter whether you are single, divorced, or married, it very well might impact your ability to adopt a child from overseas. Another noteworthy factor in overseas adoption is that it tends to cost a little bit more than domestic adoptions. It is important that you look into the adoption regulations governing the nation from which you intend to adopt a child.
Foster care adoption:
When it comes to adopting out of the foster care system, there are a few different paths that you can take. The first is to become a foster parent and foster children that are in need of a loving and stable home as they await a more permanent situation. In this scenario you are in no way guaranteed the ability to adopt the child, as the first priority is to reunite the child with his or her biological family. But there is a chance that you would be able to adopt the child if reuniting the child with its biological family is not possible.
The third path does not involve you becoming a foster parent at all, as you can adopt a child from the foster care system in Texas without fostering first. You can simply request to exclusively match with the children that are currently eligible for adoption within the foster care system.
Finding an Adoption Professional
Once you have decided which kind of adoption is best for you, it will make it substantially easier to choose an adoption professional. It is a common misconception that all adoption entities perform the same services, but that is not the case and it is very important that you do your research and choose a reputable adoption agency or professional that specializes in the type of adoption that you are looking to pursue.
Some factors to consider when choosing an adoption professional:
- Level of support, resources offered, and general guidance
- Wait times
- Their service fees
- Third party costs that are not included in their service fees
- Whether there is any financial protection in the event of a disruption
- Reach out to families that have used an agency or professional that you are considering. They will be an invaluable source of information in terms of advice and experience that is directly relatable.
- Take a holistic approach when choosing an adoption agency or professional. It is not advisable to make the decision solely based on one factor. As mentioned above, different agencies and professionals offer different degrees of aid and security. So make sure you do your homework and choose an agency that meets all of your needs.
Your Adoption Preferences/Home Study
After you have selected the adoption professional that will guide you, you will begin to outline your adoption preferences. For example, you will discuss what level of “openness” you are looking for, if any, in an adoption. The level of openness is how much communication is allowed and expected between the Adoptive Parents, the Birth Mother and the child both during the pregnancy and after the birth. Today, most adoptions have some level of openness. Most adoption professionals like to suggest that there be some level of openness to adoptions because it has proven to be generally beneficial and healthy for all involved. You will also discuss your preferences regarding ethnicity of the child, gender preferences and Birth Mother situations.
This is also the time during which you will have your home study. The home study is mandatory for any adoption in Texas, whether you are pursuing a domestic, international, or foster adoption. During the process, a caseworker will visit your home and ascertain whether you and your home are fit to raise a child. This process includes interviews with all people in the home, background checks, as well as gathering financial and medical information. For any out-of-state prospective parents it is worth knowing that your criminal background checks must be performed in Texas (this is a security measure meant to ensure that everyone has completed the same requirements).
The Waiting Period
After you have completed your home study, as well as all of the other necessary steps to become a waiting family, your profile will be shown to Birth Mothers who are considering adoption. This is often the hardest step in the adoption process and it is important to remain positive and try not to fixate on whether or not the phone is going to ring. Unfortunately, there are no set wait times so while some families might be selected in a few months, others have waited years before being selected by a Birth Mother. While you wait, it is suggested that you try to live your life as normal. Read here to learn about what Adoptive Parents have found to be helpful during this waiting phase.
Once you have been chosen by a Birth Mother/Parents, you will be notified by your adoption professional and you may move forward with the next stage of the adoption. The communication between you and the Birth Mother will depend on what level of openness you have agreed upon for the adoption, you may be in direct communication or your adoption professional might be providing you with updates.
If your Birth Mother is in Texas, the last bit of waiting that you have to endure is the 48 hour window following the birth of the child. This waiting period is mandatory in the state of Texas to give the mother some time before she terminates her parental rights. Once she does, it is irrevocable and the child will be placed into your custody. However the child is not a legal member of your family until the adoption is finalized. If you are adopting out of state, your adoption professional will provide you with the details about these final waiting times and any ICPC requirements.
Finalizing the Adoption
Once you and the child are safely back home in TX, there will be some mandatory post-placement home study visits (similar to the one that you had before applying for adoption). These in-home visits occur over a few month span in order to ensure that everyone is adjusting well and that there is a foundation for success present in the home.
After the home visits have been completed your adoption attorney will schedule a court appearance for you, either at the local juvenile or district court, where you will have your adoption finalization hearing. At the hearing the judge will ensure that all post-placement visits were completed, that the Birth Parents’ rights were officially terminated, and that the child has been in the custody of the Adoptive Parents for at least six months (as mandated by the Texas Family Code). Upon confirming these things, the judge will officially grant you your parental rights and that will conclude your adoption process in the state of Texas. Hugs and kisses all around!
Although the adoption is complete and cemented legally, depending on the level of openness that you have chosen for your adoption, there will be a lifelong connection between you and the Birth Parents.
Open communication usually consists of the exchange of photographs, phone calls, emails, letters or even visits, but once again that all depends on what works best for you, the Birth Parents and most importantly, the child.
If you have any questions or want more information on anything that was presented in this article please do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us by phone, day or night, at 1-800-367-2367.