Christina Perrone #2 – Content – Adoption Attorneys
Understanding The Adoption Process In Texas
When a couple has been struggling with infertility for years, at some point they may begin to think about adoption. Making the decision to adopt has lifelong ramifications for the couple as well as the child and should be thoroughly researched and carefully considered. An adoption lawyer is an excellent source of information and advice when adoptions becomes an option.
Are There Different Types Of Adoptions In Texas?
There are three types of adoptions in Texas:
- Private adoption
- International adoption
- Adoption of a child through Child Protection Services
A private adoption is also known as a domestic infant adoption. The terms refer to a U.S. born infant being placed willingly by its birth parents with a new family. These types of adoption are usually limited to newborn infants.
An international adoption is sometimes referred to as an intercountry adoption. It is more complicated because the adoption must meet the requirements of U.S. Federal laws, Texas laws, and the laws the child’s country of origin that regulate adoptions. An international adoption can be risky. The country could shut down international adoptions or the prospective parents may be given inadequate health information. Language barriers may lead to incomplete information about the child’s eligibility for adoption. Unfortunately, there are some fraudulent adoptions agencies overseas.
The third option is adopting a child through Texas Department of Family and Child Protection Services. These adoptions include children of all ages who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. When a family makes the decision to adopt a child through DFPS, the department and the family complete the required adoptive placement documents. After the child has lived with the family for six months, the adoption can be made permanent.
What Are The Requirements For Adoption?
Every state has different requirements for those considering adoption. The adoption process in Texas is a bit different from other states. Prospective parents can be single or married. When a married couple makes the decision to adopt, both spouses must agree to the adoption.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has identified the following basic requirements for those considering adoption. Potential parents must:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Be financially stable, responsible, and mature
- Complete an application for adoption
- Provide information about their background and lifestyle
- Present references
- Complete a home study
- Agree to a criminal background and child abuse checks on all adult members of the household
What Is A Home Study?
A home study is an inspection of the home of the prospective adoptive parents, the place where the child will live. Everyone living in the home of the prospective parents is included in the home study. The state of Texas has a requirement for specific topics to be discussed during the home study including personal and family background, health status of anyone living in the home, financial information, parenting values and expectations, child rearing practices, and discipline methods. The inspection may be conducted by a court-appointed representative, a private entity, a state agency, or a domestic relations agency. The elements of a home study include:
- A personal interview of both prospective parents
- An evaluation of the home for:
- Safety and cleanliness
- Detectable hazards
- The presence of working smoke detectors
- Safety measures if a pool or water feature is on the property
- Up-to-date vaccinations for pets living in the home
- An interview with any adoptive child over four years of age in the home
- Observations of adoptive children residing in the home
- Criminal background checks for adults and anyone over the age of 14 living in the home
- A fingerprint background check for the prospective parents and anyone over 18 years of age residing in the home
Home studies are required for the three types of adoptions in Texas: private adoption, international adoption, and adoption through Child Protection Services. An international home study is different from a domestic home study. The requirements of Texas must be met in addition to the requirements of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the foreign country you are adopting from. It is a specialized type of home study that must be completed by a licensed and Hague certified adoption professional.
Who May be Adopted in Texas?
The state of Texas stipulates that a child must be legally free for adoption. In other words, both birth or current legal parents have had their parental rights terminated or they consented to the child’s adoption. The child must be present in Texas at the time the adoption petition is filed.
In a private adoption, a voluntary termination of rights may occur when an expectant mother develops an adoption plan with an adoption agency. By law, the mother must wait at least 48 hours after the birth of her child before she can legally give consent to the adoption. The consent must be witnessed by two people who sign the consent document; and the signing of the document must be witnessed by someone who is authorized to take oaths. A birth father may give his consent at any time before the birth of the child.
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