Adopting a Child
An Overview of Adoption in Texas
Adding a child to one's family through the process of adoption is a joyous event for any parent. There are instances of biological parents having their parental rights terminated, voluntarily or otherwise, allowing for adoption by a new family or a stepparent. The Texas laws that regulate adoption can be extremely complex, so hiring a family law attorney can aid one in navigating the adoption process and avoiding legal pitfalls that can delay the proceedings or, at the very worst, result in a denial of an adoption application. Additionally, there are many factors that one must account for in seeking the adoption of a child including various requirements, legal aspects, and adoption scenarios. Different types of adoption that may apply to your current situation include:
- Interstate or international adoption
- Step-parent adoption
- Surrogate adoptions
- Adoptions by unmarried or single persons
Working with an adoption agency may require an investigation of prospective parents, as well as a home study investigation—since in the state of Texas, an adoptive parent must be financially stable, responsible and mature, and at least 21 years old. A home study investigation will help an agency determine whether or not the prospective parent is financially able to raise a child, what parenting skills they may possess, what their marital circumstances are, and whether or not they have a criminal background. If you are looking to adopt, it is in your best interests to speak with an experienced attorney before initiating the adoption process. With the help of legal representation, you will be better equipped to handle all of the necessary procedures involved.
The paperwork involved in an adoption in the state of Texas can be significant, and involve termination of parental rights, criminal background checks, petitions for adoption, and approvals related to name change and issuance of new birth certificates. For a complete list of family forms, visit this website. According to Texas law, the birth certificate of an adopted child must contain the name of the adoptive parents, one of whom must be a female named as the mother and the other of whom must be a male named as the father (Texas Health and Safety Code §192.008). Same-sex couples in the state of Texas must choose who will be designated as the father, in the case of a male couple, or the mother, in the case of a female couple.
It is vitally important to make sure that adoption forms are completed and signed by the parent who is giving up all rights and custody of the child who is being adopted. Completing these forms accurately will save you from roadblocks and added waiting periods during your adoption process. Once the legal process has been completed, it will then be your responsibility to provide for your adopted child's emotional, physical, educational and cultural needs, provide for all of short-term and long-term needs, and most importantly, provide a lifelong commitment to your child.