Adopting a child is one of the most important things you will do during your lifetime. After all, adoption creates or enlarges a family. If you have never been through the adoption process before it can certainly seem intimidating. The old adage “knowledge is power” applies here. Once you know the overall process to adopt in Texas you may find that the prospect of going through the process doesn’t seem quite as intimidating.
There are several different types of adoption that you may wish to pursue, including:
· Agency adoption – involves using a licensed adoption agency to help find a child.
· Private adoption – usually uses an attorney or physician to bring a birthmother and adoptive parent together.
· Child protective agency adoption – adopting a child who is in foster care or whose parents have already had their parental rights terminated by the State of Texas.
· Family adoption – this includes step-parent adoption, a grandparent adopting a child, or any other adoption that involves a family member adopting a child.
· International adoption – this type of adoption has increased in popularity in recent years and involves locating a child in another country and bringing him/her home to the United States.
Because all adoptions are as unique as the child being adopted, the only way to know with certainly what steps your adoption will take is to consult with an experienced Texas adoption attorney. There are, however, some common steps that most prospective parents must take before an adoption can be finalized, including:
1. Locating a child – unless you are planning to adopt within the family, the first step is to locate a child to adopt. This may include going through a domestic or international adoption agency, locating a birthmother through private contacts, or working with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
2. Application – some adoption routes will require you to go through an initial application process to ensure that you meet the basic criteria to become an adoptive parent. This may include things such as a criminal background check as well as medical exams for all adult family members.
3. Training – you may be required to attend training to help you prepare for the role of an adoptive parent and to help you cope with issues that may come up related to adoption.
4. Petition – you must file a Petition to Adopt with the appropriate court.
5. Consent/Termination of parental rights – before a child can be adopted the parental rights of the birth mother and the birth father (if he has established parental rights to the child) must be terminated. Sometimes this has already occurred before the adoption process begins. If it has not, you will have to obtain consent to adopt or terminate the parental rights of either or both birth parents.
6. Home study – before an adoption can be finalized most types of adoption require a home study to be completed and the results submitted to the court.
7. Court approval – once all documents, reports, and results have been submitted to the court the adoption may be finalized if the judge is satisfied that everything is in order.
Note: If you are planning to adopt internationally there will likely b additional steps required in the child’s home country before the child can be brought to the U.S.
If you have additional questions about the Texas adoption process, contact the Plano, Texas Law Office of Jon R. Boyd by calling 972-332-0104 to schedule your appointment today.
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