Adopting a child can be one of the most fulfilling and satisfying experiences in your life.
Hiring an attorney for an adoption is commonly called a “private adoption.” Examples of a “private adoption” are when a married person seeks to adopt their step-child, or when the child is adopted by relatives.
Most adoptions are conducted through adoption agencies that will have their own attorney who will complete the legal process. The State of Texas gives adoption agencies the widest possible range for adoptive placements. Any single or married adult is eligible to adopt a child. Adoptions can end badly. Only hire a reputable agency.
No matter whether you are using an adoption agency or a private attorney, here are the Texas basics:
Adoptions are governed by Chapter 162 of the Texas Family Code.
If the child is born in a state other than Texas and you are a Texas resident, you MUST comply with the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children Act.
If you are married, both spouses must join in the petition for adoption.
A report regarding the child’s health, social, educational, and genetic history must be completed prior to the adoption. The report should include a history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse suffered by the child. The report will not identify the birth parents or their families. As a prospective adoptive parent you have the right to examine the records and other information relating to the child’s history. If you are an adult and have been adopted, you are entitled to examine these records as well.
Each person seeking to adopt a child will have to obtain their own criminal history record.
The first step in the adoption process is terminating one or more of the birth parents’ rights. Usually, the birth parents voluntarily terminate their rights. Termination of parental rights is governed by Chapter 161 of the Texas Family Code.
These are only the basics. There are numerous other legal matters that must be addressed to complete an adoption successfully. I can help you do that.