The final step in the Texas adoption process is adoption finalization. This is a time for celebration — your child is now officially a permanent and legal member of your family.
Before Texas adoption finalization occurs and the final decree of adoption is issued, a few things will need to be completed first:
Your child’s birth parents have issued their consent to the adoption with their lawyer present, effectively terminating their parental rights (Note: birth mothers must wait at least 48 hours after the birth of their child in order to offer their consent to adoption in Texas)
You’ve complied with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and/or the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), if applicable
Your Texas adoption attorney and American Adoptions adoption specialist will be in touch with you about your adoption finalization hearing, which is scheduled several months after placement. They’ll let you know if there’s any additional paperwork that you need to complete, and when the adoption hearing is scheduled for. Texas adoptions are handled in your local district court.
An adoption finalization hearing is when a judge issues the final decree of adoption and the Texas adoption process is officially completed. This is a cause for celebration; families often invite family and friends to the hearing, throw a party, or have a photographer take some photos.
The TX adoption finalization hearing itself is short, and usually lasts less than an hour. It sometimes only lasts about twenty minutes or so. Here’s what happens in a typical Texas adoption finalization hearing:
You will be sworn in before the judge, along with your adoption attorney and sometimes your social worker
You’ll answer some questions about why you wanted to adopt, your ability to provide your child with a safe and loving home and other questions similar to those asked in your Texas adoption home study
The judge concludes with any final questions or statements for you or your social worker, and then signs the final decree of adoption
Your family and the judge may take a group photo with the final adoption decree, if you like
After that, your child’s adoption is officially finalized and the Texas adoption process is completed.
Following a Texas adoption finalization, you’ll be able to file for an amended birth certificate and your child’s social security card. Remember — if you ever have any questions, want help facilitating your ongoing communication with your child’s birth family, or need support, you can always contact American Adoptions for help.
For additional questions about how to finalize an adoption in Texas, call 1-800-ADOPTION for free information.
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