How to Adopt a Baby in Texas
What You Need to Know About Adopting in Texas
Have you ever wondered about how to adopt a child in Texas? Are you considering adopting? Here’s what you need to know about adoption in Texas:
1. Decide If You’re Ready to Commit to Adoption
There are many ways to become a family. The Texas child adoption process is one way to become a parent, but it’s not the right way for everyone.
Parenthood in any form is difficult; emotionally, physically, mentally and financially. But the end result is worth the challenges. Adoption comes with its own set of similar, but different, challenges. However, the end result is the same; you get to raise and love a child.
Before you begin the newborn adoption process, you first must be fully committed to the process of adopting a child in Texas.
When a couple considers how to adopt a baby, they need to be in sync with their decision before moving forward. The struggles of infertility, the loss of a child or the dream of having a biological child must be addressed before the new dream of adoption can take root and a couple can begin the child adoption process in Texas.
2. Understand Your Options and Texas Adoption Requirements
If you’re committed to Texas adoption, then the next step in the TX child adoption process is to determine which type of adoption you want to pursue. There are different adoption requirements in Texas depending on the type of adoption.
The three main ways to adopt Texas kids include:
Domestic agency adoption
U.S. adoption agencies (also known as domestic adoption agencies) like American Adoptions provide all of the services needed when you’re not sure how to adopt a child in Texas. This includes counseling for birth parents, financial protection for adoptive parents and home studies conducted in Texas.
Domestic adoption with a full-service national agency provides shorter wait times, the ability to work with just one adoption professional and all the services you need to complete an infant adoption within the United States.
Foster care adoption
Most children who enter Texas foster care are reunited with their biological family members. But 25 percent of Texas kids in foster care will become eligible for adoption, many of whom are older children, part of a sibling group, or have additional needs.
Learn more about the requirements for foster care adoption in Texas or foster-to-adopt here.
Children of any age can be adopted internationally, but regulations, restrictions and costs vary based on the country you chose to adopt from and the international adoption agency in Texas you work with.
Learn more about international adoption in Texas here.
3. Choose Your Adoption Professional
This is easily the most important step of how to adopt a baby in Texas, because your adoption professional will determine the quality of adoption experience you have. Choosing who to adopt Texas kids through is important; doing your research and asking questions will be vital.
Some quick tips to consider:
Don’t choose your TX adoption professional based on price alone — agencies offer differing levels of safety and services, so working with a less expensive agency that may not provide the same quality of service can put you at risk.
Pursuing adoption without an agency in Texas may put you at risk for adoption fraud and financial loss without the professional services and experience of an adoption professional.
Talk to several other families that the agency has worked with to hear their experiences and advice.
It’s illegal in Texas for a hopeful parent to advertise to find a child to adopt in Texas; only a licensed agency can do that in this state, making independent adoptions challenging.
There are five main types of professionals that can help you learn how to adopt a baby in Texas:
These professionals can legally advertise for adoption in Texas to, but not place children. Adoption facilitators are entirely illegal in some other states for predatory tactics.
Adoption law firms
A group of Texas adoption lawyers prepared to handle the legal aspects of your adoption; they often work with licensed Texas adoption agencies for the child placement service aspects and have local connections to other adoption professionals.
Adoption law centers
Despite the misleadingly comforting name, Texas adoption law centers are usually not subject to the routine reviews, certifications and regulations that better-supervised adoption professionals in Texas are, putting birth and adoptive families at risk.
Local/regional adoption agencies
Licensed by the state of Texas, but not on a national scale, local Texas adoption agencies are limited to birth and adoptive parents within the area, potentially leading to longer adoption wait times but more in-person conversations.
National adoption agencies
Licensed, reviewed and regulated by Texas and often several other states, national adoption agencies like American Adoptions work with birth and adoptive families through all 50 states, creating shorter adoption wait times and less financial risk.
It’s important to learn more about the pros and cons of different Texas adoption professionals, as well as how to adopt a child in Texas with those professionals, to make the best decision for your family.
4. Become a Waiting Adoptive Family
This is where the paperwork begins! For hopeful adoptive parents with American Adoptions, you’ll fill out an Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ) that helps you determine how you envision your dream adoption. This is used to pair you with expectant mothers who have a similar vision for their adoption.
You’ll create an adoptive family profile for expectant mothers to view, complete your Texas adoption home study, take adoption training courses and more. Being an “active waiting family” hoping to adopt a baby in Texas means that you’ve been approved to adopt and are awaiting an adoption opportunity with an expectant mother.
5. Find an Adoption Opportunity
Entering into an adoption opportunity with an expectant mother through private domestic adoption can take a few weeks or a few months after your adoption profile is shown to expectant parents. It depends on a variety of factors, including your own openness to potential birth mothers, but it ultimately comes down to an expectant mother’s individual preference, as no two pregnant women are looking for exactly the same thing in prospective adoptive parents.
However, 75 percent of active waiting families adopting through American Adoptions in Texas are placed with a child in 1 to 12 months.
6. Legally Finalize Your Adoption
After the baby is born, the biological mother will need to wait a minimum of 48 hours after the birth before she can offer her consent to the adoption with her adoption lawyer according to Texas adoption consent laws. If adoption consent is given, this terminates her parental rights.
If you adopt a child outside of Texas, you’ll have to comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) process before you can return to Texas with your child. However, if you live in Texas and adopt Texas kids, ICPC won’t be a factor in your adoption. It’s simply an additional step for adoptive parents if their infant adoption process occurs across state lines to ensure that all children go to safe homes.
After you’ve returned home with your child after placement, your Texas home study professional will arrange to come back for the mandatory post-placement in-home visits that occur leading up to the adoption finalization several months later. This is to ensure that you and your child are adjusting well to post-placement life.
Your Texas adoption attorney will be in touch with you to schedule an adoption finalization hearing in your local district or juvenile court, which has jurisdiction for adoption hearings in Texas. Your family, adoption attorney, and sometimes your social worker will attend the hearing. This is when the judge officially grants your parental rights through a final adoption decree, and the Texas adoption process is complete.
Adoption finalization is a time for adoptive families to celebrate!
7. Adjust to Post-Placement Life
The process of how to adopt a child in Texas never truly ends with finalization; it’s a lifelong journey for your family and birth family.
Open adoptions are always encouraged whenever possible, as studies show they are greatly beneficial for everyone involved, particularly the adoptee. This allows for some level of contact to remain open between the birth and adoptive families throughout the adoptee’s life. The amount of contact desired after placement life is discussed in the creation of your adoption plan, as adoptive parents are paired with expectant parents who want the same level of contact in an adoption.
The regular, frequent, or occasional exchange of photos, letters, emails, calls, and visits may or may not be part of an open adoption. It’s whatever both parties wish it to be!
American Adoptions will help to facilitate your open adoption and post-placement contact for up to 18 years.
Ready to begin the process to adopt Texas kids? Call 1-800-ADOPTION now.
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