How to Adopt a Baby in Texas - The Complete Guide
Everything You Need to Know About Adopting in Texas
No matter what led you to this decision, adopting a baby will forever change your life. That can be a nerve-wracking thought — and when you first start exploring the process, you may be overwhelmed with questions about how to adopt a child in Texas and where to even start.
If so, you’re not alone. Thousands of families consider adoption each year. And most of these families have a ton of questions about what it’s like to adopt a baby in Texas.
Adoption can be confusing, and gaining a better understanding of the process can help you decide whether or not it’ll be right for you. If you’d like to learn more about adopting an infant in TX with American Adoptions, you can request free information at any time to get started.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about the Texas adoption process.
Step 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 ups and downs. However, the end result is the same; you get to raise and love a child.
Before you begin the newborn adoption process in Texas — or anywhere else in the U.S. — you first must be fully committed to the dream of adopting a child.
When a couple considers how to adopt a baby, they need to be in sync with their decision before moving forward. If you are coming to adoption after facing the struggles of infertility, the loss of a child or the dream of having a biological child, it’s important to address these things in full before the new dream of adoption can take root and a couple can begin the child adoption process in Texas.
Step 2: Understand Your Options and Texas Adoption Requirements
If you’re committed to adoption, the next step in the TX child adoption process is to determine which type you want to pursue. This will determine the Texas adoption requirements you will need to meet and the next steps you will need to take in your process.
The three main ways to adopt Texas children are:
Domestic infant adoption
Domestic infant adoption is the private adoption of a U.S.-born infant who is voluntarily placed with a new family by his or her birth parents. Private U.S. adoption agencies (also known as domestic infant 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 prospective 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. These things put together are a source of confidence and peace of mind for many adoptive parents throughout the process.
Foster care adoption
Most children who enter Texas foster care are eventually 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.
While American Adoptions only completes private infant adoptions, foster care adoption can also be a wonderful way to add to your family and help a child in need. Learn more about the requirements for foster care adoption in Texas here.
A third option for hopeful adoptive parents in Texas is international adoption. American Adoptions is not able to provide international adoption services, and this process is not as common as it once was. Many countries have closed their borders to international parents, and the process can be long, complex and, sometimes, risky.
Still, this process can be possible with the help of an excellent international adoption agency. 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. Be sure to do careful research before choosing international adoption and selecting an agency.
Learn more about international adoption in Texas here.
Step 3: Choose Your Adoption Professional
Once you know what type of adoption is right for your family, you will be able to start contacting Texas adoption agencies to help you through the process. This is easily the most important step of how to adopt a baby in Texas, because your professional will determine the quality of experience you have. Choosing which agency 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 may put you at risk for adoption fraud and financial loss. Without the professional services and experience of an adoption professional, your Texas adoption may not be completed to the necessary legal and ethical standards.
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; 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:
National Adoption Agencies
Licensed, reviewed and regulated by Texas and often several other states, national adoption agencies like American Adoptions work with potential birth and adoptive families across the country, creating shorter adoption wait times and less financial risk.
Because American Adoptions is licensed in multiple states, our agency is regularly reviewed by multiple licensing authorities to ensure we’re always providing the best services — creating an added layer of protection and peace of mind for our hopeful adoptive parents. Because of our national scale, we work with a broader range of potential birth and adoptive families, minimizing your wait to find an adoption opportunity. And, because we have a large staff and greater access to resources than many other, smaller professionals, we’re also able to offer many benefits you won’t find anywhere else — like our industry-leading Risk-Sharing program and 24/7 support for potential birth parents that can help reduce the risk of an adoption disruption.
But, there is another unique advantage of choosing our agency to complete your adoption in Texas — we have local offices throughout the state. This means that our Texas families have access to all of the advantages you can only find with a national agency — but don’t have to sacrifice the friendliness and convenience of working with a local professional. And, because we are a licensed child-placing agency in the state of Texas, we can also complete your home study for you — which means we can truly complete the entire Texas adoption process for you from start to finish.
To learn more about how we can help you adopt a child in Texas, contact us today.
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.
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.
These professionals can legally advertise for adoption in Texas but cannot place children. Adoption facilitators are entirely illegal in some other states for their predatory tactics.
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.
Step 4: Become a Waiting Adoptive Family
Once you join an adoption agency, you will be assigned to an adoption specialist to help guide you through the steps to become an active, waiting 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 help your adoption specialist find expectant mothers who have a similar vision for their adoption.
You’ll also create an adoptive family profile for expectant mothers to view, complete your Texas adoption home study, take adoption training courses and more. These steps can take some time and dedication to complete, but each one will bring you closer to becoming an active waiting family. 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. This is an exciting milestone for any hopeful parent — you could be chosen by a prospective birth mother at any time!
Step 5: Find an Adoption Opportunity
After you become an official waiting family, entering into an adoption opportunity with an expectant mother through private domestic adoption can take a few days, a few months, or even a few years, depending on the professional you choose to work with. Exactly when you are chosen to adopt a baby in Texas 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 preferences — 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 are placed with a child in 1 to 12 months. When you are chosen for an adoption opportunity, you’ll get “the call” from your adoption specialist congratulating you and explaining your next steps!
Step 6: Get to Know Your Child’s Birth Parents
Depending on the specific circumstances of your adoption situation, you may need to rush to the hospital right away to meet your child — or you may have several weeks or months to develop a relationship with your child’s prospective birth parents. It all depends on the potential birth mother’s unique situation and preferences.
Your adoption specialist will help you prepare for pre-placement contact with the potential birth parents, which usually starts with an initial conference call mediated by American Adoptions. From there, you and the potential birth parents may choose to continue your relationship through email, phone calls, text messages or even in-person visits until it is time for the baby to be born! When that day comes, your adoption specialist will contact you and let you know when it is time to travel to the hospital to support the potential birth mother and meet your baby.
The hospital stay is an emotional time for everyone involved, but your adoption specialist will be there to support you through it and answer any questions you have.
Step 7: 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, according to Texas adoption consent laws (if your adoption is taking place under another state’s laws, this time period may vary). If adoption consent is given, this terminates her parental rights.
If you are a Texas resident adopting a child born 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. (The same is true if you are an out-of-state adoptive family traveling to adopt a baby in Texas; you will need to remain in Texas and await ICPC clearance before returning to your home state). 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 also 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. This is a huge milestone for adoptive parents — your child is now a permanent, legal member of your family. Adoption finalization is a time for adoptive families to celebrate!
Step 8: 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 your child’s 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, so you and your child’s birth parents will be on the same page regarding your expectations for contact going forward.
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! Many adoptive families and birth parents develop very close relationships through the adoption process, and come to think of each other sort of like extended family. This means that, in most cases, both parties exchange contact directly. However, American Adoptions can help to facilitate your open adoption and post-placement contact for up to 18 years and is always available if any challenges in your relationship arise.
Adopting a baby in Texas won’t always be easy — but the end result will always be worth it. When you are ready to begin the process to adopt Texas kids, or if you’d just like to learn more about how to adopt a baby in TX, you can request more free information here.
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