Texas Adoption Laws
And How They Could Impact Your Adoption
Every state is responsible for regulating its own adoption laws, so Texas adoption laws are determined by the state. If you intend to adopt outside of Texas (which often occurs when working with a national adoption agency), you may also want to familiarize yourself with the expectant mother’s state's’ adoption laws when you enter into an adoption opportunity.
If you have questions about Texas adoption laws, you can always call 1-800-ADOPTION for free information. Remember that the information contained in this article is not intended as legal advice. For that, you should consult your attorney.
The following is a basic guide for the domestic adoption laws in Texas and how they may affect your Texas adoption process:
Who Can Adopt in Texas?
Texas adoption laws state that any adult may adopt. There is no specific age minimum or adoption age limit, although individual adoption professionals may have their own age requirements to adopt in Texas.
A married individual must adopt with their spouse. This also applies to anyone who is separated but not legally divorced from their spouse and anyone who wishes to adopt their spouse’s child through a stepparent adoption.
There are no specific adoption laws in Texas regarding adoption and same-sex couples or single parents petitioning to adopt on their own.
Any prospective parent hoping to adopt must be approved by a Texas adoption home study. This includes Texas criminal background checks, home visits, interviews and more.
Although adoption laws in Texas allow most anyone to adopt, hopeful adoptive parents will have to meet the individual adoption requirements of the professional they want to work with, as well as the requirements for the type of adoption they’re pursuing, whether that’s international, domestic, or foster care adoption in Texas.
Who Can Be Adopted in Texas?
A minor’s parents must have their parental rights terminated before the child can be adopted in Texas.
Voluntary termination of parental rights occurs when an expectant mother makes an adoption plan for her baby with an adoption agency. According to Texas adoption laws, she must wait at least 48 hours after the birth in order to give her consent, and then her consent must be signed by two witnesses and verified before a person authorized to take oaths. Birth fathers may give their consent to adoption in Texas at any point before the child is born.
Texas Adoption Laws for Advertising
It is illegal in Texas for adoptive and birth parents to advertise in regards to adoption. Only adoption professionals may advertise in Texas on behalf of birth and adoptive families.
Texas Adoption Laws for Birth Parent Expenses
In Texas, adoptive families are financially responsible for:
- Prenatal care, pregnancy and birth expenses of the birth mother and child
- Reasonable living expenses for the birth mother to support her during the pregnancy, which may include help with rent, bills, groceries and more
- The birth parent(s)’ attorney fees
Texas adoption laws don’t require the birth family to repay any paid expenses should they ultimately decide to parent, but American Adoptions does have a Risk-Sharing program that financially protects adoptive parents in the event of a disrupted adoption.
Any expenses paid to the birth parent(s) by the adoptive parent(s) are established on a case-by-case basis and approved by a Texas judge. It’s worth noting that some expectant mothers will have greater financial need than others, and so birth parent expenses can vary based on individual need.
Payment in the form of money, favors or gifts in exchange for the placement of a child is illegal. But reasonable living expenses can help expectant mothers in Texas deal with the costs of pregnancy and birth.
To learn more about adoption laws in Texas, or to understand which laws may apply in your individual circumstances, please speak with a local adoption attorney. To learn more about adoption with our agency, please call 1-800-ADOPTION now to speak with a TX adoption specialist.
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