Texas Adoption – Bringing Home Baby!
There are many reasons people consider adoption. Stepparents adopt their stepchildren. Child Protective Services (CPS) may place a child with family members or with foster parents, who choose to adopt the child. A couple may adopt an infant born to a minor friend or relative. Vonda can help.
If you are considering adopting a child, it’s very important to consult with an attorney before doing anything. Did you know that paying the biological mother’s rent or buying her clothes is not permitted and could undermine your ability to finalize the adoption? In a private adoption, the adopting parents can pay only for the birth mother’s medical expenses and attorney’s fees. If this involves adoptive parents in one state and the child in another state, there are procedural requirements that must be met. Only by consulting an attorney will you be sure how to proceed.
How to adopt a child in Texas
The adoptive parents will need to file a Petition seeking adoption, and the termination of the biological parents’ rights. The court will appoint an amicus attorney to represent the best interests of the child. The amicus will meet with the child, the adoptive parents, and the biological parents. The amicus will also likely contact the child’s teachers, doctor, friends, and other people who may know about the family and their suitability for adoption. The amicus will then represent the child in any court proceeding in the case.
The adoption involves two stages, which are often undertaken simultaneously. The first is that the parental rights of both biological parents must be terminated. If the adoptive parents do not know where a biological parent resides or works, the adoptive parents have a duty to attempt to locate the parent. If they cannot locate the parent, he or she will be served by publication and the court will appoint an ad litem attorney to represent the missing parent in his or her absence. The first duty of that ad litem attorney is to attempt to locate the missing parent. If he is not successful in locating the missing parent, the ad litem represents the missing parent in the termination case. If the birth mother does not know the identity of the father of the child, the unknown father will be served by publication and the court will appoint an ad litem attorney to represent the unknown father’s interests.
The second stage of the process is the actual adoption. There are several requirements for a Texas adoption to occur. The child must have lived with the adoptive parents for at least six months. The court will order a home study, in which a social worker visits the adoptive home and interviews the family, including the child to be adopted. A criminal history is required. The court will also require a genetic history for the child.
Once all the documents have been gathered (the home study, the criminal history, the genetic history, any documents for the termination), the attorneys will set the case for hearing with the court. Most courts review the documents in advance to make sure the termination and adoption are likely to go through. The adoptive family and the child go to court for the hearing, where the termination and adoption are finalized.
After the adoption, the parents will apply for a certificate of adoption and very often for an amended birth certificate.
If you are considering a Texas adoption, call us at (281) 503-7373. Vonda can answer your questions and help you through the legal process.