The 6 Steps to Adopting a Child in Texas
Interested in learning how to adopt a child in Texas? Undertaking the Texas adoption process is, as you probably already know, a life-changing decision. How do you even get started?
We’re here to walk you through the adoption process in Texas, step-by-step. We’ll talk you through the questions you’ll need to ask yourself to make the choices that will guide your individual adoption journey in Texas, and provide you with the information and resources for adopting a child in Texas that you’ll need along the way.
Be sure to explore our more in-depth guides on all things Texas adoption! There, you can learn more about different types of adoption, the Texas laws that will affect you and more.
But, for a broad overview of how to become an adoptive parent in Texas, let’s start here.
Which Type of Adoption in Texas Is Right for You?
There are many types of adoption in Texas. Learning about all of them will help you to choose the path that’s right for your family. The three most common options of how to go about adoption in Texas are:
Domestic Infant Adoption
In this type of adoption, a pregnant woman voluntarily contacts a private domestic adoption agency to create an adoption plan for her unborn or newborn baby. She will select the adoptive family she feels is right, and may offer her legal consent to the adoption at least 48 hours after birth, according to Texas consent laws.
Contrary to popular belief, there are always infants in the U.S. that need to be adopted. So, if you’re excited by the possibility of having an open adoption and raising a child from infancy, take some time to learn more about how to adopt a baby in Texas in our complete guide on domestic infant adoption.
Foster Care Adoption
Many hopeful parents have wondered, “How do you adopt a child in Texas from foster care?” First, let’s learn about what the foster adoption procedure in Texas means.
Children in foster care have been removed from their homes due to safety reasons. Most children in foster care will be reunited with their biological families, after their home situation is improved. This is always the first goal for children in foster care.
However, if a Texas court decides that a child is unable to return home, the child’s biological parents will have their rights involuntarily terminated. This leaves their child legally available for foster care adoption.
If you can envision yourself adopting an older child, a set of siblings or a child with special needs, a foster care adoption might be right for you. Learn more about this way of adopting a child in Texas in our guide on Texas foster care.
“I want to adopt a child in Texas, but I want to help an orphan in another country.” This sentiment has led many families to consider adopting internationally.
Although international adoptions are decreasing in popularity due to legal complexities, longer wait times and high costs, this is still an option for growing your family.
Do you picture yourself raising an older child from another country? Are you ready to raise a transcultural adoptee? Then this type of Texas child adoption process may be right for you. Learn more about this process in our comprehensive guide.
Choosing a Texas Adoption Professional
Now that you’ve decided which type of adoption you’re going to pursue, you’ll next need to choose the professional who will help show you how to legally adopt in Texas and provide you with the services you’ll need for a successful journey. Remember that adoption is not something that you can D.I.Y. — the process is too legally and emotionally complex. So, you’ll need to work with experienced and reputable professionals.
There are four options when it comes to finding places to adopt a child in Texas, and they are not created equal:
Working with an adoption agency is generally considered to be the best way to adopt a child in Texas, because of the level of safety and the number of services involved. Those vital services for adoptive parents include:
- Locating adoption opportunities
- Assistance creating adoptive family profiles
- Support and counseling
- Administrative services
- Home study support and services
- Post-placement support
- And more
A full-service and fully licensed agency is able to provide services from start to finish of the process of how to adopt a kid in Texas, whereas other agencies can only handle specific parts. Fully licensed agencies are held to the highest legal and ethical standards from third-party evaluators. Other adoption professionals are not under such careful and regulated review.
No matter what, you must work with an adoption attorney in order to complete the legal adoption process in Texas. Without an attorney, your adoption is not legal. If you work with an agency to receive adoption services and to find a placement, then your attorney will work in coordination with your agency.
You could choose to only work with an attorney when adopting a child in Texas. However, you would not have the services and protection that an agency can provide, especially assistance finding the right adoption opportunity and working with prospective birth parents.
Adoption Law Centers
Although law centers offer some of the same services that an agency would, adoption law centers are not regulated like an agency is. They don’t have the same licensing requirements, and so it’s harder to assess their legitimacy.
This can be a viable option, but take care and conduct thorough research first.
When many hopeful parents ask themselves, “How do I start the adoption process in Texas?” and begin searching for answers, they’ll come across ads for adoption facilitators.
It’s not advisable, or even legal, to work with an adoption facilitator. This type of professional advertises to find a child for adoption (which is also illegal in Texas unless you are a licensed agency — and facilitators are not) and not much else. They are under no type of ethical review and are illegal in many states.
What is the Adoption Process in Texas?
Now that you’ve chosen your professional, it’s time to begin the process of how to legally adopt a child in Texas. At this point, you probably have a lot of questions and anxieties about starting the adoption process in Texas, like:
“How does adoption work in Texas?” “What is the adoption process like in Texas?” “How can I adopt a child in Texas safely?” “How do I begin the adoption process in Texas?”
We’ve got you covered. Although everyone’s adoption journey will be different, most adoptions will follow the same core steps. The following will provide you with a solid general overview, but be sure to research the different processes for different types of adoptions in our more detailed guides.
With that in mind, these are the 6 basic steps to adopt in Texas:
Step 1: Complete the Home Study
All adoptive families, regardless of the type of adoption or the professional you choose, must complete the home study process. This pre-adoptive step assesses your physical, mental, emotional and financial readiness for adoption. It is the most important way that professionals ensure children are placed into safe, loving and prepared homes.
If you’re adopting a child in Texas through a full-service agency, they’ll often be able to provide the necessary home study services in-house. Otherwise, you will need to find a in your region of Texas.
Take a look at our home study checklist to learn more about what’s required in your home study and to start preparing and getting organized.
Step 2: Wait
This is often considered the hardest part for adoptive parents. After your home study, there will be a lot of hustling to complete things like an adoption profile, attend training or meet other requirements based on the type of adoption you’re pursuing. But then, you’ll just have to sit tight and wait for a match.
The length of time you’ll wait will vary, depending largely on the type of adoption of children in Texas you choose. Even then, there is no formula to predict how long you will wait before the right match comes along. It may be days, weeks, months, or in the case of international adoptions, it could be more than a year.
Step 3: Accept an Adoption Opportunity
Your professional will contact you and present with an adoption opportunity. They’ll provide you with some preliminary information, and you’ll be able to take the next steps forward.
In a domestic infant adoption, this opportunity means that a prospective birth mother has chosen you after viewing your adoptive family profile. But when you’re hoping to adopt in Texas from foster care, this opportunity means that the child is now ready to be placed in your home.
No matter what, this is always an exciting moment!
Step 4: Pre-Placement Contact
This step of adopting a kid in Texas is exclusive to domestic infant adoption. However, it’s a very important step. One of the greatest benefits that is unique to adopting a baby in Texas through a private agency is the possibility of an open or semi-open adoption.
When you accept an opportunity, most hopeful adoptive parents will have the opportunity to get to know the prospective birth mother before, during and after adoption. Today, 95% of adoptions are open.
While this may sound a bit scary at first, openness is encouraged — research has shown that openness is beneficial to everyone involved, but particularly for the long-term benefit of the child.
Step 5: Placement
The moment you meet your child for the first time is what you’ve been working toward since you first asked, “How do I adopt a child in Texas?”
Placement will look different depending on your situation. In a domestic infant adoption, placement usually occurs at a hospital after birth, when the birth mother is legally allowed to give her consent. In a foster care adoption, many parents will welcome their child into their home, potentially shortly after meeting. In an international adoption, parents travel to the child’s country of birth for the first meeting, and return home after some legal steps are complete.
Receiving placement is incredibly exciting and a truly life-changing moment, but the adoption procedures in Texas aren’t complete just yet!
Step 6: Finalization and the Journey Ahead
After welcoming your child home, you’ll need to complete a series of post-placement requirements. Then, about six months after the initial placement, you’ll attend a finalization hearing in your local Texas courthouse.
At the finalization, a judge will review all of the documentation. If everything is completed satisfactorily under Texas adoption law, you’ll receive your final decree of adoption, and your child will be officially confirmed as a legal and permanent member of your family!
However, adoption is not a one-time event, but an ongoing journey.
Learn More About How to Adopt a Child in Texas
Need to learn more about how to adopt in the state of Texas? Review our more detailed guides on the different steps to adopt a child in Texas. Then, contact an adoption professional whenever you’re ready to begin the process. They’ll help you learn more about how adoption works in Texas and get you started on your path to adopt a child.