Your Guide to International Adoption in Texas
Adopting a child internationally can be a wonderful way to grow your family. The knowledge that millions of children around the world are waiting for a family may have encouraged you to consider welcoming one of those children into your home through international adoption in Texas.
However, the Texas international adoption process is not easy. So, to help, we’ve created this guide that will walk you through the process step-by-step, answer some of your questions, help you find the right agency and generally prepare you for the Texas international adoption process. Let’s get started.
Is International Adoption in Texas Right for You?
Before we go any further, it’s important that you ask yourself this question. International adoption is not right for everyone. Is it right for you?
So, before you commit to this path to parenthood, you should always ask yourself these questions:
- Am I prepared for the responsibilities of parenthood, specifically to an adopted child?
- Am I ready for the additional challenges of raising a transcultural and/or transracial family?
- Am I comfortable with international travel?
- Have I prepared financially for this process?
- Have I fully educated myself about the unique needs of children who were adopted internationally and/or transracially?
- What do I envision when I think of my future family?
- Do I have a strong support network to help me during and after the process?
Hopefully these questions are helpful as you determine whether or not you are ready to pursue international adoption in Texas.
How International Adoption in Texas Works
If you’re certain that a Texas international adoption is right for you, then it’s time to get started. These seven steps will give you a broad sense of what that process is often like. Remember that you’ll need to conduct additional research to better understand the intricacies of these steps.
However, for the purposes of this overview, here are the seven steps of international adoption:
Step 1: Choose a Country
Choosing where you want to adopt from can be surprisingly complex. You’ll want to consider the current international adoption laws in various countries, find out which adoption professionals are authorized to work with your chosen country in accordance with Texas international adoption laws, and choose a country that is part of the Hague Convention.
Some of the most sought-after countries to adopt from include:
In order to adopt from Haiti, Texas families will need to work with a Texas Haiti adoption professional, like:
To complete a Colombia international adoption, Texas residents should always work with an experienced and appropriately licensed agency, like:
Contact an appropriately licensed agency to learn how to adopt a child from Mexico in Texas, such as:
Step 2: Choose an Agency
After choosing a country to adopt from and narrowing down your list of potential adoption agencies, you will need to settle on one professional before moving forward. Some families prefer to work with Christian international adoption agencies in Texas, while others just want to work with the best Hague-accredited adoption agencies in Texas, regardless of religious affiliation.
Here are some important tips to help you choose the right international agency:
- Make sure that they are Hague-accredited
- Check to see if they’re licensed to complete adoptions within the country you were hoping to adopt from
- Check the reviews, and talk to families who have adopted through that agency to make sure they’re reputable
- Contact the agency and ask them plenty of questions about their process, costs, timelines and more
Always research your options carefully!
Step 3: Complete the Home Study
Anyone who hopes to adopt, regardless of the type of adoption, must complete a home study. The Texas international adoption home study is an important pre-adoptive step that assesses your family’s readiness for international adoption. It ensures that children are placed into safe, loving and prepared homes.
In order to complete the international adoption home study, Texas families will need to work with a provider who is specifically licensed to complete international adoption assessments in Texas. Your agency may be able to complete your home study, or they may refer you to a licensed professional near you who can help.
Step 4: Complete an Adoption Eligibility Application
You’ll next need to apply for international adoption with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Department. For adoption from Hague Convention countries, fill out Form 1-800A, along with other pertinent documents, which your agency should be able to help with.
Once approved, you will be eligible for an adoption placement for 15 months. If you don’t receive a placement within that time, you’ll need to renew the application.
Step 5: Wait for a Match
It can take days, weeks, months or even years for your agency to find a child that may be the right match. They’ll present you with an adoption opportunity, which usually includes some information about a waiting child. If you agree to that match, then you’ll move on to the next step in the process.
Step 6: Travel for Adoption
This is one of the most anticipated moments in the international adoption process — finally traveling to your child’s country and meeting him or her for the first time. Plans will need to be put in place to travel to the child’s country of origin. You may travel more than once. Working out the travel and immigration logistics can take weeks or months, so be prepared.
You may need to stay within the country for an undetermined length of time as you complete final legal steps, including obtaining your child’s visa, passport and immigration paperwork.
Step 7: Return Home and Finalize the Adoption
Your adoption journey doesn’t end with receiving placement of your child. Once you’ve returned home, you’ll be strongly encouraged to finalize the adoption on U.S. soil, or complete a re-adoption in Texas.
Even if you legally adopt your child within their own country before you return home, it will not always directly translate to the U.S., and your child’s legal status will be unprotected. This is why finalization (or re-adoption) within a U.S. court is so strongly recommended.
International Adoption Agencies in Texas
This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, because your Texas international adoption agency will be responsible for guiding, supporting and protecting you throughout your journey. International adoption is complex — you’ll need an experienced and reputable agency.
Again, any agency you consider should be accredited by the Hague Convention — this is the standard for safe and ethical practices within international adoption. Second, you should look for qualities like:
- Availability outside of typical work hours
- Honesty about fees
- Risk-protection programs for your financial investment
- Appropriate caseloads for each social worker
With this in mind, some of the best international adoption agencies in Texas include:
Preparing for the International Adoption Process
Before you begin an international adoption, Texas families should start preparing as early as possible. Here are some tips to help you get organized and prepared, so that you can better handle some of the challenges associated with international adoption:
- Plan for the Financial Obligations: International adoption is the most costly type of adoption. Do you have a financial plan in place to cover those costs? You’ll want to consider saving, fundraising and applying for adoption grants.
- Build a Support Network: Be ready to welcome all the help you can. An ideal adoption support team consists of people and professionals you can turn to whenever you need practical or emotional support — before, during and after your adoption.
- Educate Yourself on Raising a Transcultural Family: Parenting is always hard, but as a transcultural family, you’ll face additional challenges. It’s important to thoroughly educate yourself about the emotional needs of internationally adopted children, so you can provide them with the appropriate resources, mentors and support throughout their life. Be sure to listen closely to the experiences of transracially and internationally adopted people.
Your Next Steps
Are you ready to begin your international adoption in Texas? Your next step should be to contact one (or more) of the agencies listed above. Take your time researching and choosing an agency!
Not sure that international adoption is right for you? Take a look at our in-depth guides to the different types of adoption in Texas, so you can find the path that’s right for your family.