Texas Adoption Finalization Guide
Post-Placement Visits, the Texas Adoption Decree and Beyond
For adoptive parents, one of the most exciting moments in the adoption process is meeting their child for the first time. But as magical as the initial placement can be, it’s not the end of the Texas adoption process. In fact, there is a major legal step that must be completed before your child is legally recognized as a permanent member of your family: adoption finalization.
We’ve created a guide that covers everything you should know about finalizing an adoption in Texas, including referrals to the professionals you’ll need to work with in order to complete that final legal step.
Texas Adoption Finalization Professionals
Some families try to cut corners and avoid legal fees, leading them to wonder how to file adoption papers without a lawyer in Texas. The answer is — you don’t.
Adoption finalization occurs in court in front of a judge. Not only is a lawyer necessary, but they’ll be your most important resource throughout the process of filing for adoption in Texas and the ultimate legal finalization.
For the safety and legal security of your child and entire family, we urge you to always work with a reputable and experienced adoption attorney. Otherwise, your adoption may not be legally binding.
All hopeful parents need experienced help in order to complete the Texas adoption process. Your first resource should always be your adoption agency. A full-service agency will walk you through the entire process, from your first application to your Texas adoption finalization and beyond with post-placement services.
Your adoption attorney will be just as important. The legal complexities of adoption should never be underestimated. Through qualified legal representation, you can protect yourself and your new family. Your attorney will also make sure that you have met all documentation filing deadlines, then they’ll represent you at the finalization hearing.
The following attorneys can walk you through how to file for adoption in Texas and can ensure that your adoption is legally sound:
Are you still looking for an agency for your adoption in Texas? The right agency provides everything from placement services, to pre-adoption counseling, to crucial post-adoption services. Texas agencies who can assist you with everything from filing a petition for adoption in Texas to finalization include:
The Post-Placement Process
After you’ve received placement of a new child, you’ll need to complete a series of Texas adoption post-placement requirements before your finalization is scheduled to take place in Texas adoption court. Your adoption isn’t legally binding and complete just yet!
Part of the post-placement requirements you’ll need to complete are more in-home visits. This may often be conducted by the social worker from the licensed home study provider you worked with before placement.
Much like your initial visits in the pre-placement home study process, the social worker will come to your home, ask you some questions about how things are going and observe how you and your family interact with your new child. They’ll check to make sure you’re practicing basic safety measures in the home and verify that everyone is adjusting well to the placement.
Once the post-placement visits and requirements are complete, the social worker will produce a report that will be reviewed by a judge as part of your Texas adoption finalization hearing. These requirements are usually met over the course of about six months, in between the initial placement and the scheduled finalization hearing.
The Texas Adoption Hearing
Now that you’ve completed all the necessary post-placement requirements, your adoption professional will help you secure a date at your local district courthouse for the adoption finalization. Texas court “hearings” may sound intimidating, but don’t panic — the day in court itself is generally short, sweet and simple, and some judges don’t even require you to be physically present.
Again, the finalization hearing usually occurs about six months after placement. At this hearing, a judge will go over the post-placement visit report provided by your home study professional, in addition to all other required legal documents. Your attorney will help you to make sure you have all the necessary documents in order ahead of time.
Occasionally, your attorney or the judge will ask a few adoption hearing questions. Texas courts will sometimes ask the adoptive family if they’re prepared to love, support and provide for their new child, so those questions should be easy for you to answer!
When the judge confirms that the process has met all the requirements established by Texas adoption law, and that the current placement is in the best interests of the child, they’ll grant the final decree of adoption. Texas families often like to take a photo together to commemorate the special moment when their child becomes a permanent, legal part of the family.
Things to Do After Receiving the Texas Certificate of Adoption
The first thing you should do after finalizing your adoption? Take a moment to celebrate your journey to this moment!
Next, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve secured the last few pieces of paperwork for your child. This is typically done after the adoptive family has received the certificate of adoption. Texas families will usually need to finalize the adoption before they can file for the next steps.
First up: your child’s birth certificate. Talk to your adoption professional about filing for an amended birth certificate, which places you and your spouse’s names on the official document. Listing the names of the legal parents on the certificate instead of your child’s birth parents generally prevents any legal or clerical errors throughout your child’s future.
Finally, you’ll want to establish a communication routine with your child’s birth family for the years to come. Today, 95% of domestic infant adoptions are at least semi-open, so getting into the habit of sending photos, letters, emails or scheduling future visits with your child's birth family is best done from Day 1!
Remember that you can always reach out to your adoption professional for post-adoption support. Texas families may have questions about creating stronger relationships with birth family members, questions about post-adoption resources or educational tools and more.
Adoption doesn’t end with receiving that state of Texas certificate of adoption! It’s an ongoing journey and learning process.
Speak with a Texas Adoption Professional Today
Anxious to finalize your adoption? Have some questions about filing adoption papers in Texas?
Whatever you need, adoption professionals are here to help. Contact a local attorney or your adoption agency for more information.
Or, if you haven’t yet started the adoption process and feel ready to adopt a baby in Texas, contact us today to be connected connect you to an experienced professional who can provide post-adoption services in Texas and can help you to secure your final adoption decree. Texas hopeful parents can easily complete the final step in the process under the guidance of experienced professionals.