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Adoption Requirements in Texas: What You Need to Know

Common Questions About What It Takes to Adopt in TX

Whether you’re just starting to look into the possibility of adopting a child, or you’re ready to jump into the process, you may be uncertain of what it takes to adopt — and even more so, whether or not you meet those requirements to adopt a child in Texas.

You may have heard the misconception that strict requirements make it difficult to adopt. Yes, there are important requirements that prospective parents must meet in order to ensure children are placed into safe, loving and prepared homes. And yes, the adoption process is never easy — it’s emotionally and technically complex. However, with work, time and education, it can be very possible!

So, let’s look at the first question that many hopeful parents have:

What are the adoption requirements in Texas?

Every state will have its own adoption laws, which will include adoption eligibility requirements. Those requirements will vary based on the type of adoption you choose to pursue.

Your adoption professional or agency will also usually have some additional requirements, and those will vary somewhat from one professional to the next.

This may sound like a lot, but we’ll help answer some common questions regarding the adoption requirements you may need to meet:

Texas Adoption Requirements

So, what are the requirements for adoption in Texas? Let’s look at the different requirements for different types of adoption:

Domestic Infant Adoption

What are the requirements to adopt a baby in Texas?

You’ll first need to make sure that you meet the state-mandated requirements to adopt. In Texas, these state that “any adult may adopt a child,” providing that the correct methods of parental rights termination have been followed for the child’s biological parents.

However, you’ll need to contact your chosen domestic infant adoption professional to learn more about their individual Texas domestic adoption requirements.

These are in addition to the legal requirements set by the state about who can adopt in Texas, and they can vary from one professional to the next. We’ll cover these in greater detail below.

Foster Care Adoption

What are the requirements to adopt a child in Texas through foster care?

The Texas CPS adoption requirements are similar to most types of adoption. You’ll first need to meet a list of criteria (below) in order to be considered.

Foster adoption and Texas foster-to-adopt requirements state that you must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age, financially stable and responsible, and a mature adult.
  • Complete an application.
  • Share information regarding your background and lifestyle.
  • Provide relative and non-relative references.
  • Can be single, married, widowed, or divorced. Please show proof of marriage if you are married and/or proof of divorce if you are/were divorced and proof of spouse's death if widowed.
  • Agree to a home study, which includes visits with all household members and inspection of all parts of the home, grounds, and outbuildings.
  • Allow staff to complete a criminal history background check and an abuse/neglect check on all adults in the household. (Adults are people age 14 and older who live in or visit your household regularly.)
  • Attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children.

Remember that these are the base requirements. There will be more requirements to meet throughout the process of your home study, including:

  • Having adequate sleeping space.
  • Having no more than 6 children in the home, including your own children or children for whom you provide day care.
  • Agreeing to a nonphysical discipline policy.
  • Permitting fire, health and safety inspections of the home.
  • Vaccinating all pets and providing vaccination records.
  • Obtaining and maintaining CPR/First Aid Certification.
  • Obtaining TB testing as required by the local Health Department for household members.
  • Attending 20 hours or more of training each year.

International Adoption

What does it take to adopt a child in Texas when the child is from another country?

There are more requirements involved in international adoption, because you not only have to meet the requirements in the U.S. and through your professional, you also have to meet the adoptive parent requirements in the country you hope to adopt from, which will vary.

So, once you have met the requirements established by your international adoption professional, everything will need to be notarized and then sent to the sending country’s adoption department for review. If they also approve you to adopt, then you can move forward. Learn more about this process here.

However, the base requirements you’ll need to meet for an international adoption are:

  • You must be an adult.
  • You may adopt jointly as a married couple.
  • You may adopt individually as a single person.
  • You must complete the appropriate application with the U.S. Department of State.

Agency Adoption Requirements

What do I need to adopt a child in Texas through an adoption agency?

We’ve mentioned that every agency will have its own additional requirements for adoptive parents. Most agencies have similar requirements, and they’ll almost all have requirements regarding:

  • Age
  • The verification that the hopeful parent is healthy enough to care for a child
  • The verification that you’re financially stable enough to support a child
  • Marital status, or requirements on how long you’ve been in your current relationship
  • Completing the home study (which includes home visits, interviews, background checks and more)
  • And more

Contact your adoption agency to learn more about their individual requirements.

Common Questions About the Requirements to Adopt a Child in Texas

Many hopeful parents will have specific questions about who can adopt a child in Texas, especially if they’re unsure of whether or not something may prevent them from adopting. Hopefully, we’ll have answered your question below:

Can you adopt with mental health disorders in Texas?

There are no state of Texas adoption requirements regarding adopting with a mental health disorder. However, in your home study, your doctors will need to confirm that you are physically, mentally and emotionally able to raise a child at this point in your life.

If your mental health is being looked after by a doctor, and that doctor confirms they believe you’re ready to adopt, then you will usually be able to move forward.

Can a felon adopt a child in Texas?

If you have a criminal record, but hope to meet the adoption qualifications in Texas, you may have wondered, “Can felons adopt in Texas?” The answer is: That depends.

Everyone who hopes to adopt must complete a home study. Background checks are a standard part of that process. We encourage you to talk with your adoption professional about any criminal history when you first submit your initial application.

Prior offenses are examined by a judge, and the person will be approved to adopt on a case-by-case basis. Typically, one-time, non-violent offenses will not prevent you from adopting.

You’ll need to talk with your adoption professional honestly about your felony offense. They’ll be able to give you a better idea of whether or not adoption is possible for you.

Do they drug test for adoption in Texas?

“Do they drug test parents in Texas adoption?” is a fairly common question. Sometimes the prospective birth and adoptive parents are drug tested as part of the adoption screening process, but that will depend on your adoption professional. Many adoption professionals do not drug screen prospective birth mothers.

Pregnant women are drug tested when they’re admitted to the hospital for labor, to ensure that there are no potential drug interactions with the prescribed pain medications. However, this is standard hospital policy, unrelated to the adoption. Testing positive for substances will not affect a woman’s ability to place her child for adoption.

If you are pregnant and considering placing your baby for adoption, it’s important to be fully honest with your adoption professional about any potential exposure to alcohol, smoke or drugs, for your safety and for the safety of the baby. Remember that your adoption professional can help you find an adoptive family that is ready to raise a child with drug exposure, so exposure to substances won’t prevent you from choosing adoption or get you into any trouble.

Prospective adoptive parents, on the other hand, are carefully screened before being cleared to adopt. Adoption professionals never want to place a child into a home where drug or alcohol use is a problem.

Can a sex offender adopt in Texas?

No. The home study requires a background check, and while a minor non-violent offense will generally not disqualify a person from adopting, a sex offense usually will, especially if the offense involved a minor.

Is there an adoption age limit in Texas? At what age can you adopt a child in Texas?

There are no minimum or maximum age requirements in Texas within state laws. It only states that you must be an adult.

However, your adoption professional (whether you pursue domestic, foster care, or international adoption) will likely have their own set of age requirements. So, you’ll need to check the requirements of the professional you intend to work with to learn more, especially since some professionals will sometimes make exceptions in certain cases.

Are there education requirements in Texas to adopt a child?

No. You aren’t required to meet a specific level of education in order to adopt, according to Texas state adoption requirements.

However, prospective birth parents may prefer to choose adoptive families who have more education, so some adoption professionals may have some form of education requirement.

You will always be required to show that you’ve educated yourself about the adoption process and about raising an adopted child.

What are the financial requirements for adoption in Texas?

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be wealthy to adopt.

The income requirements for adoption in Texas will vary, but most adoption professionals will just ask that you can verify financial stability and a source of income. This is often confirmed through tax documents or financial statements. Income requirements to adopt a child in Texas are there to ensure you’re able to meet the basic needs of a child in your care.

Can unmarried couples adopt in Texas?

Yes. There are no Texas laws prohibiting unmarried couples from adopting, but there are specific requirements regarding the termination of parental rights in situations like stepparent adoptions, so refer to the state’s laws here.

Again, remember that your adoption professional will likely have requirements regarding marital status and/or the length of your relationship.

Can LGBTQ partners adopt in Texas?

Yes. There are no laws prohibiting same-sex couples or LGBTQ individuals from adopting in Texas.

However, remember that individual adoption professionals (including Texas foster care providers) are legally allowed to refuse services to hopeful parents due to religious reasons. It’s important that you do your research to make sure that you work with an adoption professional that is known to welcome LGBTQ individuals and couples.

What Does it Take to Adopt a Child in Texas?

Beyond the list of legal requirements, what do you need to adopt a child in Texas? The adoption process takes someone who is flexible, fully informed and organized. As a prospective parent, you must also be excited and ready to welcome and love your child!

A good adoptive parent must possess the following criteria to adopt a child in Texas:

  • A clear understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood: Have you taken the time to read, listen and learn about all of the benefits and challenges of raising a child, especially an adopted child?
  • A plan for the financial costs associated with the adoption process: Each type of adoption has a different cost, because there are different processes and needs to consider. Again, you don’t need to be wealthy to adopt, but you do need to be prepared for these costs and have an understanding of where that money is going.
  • The appropriate health for the demands of parenting: You don’t need to be perfect to meet the qualifications for adoption in Texas! But you do need to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy enough to care for a child.

Adoption isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. While the qualifications to adopt a child in Texas can seem like a frustrating deterrent to some, the adoption criteria in Texas are one of the most important ways to ensure the safety, health and happiness of children. We hope that you understand why these requirements are necessary and embrace them as the important protective measures they are.

Connect with Adoption Professionals

Want to see if you meet the qualifications to adopt in Texas? Contact an adoption professional now to find out if you’re eligible to adopt in Texas, and to learn more about how to start the process.