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What are the laws and requirements for adopting a child in Texas?

To be eligible to adopt a child in Texas, applicants must be:

  • At least 21 years old
  • Healthy enough to assume parental responsibility
  • Financially able to support the child
  • Willing to respect and encourage the child’s religious affiliation

All prospective Adoptive Parents must also complete an approved home study before a child may be placed into their home.

How much does it cost to adopt a child in Texas?

The cost to adopt a child in Texas may vary depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue, but Adoption Choices of Texas are permitted to pay for the following adoption-related expenses:

  • Attorney fees
  • Agency fees
  • Counseling services for the Birth Mother
  • Medical bills for the Birth Mother and child
  • Other necessary and reasonable living expenses of the Birth Mother

What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in Texas?

An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated. In Texas, it is illegal for any entity other than a licensed adoption agency to advertise that a person is seeking to adopt or to place a child for adoption in any public media.

What you need to know about placing your child for adoption in Texas?

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in Texas.

Who must consent to an adoption in Texas?

Consent to a Texas adoption must be in writing and given by the child’s legal guardian, also referred to as the managing conservator.

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Texas?

In Texas, consent is not necessary from a parent who:

  • Is unable to care for a child due to mental illness
  • Committed a crime that resulted in the birth of the child
  • Has voluntarily terminated their parental rights
  • Attempted abortion but the child survives
  • Has had their parental rights terminated for abandonment, neglect, abuse, or endangerment of the child

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Texas?

An affidavit for voluntary termination of parental rights may be signed 48 hours after the child is born by the parent forfeiting their rights. It must be signed before 2 witnesses and verified by a person who is authorized to take oaths.

The affidavit should state:

  • The name, age, and address of the parent relinquishing their parental rights
  • A description of any property owned by the child
  • A statement that the parent has been informed of their rights and duties
  • A statement that the consent is revocable, irrevocable after a certain amount of time, or irrevocable immediately
  • A statement that the relinquishment is in the child’s best interest
  • A statement that the parent terminating their rights does not have to financially support the child
  • A designation of the child’s new legal guardian

A man may give consent and disclaim any interest in the child at any time. It must be signed before 2 witnesses and verified by a person who is authorized to take oaths. This affidavit can include a statement that the man does not admit to being the father or having a sexual relationship with the Birth Mother.

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Texas?

In Texas, the legal guardian who consented to adoption may revoke their consent at any time before a court order granting the child’s adoption.

A relinquishment of parental rights that grants the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services or another licensed agency as the child’s legal guardian is irrevocable.

An affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights that fails to state that the relinquishment is irrevocable for a stated time is revocable only if the revocation is made before the 11th day after the date the affidavit is executed.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Texas?

A man is considered to be a child’s father and is entitled to parental rights if:

  • He is married to the Birth Mother and the child was born during their marriage
  • He is married to the Birth Mother and the child is born by the 301st day after the marriage is terminated by death, divorce, annulment, or declaration of infidelity
  • He lived with the child for the first 2 years of its life and represented to others that the child was his own
  • He married the child’s Birth Mother after she gave birth but voluntarily declared his paternity, and:
    • It is in a record filed with the bureau of vital statistics
    • He promised, in a record, to care for the child as his own
    • He lived with the child and Birth Mother for the first 2 years of the child’s life and represented to others that the child was his own

In Texas, a man who wishes to be notified of adoption proceedings or termination of parental rights for a child they may have father can register with the Texas Paternity Registry before the child is born or within 31 days of the child’s birth.

Home Study in Texas

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Texas are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

All prospective Adoptive Parents are subject to pass a home study inspection that ensures the family’s readiness to bring a child into their home. In Texas, the home study process includes:

  • A personal interview with each prospective Adoptive Parent
  • An evaluation of the home environment to ensure:
    • The safety and cleanliness
    • The installation of smoke detectors
    • Free of obvious hazards
    • All pets are vaccinated
    • If the adoptive home has a pool or other bodies of water, that there are plans in place for the child’s safety
  • An interview of each Adoptive Child in the home who is at least 4 years old, if any
  • An observation of each Adoptive Child in the home, if any
  • A name-based criminal background check and central registry check for:
    • Each prospective parent
    • Anyone 14 years or older living in the home
  • A fingerprint-based criminal background check for
    • Each prospective parent
    • Anyone 18 years or older living in the home

Who oversees a home study in Texas and who is included in it?

In Texas, anyone living in the home of the prospective Adoptive Parents will be included in the home study process and it may be conducted by a private entity, domestic relations office, state agency, or a court-appointed representative.

Why would my home study not be approved in Texas?

A home study in Texas may be denied if a prospective Adoptive Parent or other adult living in the home has committed any of the following misdemeanors or felonies:

  • Stalking
  • Public indecency
  • Robbery
  • Offenses against a person in the family
  • Failure to stop or report aggravated sexual assault of a child
  • Any offense in the past 10 years including:
    • Making firearms accessible to a child
    • Alcohol-related offenses
    • Those under the Texas Controlled Substances Act

A home study will also be denied approval if the applicant or other adult in the house fails the central registry for child abuse and neglect background check.

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Texas?

This issue is not addressed in the Texas’ statutes and regulations.

What are the home study requirements for adopting a child from another state?

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the state of Texas is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

 

Hoping to Adopt? Find more information about adopting in Texas here!

Unplanned Pregnancy and considering Adoption? Find more information about adoption in Texas here!

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