The final step in the Texas adoption process is adoption finalization. This is a time for celebration; your child is now officially a permanent and legal member of your family!
Before Texas adoption finalization occurs and the final decree of adoption is issued, a few things will need to be completed first:
- Your child’s birth parents have issued their consent to the adoption with their lawyer present, effectively terminating their parental rights (Note: birth mothers must wait at least 48 hours after the birth of their child in order to offer their consent to adoption in Texas)
- You’ve complied with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and/or the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), if applicable
- Your Texas home study professional has completed the required number of post-placement in-home visits
Your Adoption Choices of Texas adoption specialist will be in touch with you about your adoption finalization hearing, which is scheduled several months after placement. We’ll let you know if there’s any additional paperwork that you need to complete, and when the adoption hearing is scheduled for. Texas adoptions are handled in your local district court.
What You Can Expect at Your Texas Adoption Finalization Hearing
An adoption finalization hearing is when a judge issues the final decree of adoption and the Texas adoption process is officially completed. This is a cause for celebration; families often invite family and friends to the hearing, throw a party, or have a photographer take some photos. One thing to consider well in advance is who will be at the courthouse with you? Find out if there is a limit to the number of people that can be in the courtroom. Also consider, (with an open adoption) will you ask the birth family to participate in the day at all, either at court or afterwards?
The TX adoption finalization hearing itself is short, and usually lasts less than an hour. It sometimes only lasts about twenty minutes or so. Here’s what happens in a typical Texas adoption finalization hearing:
- You will be sworn in before the judge, along with your adoption attorney and sometimes your social worker
- You’ll answer some questions about why you wanted to adopt, your ability to provide your child with a safe and loving home and other questions similar to those asked in your Texas adoption home study
- The judge concludes with any final questions or statements for you or your social worker, and then signs the final decree of adoption
- Your family and the judge may take a group photo with the final adoption decree, if you like
After that, your child’s adoption is officially finalized and the Texas adoption process is completed.
After the Final Decree of Adoption is Issued in Texas
Following a Texas adoption finalization, you’ll be able to file for an amended birth certificate and your child’s social security card. Remember, if you ever have any questions, want help facilitating your ongoing communication with your child’s birth family, or need support, you can always contact Adoption Choices of Texas for help.
Your adoption finalization day will be an emotional and beautiful day that you will always remember!! If you’d like to share your finalization story or photos with us, we’d love to share them on our blog and social media!!