Adoption In Texas
Adopting a child seems like an act of goodwill to most people that should not be too complicated since a parent or parents are simply seeking to provide a loving home to a child without parents. While many parents may have the best intentions, the truth is that adoption can still involve a series of rigid requirements that make the process very complicated.
Numerous regulations will have to be complied with during an adoption, and there can be a multitude of factors that can create problems for unsuspecting parents. When the adoption process is completed successfully, however, it can often be one of the most rewarding journeys to have taken.
“At The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize that each case is uniquely different.”
Houston Adoption Attorney
If you are hoping to adopt a child in the greater Houston area, you do not want to be attempting to handle the many requirements by your lonesome. The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, has years of experience helping people all over Harris County and surrounding areas create happy families through the adoption process.
Call 281-973-0431 or contact us online to let our firm discuss your case with you and help answer all of the questions you have about adopting. We are aware of the many unexpected challenges people face during adoption and can help prepare you so you do not have to deal with any unexpected surprises.
Texas Adoption Laws
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services states that prospective adoptive parents can be either single or married and must:
● Be at least 21 years of age, financially stable, and responsible mature adults,
● Complete an application (staff will assist you, if you prefer),
● Share information regarding their background and lifestyle,
● Provide relative and nonrelative references,
● Show proof of marriage and/or divorce (if applicable),
● Agree to a home study which includes visits with all household members,
● Allow staff to complete a criminal history background check and an abuse/neglect check on all adults in the household, and
● Attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children.
Texas Family Code § 162.001 establishes that, subject to the requirements for standing to sue in Chapter 102 of the Texas Family Code, an adult can petition to adopt a child who may be adopted. A child residing in Texas can be adopted if:
● The parent-child relationship as to each living parent of the child has been terminated or a suit for termination is joined with the suit for adoption;
● The parent whose rights have not been terminated is presently the spouse of the petitioner and the proceeding is for a stepparent adoption;
● The child is at least two years old, the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to one parent, the person seeking the adoption has been a managing conservator or has had actual care, possession, and control of the child for a period of six months preceding the adoption or is the child ’s former stepparent, and the nonterminated parent consents to
● The adoption; or
● The child is at least two years old, the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to one parent, and the person seeking the adoption is the child ’s former stepparent and has been a managing conservator or has had actual care, possession, and control of the child for a period of one year preceding the adoption. Voluntary termination of parental rights is generally the simplest way to complete an adoption in Texas, with the birth parents voluntarily relinquishing their parental rights. Courts will frequently rule that the voluntary termination of parental rights is in the best interest of children.
Some adoption cases, however, may involve involuntary termination of parental rights and these cases can be far more complicated. In such cases, a court will have to find by clear and convincing evidence that terminating the parental rights of the birth parents is in the child’s best interest. Common reasons that parental rights are involuntarily terminated include parents who abandoned children, parents who did not support children, parents who endangered children, parents who engaged in criminal conduct, or parents who are otherwise unfit to be parents.
Under Texas Family Code § 107.153, a court must order the performance of an adoption evaluation to evaluate each party who requests termination of the parent-child relationship or an adoption in a suit for:
● Termination of the parent-child relationship in which a person other than a parent may be appointed managing conservator of a child; or
● An adoption.
The adoption evaluation must include an evaluation of the circumstances and the condition of the home and social environment of any person requesting to adopt a child who is at issue in the suit. The court can appoint a qualified individual, a qualified private entity, or a domestic relations office to conduct the adoption evaluation, and the costs of an adoption evaluation are paid by the prospective adoptive parent.
Most adoptions will involve a series of evaluations, studies, and reports. When you are adopting, you should be prepared for personal interviews, evaluations of your home, observations of the child in your home, assessments of the child interacting with you, and reviews of your criminal records.
Texas Family Code § 162.009 establishes that a court cannot grant an adoption until the child has resided with the petitioner for not less than six months, but the court can waive the residence requirement if the waiver is in the best interest of the child. Under Texas Family Code § 162.010, the written consent of a managing conservator to the adoption must be filed unless the managing conservator is the petitioner. The court can waive the requirement of consent by the managing conservator if the court finds that the consent is being refused or has been revoked without good cause, although a hearing on the issue of consent must be conducted by the court without a jury. A child 12 years of age or older must consent to the adoption in writing or in court, although the court can waive this requirement if it would serve the child’s best interest.
Types Of Adoption Cases
Adoptions may be closed or open. A closed adoption is one in which no identifying information is shared between the birth family and the adoptive family, while an open adoption may allow for communication between the birth parents, adoptive parents and the child being adopted.
Different kinds of adoption might include children who are currently living in foster care and whose birth parents have already have had parental rights terminated. Post-adopt cases involve children placed in a home as a foster child with hopes of being adopted legally. Infant adoption or independent adoption may be handled through a public or private agency, although there can be other facilitators.
Other common kinds of adoption include:
● Agency adoption
● Stepparent adoption
● International adoption
● Interstate adoption
● Foster child adoption
● Infant adoption
● Relative adoption
● Same-sex adoption
● Adult adoption
There is no one best kind of adoption, as each case will depend on the prospective adoptive parents and what will best suit their own needs.
“We Fight For Meaningful Results To Protect Your Rights”
Ikaha M. Sparrow
Texas Adoption Resources
Paying and Receiving Child Support – Texas Attorney General – Visit the Attorney General website to learn more about how to pay child support, how to receive child support, and how to get back on track. The website notes that while payments are not made via Child Support Interactive (CSI), it can still be your tool to view payment history, learn more information about your case, and keep your contact info updated. The CSI has a custodial parent login and noncustodial parent login, but it also allows you to apply for services, pay online, see important notices, and submit an attorney payment record request.
General Information | Child Custody and Support | Texas State Law Library – View this online guide to state law, books, and other resources relating to child support in Texas. The Parent-Child Relationship section has links to specific sections of the Texas Family Code and also information about child custody & conservatorship, joint managing conservators rights and responsibilities, and sole managing conservator and possessory conservator – rights and responsibilities. The Original Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship section covers frequently asked questions and also has links to Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship” (SAPCR or sap-sir) forms. There are also multiple e-books.
Contact An Adoption Lawyer In Houston Today
Are you hoping to adopt a child in the Houston area but have concerns about how difficult the process might be for you? You are right to question how easy adoption might be, and The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, can help walk you through each and every step of the adoption process so you are able to become parents as quickly as possible with as little obstruction and difficulty as is allowed.
You can have our firm take the time to sit down with you and go over all of the details of your planned adoption by calling 281-973-0431 or contacting us online to receive a completely free initial consultation. Adoption can be a challenging but not impossible process, and The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, can make sure that you are able to ultimately bring a child into your home to call your own and begin your new family life.