Are you considering expanding your family through adoption in Texas? In addition to private agencies, you may be eligible to adopt through foster care. This may especially be an option to consider if you are interested in adopting an older child or multiple siblings.
Foster, Foster-to-Adopt, and Adopt Through Foster Care
You have three possible paths when looking to bring a child from Texas foster care:
- Foster parenting. You provide a temporary home for a child while they wait for permanent placement, whether they are able to reunite with their birth family or get adopted. If you are looking to become a foster parent, you should contact your local Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) office. Texas typically requires a foster parent certification.
- Foster to adopt. You can become a foster parent to potentially adopt the child if they are or become eligible for adoption.
- Adopting through foster care. Texas law does not require you to first foster a child before adopting them through foster care. If you are interested in providing a permanent home to a child in foster care right away, you can request a match with a child already eligible for adoption and who is in foster care. This type of adoption may also be referred to as a straight adoption from foster care.
Eligibility Criteria to Adopt in Texas
The requirements to adopt a child through foster care in Texas include:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a stable and sufficient income
- Agree to a complete standard background check and medical/financial review
- Show proof of marriage or divorce if applicable
- Submit relative and non-relative references
- Attend any requested parent training courses
- Obtain and maintain a first aid/CPR certification
Depending on whether you plan to foster or directly adopt, requirements may vary. The agency you choose to work with can walk you through the full list of requirements for your specific situation.
Adoption Requirements for Children in Texas
For a child to become adoptable in Texas foster care, their parental rights must be terminated. This can happen voluntarily if the biological parents relinquished them or involuntarily if a court decided that the parents did not perform their parental duties appropriately and could not keep custody of their child.
If you foster a child who is ineligible for adoption, an adult adoption may be possible after they turn 18 and officially leave foster care.
Financial Support to Adopt in Texas
Parents who adopt through foster care in Texas can often benefit from some financial assistance through state-funded subsidies. The exact amount you may receive depends on the specificities of your adoption such as the number of children you plan to adopt and whether they have a disability.
What to Expect When Adopting Through Foster Care
Contacting your local Department of Family and Protective Services is usually a helpful first step. They can recommend agencies that handle adoptions through foster care and share information on upcoming information meetings.
Attending an information meeting for prospective foster and adoptive parents can help you learn a lot about the requirements and process.
If you meet the eligibility criteria to adopt a child in Texas, you usually meet with DFPS staff members to discuss your situation and learn more about children coming into the Texan foster care system. You also need to choose a foster care agency to work with toward your adoption goals.
Completing and submitting the state application to become an adoptive parent and providing all the necessary supportive documents is a crucial step in the adoption process.
You can expect to go through a comprehensive home study afterward. This helps ensure that you can provide a stable and safe home to a child. Following a successful home study, you need to wait until the agency matches you with one or more children depending on how many you seek to adopt. It may take up to several months.
You generally meet the child several times before you and the agency believe this is a positive match and move forward with the next steps, including placing the child in your home. You can expect several follow-up visits from a social worker to ensure that all household members are adjusting positively.
The final step involves a court hearing that often happens about six months after the initial placement. A judge will issue a final decree of adoption, thus officially making your adopted child part of your family.
Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. Can Help You Navigate the Adoption Process in Houston
Working with a trusted adoption attorney can help you complete the process more efficiently. From discussing what your options are during an initial consultation to helping you fill out and submit all the necessary paperwork, attorney Cynthia B. Tracy can help you achieve your dream of adopting one or more children through foster care in Texas. She has over 30 years of family law experience and is Board-Certification in Family Law from The Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
We are here to address any questions or concerns you may have about any steps in the adoption process. For your convenience, our team can provide legal services in English and Spanish.
If you are looking for a compassionate adoption lawyer in Houston or its surrounding areas, contact Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. today at (281) 612-5443 to schedule a consultation!