Adoption is one of the greatest ways to become a parent. Learn how you can make your dream of becoming a parent a reality.
Have you wondered, “how does adoption in Texas work?” Passing by those beautiful bluebonnets each year with families posing for pictures, you wonder when you’ll be able to take a sweet family photo like that. The good news is, you have options available to you for becoming a parent when you are ready.
Have you considered becoming a parent through adoption? Many families in our world today have been brought together through adoption. Whether the adopted child is a step-child or a child from a completely different home, each child deserves a childhood full of love.
Adoption not only helps the children, but it also helps you as the adult who becomes a parent through this process.
What Is Adoption?
Adoption is a special way to create a family. In legal terms, adoption is the establishment of a legally recognized, lifelong relationship between adoptive parents and adoptee(s).
There are several ways adoption can take place. You can adopt a stepchild, family member, a child within the country, or a child outside of your home country. Some people even choose to adopt children through foster care placements.
Stepchildren or Relatives
Families change throughout the years and unfortunate circumstances sometimes occur. In the event that a child is left without one or both parents, a relative may adopt this child.
Additionally, there are cases when one of the child’s parents is no longer able to or no longer wishes to care for a child. In the event that this child develops a relationship with a step-parent, that step-parent may adopt the child to be legally theirs.
The best way to understand the adoption process of family members and stepchildren is through this guide.
Children all over the world face unfortunate circumstances, which leads them to need to be adopted by others. If you are interested in adopting a child through international means, here is a breakdown of what you can expect through international adoptions.
If you are looking to adopt a child in the United States, there are many things to consider beforehand. Domestic adoptions can be handled through an agency or privately.
The state in which you reside and the state in which you choose to adopt (if they are different) may have some differences you’ll need to be aware of. If you are choosing to adopt within the same state you reside, there may be fewer hiccups in the process.
Foster Care Adoption
Another way for you to understand or see if adoption is right for you is by providing care for children in need through foster care. Throughout the foster care process, you may find a child (or multiple children) needing permanent placement. Through the bond you have already created with them in your foster placement, this may be the perfect opportunity for you to adopt.
With foster adoption, the good news is much of your adoption process is already complete. There will be less information for you to have to provide at one time considering all the information you have to keep updated in order to have a foster home, to begin with.
Why Choose Adoption?
There are many reasons why couples or individuals choose to adopt. Whatever your reason is to choose adoption, make sure it comes from the heart! Adoption can be an overwhelming process. However, it is worth the journey.
If adoption is the best option for your family, consider doing your research on the requirements and paperwork needed to complete the process in your state. This will give you a heads up into what will be asked of you.
With this information, you’ll hopefully be able to obtain documents needed beforehand instead of waiting and prolonging your adoption application.
If you are considering adopting in Texas, you may ponder the question, “How does adoption in Texas work?” This guide will show you what you can expect in terms of the application process in Texas as well as the fees associated.
How Does Adoption in Texas Work?
In the state of Texas, there are nearly 4,000 children waiting to find their forever homes through adoption. The children vary in ages and include teenagers as well. Therefore, if you are looking to adopt a child in Texas, there are many children waiting for the opportunity to become part of your family.
How do you know if a Texas adoption is right for you? Learn more about the process of adopting through Texas and find out how you can begin growing your family.
Deciding to Adopt
What is the reason you have chosen to adopt a child? This question comes with serious thoughts and considerations. Many adopting parents do not make this decision lightly. Therefore, you should consider that adoption takes time, patience, and, above all, love.
Throughout the entire country, there are more than 117,000 children waiting for adoption. So, why choose to adopt a child from Texas? How does adoption in Texas work? States differ in terms of the requirements of the adoptive parents. Therefore, your decision to adopt from Texas will need to be considerate of those specific requirements.
Research Your Options
Through the state of Texas, there are three options to begin the process of adoption. Two of the options include working directly with the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The third option includes working with a private adoption agency that is contracted through DFPS.
If you are not a resident of Texas, it is recommended that you visit your state adoption website. Texas requires a current home study for any family looking to adopt a Texas child. Therefore, your home state will have to conduct a home study before the state of Texas will place a child with you.
Know the Requirements
The answer to the question, “How does adoption in Texas work?” can be found on the state of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website. The requirements to become an adoptive parent are as follows:
- Must be at least 21 years old and a responsible mature adult;
- Financially stable;
- Complete an application;
- Provide information about your background and lifestyle;
- Provide references (relative and non-relative);
- Show proof of marriage and/or divorce, if applicable;
- Participate in a home study which includes visits with all household members;
- Consent to a criminal history background check and an abuse/neglect check;
- Attend free training to learn about the issues associated with abused/neglected children.
In order to begin the application process of adopting through Texas, you must first attend an informal meeting where all your questions can be answered. This training is a group setting and is intended for interested parents to attend. At this meeting, you will be given information about the children in care and how adoption in Texas works.
After the meeting, if you are still interested in becoming an adoptive parent, a state employee who works directly with DFPS will provide you with an application.
Complete Required Training
The state of Texas utilizes the PRIDE Model of Practice training (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education). This competency-based training supports families in five categories:
- Protecting and nurturing children;
- Meeting children’s developmental needs and addressing their delays;
- Supporting relationships with birth families;
- Connecting children to safe, nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime (permanency); and,
- Working as a member of a professional team.
In total, this curriculum consists of 35 hours of training and is divided up into 14 steps. Some of the training is available online while others are in-person.
References provide the same value in the application process as they would in any job application. They give well-rounded information about you as an individual in both professional and personal settings.
References needed for the adoption process may not be from family members. However, they can be from a family friend, boss, co-worker, teacher, pastor, neighbor, etc. Three to five references are required for your application.
Pass Background Checks
Background checks are required for every person in your household who is over the age of 14. According to the Texas Family Code, background checks that are required include criminal history checks, a central registry check, and FBI fingerprints.
There is also a requirement for the state of Texas to complete child abuse and neglect clearances for each state and country any individual have lived in during the last five years.
For the duration of the adoption process, all background checks and other clearances must be no more than one year old and must remain up-to-date during the process.
Pass Home Study
Each state has a different method and requirements for passing a home study. However, the differences and methods do not waiver too much from one another. To ensure you are on the right track to completing the adoption process in your state, make sure you are reviewing state-specific requirements.
The following is information regarding how a home study in Texas is conducted. This information further answers the question, “How does adoption in Texas work?”.
Texas Home Study Process
The Texas home study process can seem a bit overwhelming. It can feel like an invasion of your privacy and personal life. However, consider the reasons for all aspects of the home study process.
The importance of a home study is to be able to accurately place children with families and homes that will benefit them and their future. Therefore, allowing such invasive measures can really get down to the specifics of adoptive applicants so that children are safe in the end.
1. Complete the online application and pay the fee:
This is the very first step in completing your home study. You will not be able to progress without having paid the application fee ($275). Additional fees are administered throughout the application process. However, this initial $275 must be paid before your application will be considered.
2. Upload the required documents to your online account:
This account will be created following your application and a $275 fee payment.
3. Background check clearances:
These must be completed prior to scheduling a home study.
4. In-home visit:
Typically, an adoption professional will schedule a visit to come out and observe you and the others living in your home. Additionally, this person will inspect the safety of your home and make any suggestions on how to meet Texas minimum state standards, if applicable.
The same person conducting your home visit will also take the time to interview all members of your household, including children. This gives the professional a deeper insight into your family dynamic, lifestyle, and will provide clarity on any necessary items from your application. This is also the last step in your home study process.
6. Home Study Updates:
If there are any major changes in your life such as job changes, marital status changes, or relocation, you will need to update this information. Also, your home study will be up for renewal every year.
After a child has been placed with you, a post-placement visit will take place. In Texas, there is a series of six post-placement visits that will occur after placement to help ensure the safety and comfort of the child.
These post-placement visits will also give you the opportunity to converse with your adoption specialist about any concerns or questions you might have.
The information provided may seem a bit overwhelming when considering how adoption in Texas works. However, consider why there are many rules and processes to follow. The safety of the child is of the utmost importance. The family who chooses to adopt is also a priority in the eyes of the adoption agency and within DFPS.
In order for an adoption placement to be successful, both the child and the adoptive parents must be a good fit together. Therefore, extensive research must be conducted in order to establish this connection.
Samantha Flores is the mom journaling the comical chaos of motherhood on Her Journal. She is a first-time parent to an incredible little boy. Her little family (three humans + three furbabies) lives in Northern California. Life is very busy! Samantha holds her Master of Arts degree in Education. In addition, she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology. She has many years of experience working in early childhood education as well as being a regulator of foster placement facilities such as foster homes, shelters, residential centers, group homes, and foster-to-adopt homes. Samantha’s mission is to provide helpful information to parents looking for answers to their parenting questions.