Looking to Adopt in Amarillo, Texas?
The adoption process can be tough to navigate, especially when there are numerous legal considerations to keep in mind at every step. At the Law Office of Laura E. Copp, we can provide you the legal guidance you deserve to move forward with adoption and unite your family.
Legal Requirements for Adoption
The Department of Family and Protective Services in Texas (DFPS) requires that prospective adoptive parents, either single or married, must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be financially stable
- Be responsible and mature
- Complete an adoption application
- Share lifestyle information
- Provide references
- Consent to a home study
- Submit to a criminal background and child abuse check on all adults living in the household
As part of the adoption process, the prospective adoptive parent, their family unit, and their home must agree to a thorough vetting by a licensed child adoption evaluator chosen by a judge. This evaluator will assess the prospective adoptive parent(s) to ensure that adoption is in the best interests of the child. The evaluator will visit the home, speak to individuals concerning the potential adoptive parent’s character, and determine their ability to parent a child. Also note that the adoption evaluator will have access to all medical records, psychological records, psychiatric records, and school records of the prospective adoptive parents and the child.
Further, a prospective adoptive parent must also be subjected to a full criminal and background check conducted by the Department of Public Safety, and the results will be sent directly to the adoption evaluator and any temporary guardian appointed to represent the child.
Types of Adoption
It is important to note that there are different types of adoption in Texas, and they are all viable options if you meet the above requirements to adopt. The types of adoption you may consider include:
- Private Adoption – the biological parent’s and adoptive family both communicate and eventually agree on the terms.
- Child Protective Services (CPS) Adoption – the children are often involved because they have been through abuse or neglect or have been abandoned by their former guardians.
- International Adoption – the child comes from a foreign country, and parents are urged to learn more about the place of origin’s background, history, and cultural practices.
- Stepparent Adoption – in most cases, the biological parent must cooperate to terminate their parental rights so the stepparent can adopt the child of their spouse.
- Older Child Adoption – when the child is 12 years old or more, they must give consent for the adoption to proceed.
- Open Adoption – the biological and adoptive parents keep in contact throughout the child’s life, often done through pictures, letters, email, phone calls, texting, or in-person visits (decided by both parties via a contact agreement specifying the type and frequency of contact).
- Closed Adoption – the birth and adoptive parents do not meet or the identities remain anonymous.
Note that in the case of open adoption, the agreement is only legally enforceable in the state of Texas under certain circumstances.
Interstate Adoption Laws
In a case where adoption occurs across state lines, it will involve the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), which establishes uniform procedures for the placement of children in other states. If you are completing an interstate adoption, ICPC requires you and the child to remain in the child’s state of residence and/or birth until ICPC has approved the adoption. In order for ICPC to be approved, the state in which you are adopting your child will need to review your home study and background checks and ensure that the child will be placed in a safe environment.
Note that Texas has very specific requirements for the home study, so if your home study was completed in a different state you may need to submit additional documents before ICPC can be approved. After the child is placed with your family, there will be a period of supervision before the adoption is finalized. As part of the home study process, Texas typically requires 5 post-placement visits.
An Amarillo Adoption Attorney on Your Side
If you are looking to adopt in Amarillo, Texas, contact an experienced adoption lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Laura E. Copp, we go the extra mile to represent your case. The adoption process can be both complex and daunting, and it will be important to have a dedicated attorney on your side to guide you through the process.
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