If you are considering adoption in Texas, there are a few laws you should know about. These laws apply to prospective birth parents and adoptive parents alike, and they only scratch the surface of everything you need to know about adoption. Before putting your child up for adoption or adopting a child, you should always speak to an attorney. In Texas, adoption agencies are also a crucial part of the adoption process.
Keep reading to learn more.
“Advertising” for Independent Adoptions May Be Illegal
Researching for adoption may be difficult if you do not have an adoption agency on your side. This is because “advertising” for adoption is illegal for both birth parents and adoptive parents in Texas. That’s right, only licensed adoption professionals can create advertising campaigns on behalf of those seeking adoption.
If you want to adopt without an adoption agency, you will need to work closely with an experienced lawyer, so you do not break any laws while looking for a child to adopt.
You Can’t Buy a Baby
The Texas Family Code does not allow prospective birth mothers to be paid in exchange for the placement of a child. Still, hopeful adoptive parents may assist the birth mother with her prenatal care and all expenses related to pregnancy and childbirth. Similarly, an adoptive family may help the birth mother with her living expenses to relieve any financial stress surrounding the pregnancy.
Adoptive parents may pay for the birth mother’s rent, bills, and groceries, but they may not incentivize placement with additional money, favors, or gifts. Additionally, the birth mother will not have to repay the adoptive parents for any expenses they covered – even if she decides to raise her own child.
If you want to help the mother of your potential child, financially, you should work with an adoption agency or a seasoned attorney to protect your interests and avoid breaking the law.
Home Studies Are Required
Texas laws allow any adult to adopt – there is no minimum age or age limit as long as the individual who wishes to adopt is over 18. Potential parents do not have to be married, and same-sex couples have the same right to adoption as straight couples.
Nevertheless, all prospective parents (except stepparents in some cases) must complete a home study. During a home study, the court will consider the best interest of the child, conduct personal interviews, evaluate home environments, perform criminal background checks, and prepare families for parenting an adopted child. Even after the home study, caseworkers may supervise the child’s placement into the home and evaluate how well the child and adoptive family members are adjusting to the new arrangement.
Everything from your income to criminal record to mistakes on an application can cause the state of Texas to withhold approval, so you should have a lawyer on your side during the home study process.
Parental Rights Must Be Terminated
Although any minor can be adopted, children are not eligible for adoption until parental rights are terminated. Birth parents may choose to terminate their rights willingly, or the court can take away one or both parents’ parental rights (usually in cases of abuse, abandonment, or neglect).
Even in stepparent adoptions, the parent who is not married to the stepparent must terminate their parental rights.
Further, all children 12 years of age or older must consent to the adoption!
Adoption Isn’t Easy
Okay, this one isn’t a law, but at The Springer Law Firm, it’s our neighborly duty to let you know that adopting a child isn’t easy. That being said, adoption is one of the most rewarding ways you can grow your family, and parenthood is on the list of the most fulfilling experiences people can have!
If you want to adopt, the key to success is hiring an adoption professional. You can choose an adoption agency, or if you want more privacy and control over the process, you can retain an adoption attorney throughout the entire process.
Our law firm can also help birth parents who want to make the courageous decision to place their child with an adoptive family.
No matter what your situation, we encourage you to give us a call at (281) 990-6025 or request a consultation online.
With over 85 years of collective legal experience on our side, we can answer all your questions and find a solution that works for you and your family.