What Should I Expect with the Child Adoption Process in Texas?
Adopting a child can be absolutely confusing. There are many steps to the adoption process, and it can be difficult to keep track of when you need to file what and how long the process should take. However, there are some things you should expect from the outset.
You should expect that adopting a child will take quite some time. You should also expect to be scrutinized every step of the way since agencies only want to place children with parents who they believe are capable of handling adoption. You should also expect a certain level of expense, as well as one of the most famous parts of the adoption process: a home study.
An experienced Dallas adoption attorney can help walk you through the whole adoption process and represent you throughout your case. Call The Queenan Law Firm for a free case evaluation today. Our number is (817) 476-1797.
Steps to Expect When Adopting a Child in Texas
When adopting a child in Texas, there are several steps in the process.
Deciding on the Type of Adoption
The adoption process is often quite different depending on the child you are adopting and where you are adopting them from. For instance, adopting your spouse’s child as a stepparent uses a very different adoption process compared to adopting a child from overseas.
There are typically differences in adopting from any of the following types of systems:
- Adopting from a public agency
- Adopting from a private agency
- Adopting from foster care
- Adopting from an agency in Texas
- Adopting from an agency in another state
- Adopting from another country (international adoption)
- Adopting a stepchild
- Adopting a child directly from someone you know
It is important to do your research on your chosen method of adoption and to speak with an attorney about the specifics of that process. For instance, you might spend more time interfacing with the agency than sitting in a courtroom when you adopt from an agency in Texas. In contrast, you might spend more time in court when adopting someone like a sibling, cousin, or niece/nephew from an unsafe home.
Before you can be approved to adopt a child in Texas, you will typically have to undergo a home study. In this process, a licensed professional will come out to your house and inspect everything to make sure that your home is a safe, supportive place to raise a child.
For parents who already have children and are seeking to adopt another one – or stepparents seeking to adopt their stepchildren – the home study likely will not be too difficult. Home studies look to see that the premises are clean and safe, which will likely be the case if there are other kids in your home.
Home studies will also involve questions about you, your spouse, and others in the household. The caseworker will often investigate your lifestyle, and they will interview you about your history with childcare and your ability to meet the physical and mental/emotional needs of an adopted child. This process is as much a study of you as it is of your physical home.
From the time you apply for a home study, it can take 2-6 weeks for the home study to take place. Follow-ups before approval and check-ups after placement might be required, so your initial home study might not be the end of it. Many agencies are constantly overbooked, so a home study could take longer if you live in a high-population area.
Home studies are typically done first before you can get on a list for adoption.
Usually conducted as part of a home study, background checks are required as part of an adoption. In general, caseworkers look for crimes involving violence, abuse, or drug use during background checks. It is possible that minor crimes in your past could hurt your chances of adopting, so it is important to consult with an attorney about any problems that might come up during your adoption background check.
A background check usually does not take long to complete and will typically finish before a home study. It is also usually completed as part of the home study and might not require an extra step from you. Talk to your caseworker and your Houston adoption attorney for help.
Waiting for Placement
If you are adopting through an agency and need to be matched or have a child placed with you, this process could take a long time. Waitlists are long, especially for many international adoption agencies from high-demand adoption countries. If you are adopting a child you know, such as a sibling or a cousin, this part of the process might not apply to you. However, you may still face long wait times as the court processes your adoption case.
Expected Costs of Adopting in Texas
Adoptions can be expensive. The cost is usually tied to the type of adoption you pursue, with international adoptions being the most expensive.
When adopting, you should be able to find out information about the specific costs in your case ahead of time so that you can budget for them. Note that it usually costs money for home studies, background checks, waitlist placement, and final adoption.
For interstate adoptions or international adoptions, you will likely face additional travel and hotel costs. Many countries require international adoptive parents to be present in their country when applying for adoption or picking up the child, so be prepared for these additional costs in your case.
Call Our Texas Adoption Lawyers for Help with Your Case
There can be many surprises in an adoption case, so it is important to work with a Fort Worth adoption attorney who can prepare you for each step and every expense in your case. For a free case review with the adoption lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm, contact us at (817) 476-1797.