The Legal Process
In Texas, adoption is usually a two-step process. First the birth parents’ rights must be terminated through a court proceeding by a judge’s order. Then, final adoption can occur, usually about six months after the child comes into your home.
Texas law requires an “adoption evaluation” in all adoption cases, including stepparent or relative adoptions. In most cases, you will need to have a pre-placement evaluation done before the child is placed in your home and post-placement evaluation done after the child comes to live with you. However, there are a few exceptions where the entire evaluation can be done after the child is in the home.
Often with stepparent or relative adoptions, the child has been in your home for some time and in such cases, it is common to join the termination of parental rights case with the final adoption.
Finding a Birth Mother
As an adoptive parent, you have several options when it comes to locating an expectant mother. Some choose to work with a private adoption agency. Others choose to work with CPS and its foster-to-adopt or adoption programs. Under Texas law, only licensed child-placing agencies (including CPS as well as private agencies) can “match” adoptive families with expectant mothers. However, some adoptive parents locate an expectant mother on their own, usually through word-of-mouth and family and friends. A word of caution, if you choose not to work with an agency, then you must not provide the expectant mother with any financial assistance (not even $20 for gas or a gift card for groceries or maternity clothes) as it is a felony under Texas law to do so, except for medical, legal or counseling expenses related to the pregnancy and adoption plan.
Call Jenny for a consultation to discuss your options or for assistance with your own unique adoption plan.