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Guiding Prospective Adoptive Parents Through Texas Adoptions

Are you dreaming of adding to your family through the process of legal adoption? Sralla Family Law PLLC has experienced, skilled Texas adoption attorneys to assist you in this very important, life-changing process. So, contact our experienced, proven lawyers to handle your adoption in San Antonio, Bexar County or the surrounding communities.

The Basics Of Adoption In Texas

There are various categories of adoption allowed in the state of Texas, including:

  • Private adoptions: Adoptions handled privately without the intervention of an adoption agency
  • Agency adoptions: Adoptions through a licensed adoption agency
  • Domestic adoptions: Adoptive parents adopt a child from the United States
  • International adoptions: The child being adopted here in the United States is born and actually lives in a foreign country
  • Open adoptions: The birth parents and adoptive parents know each other’s identities and continue to maintain contact with each other after the adoption is completed
  • Anonymous adoptions: The birth parents are not allowed to learn the identity of the adoptive parents
  • Designated adoptions: The adoptive parents designate an expectant mother and seek to adopt her unborn child
  • Stepparent and relative adoptions: A subcategory of private adoptions. In this category of adoption, a stepparent or relative close to the child being adopted is the adoptive parent.

Each type of adoption requires the termination of the birth parents’ rights and a pre-adoptive home screening and post-placement report. Whichever type of adoption you are seeking, our family lawyers can provide quality legal representation. We enable your adoption to progress smoothly and efficiently through the procedural hurdles required to finalize an adoption in Texas.

Is Private Adoption Right For Me?

A private adoption proceeds without the assistance or involvement of a licensed adoption agency. These adoptions generally involve a birth mother relinquishing her child directly to the adoptive parents. In some instances, they involve a stepparent adopting their spouse’s child or a relative adopting a niece, nephew or sibling. Texas law requires that the adoptive parents’ identities be made known to the birth parents. This is in contrast to some agency adoptions, where the adoptive parents may remain anonymous.

In a private adoption setting, hiring the right attorney matters. You need an adoption lawyer with sufficient experience to ensure that all the proper papers and forms are filed, that all the prerequisites to adoption are met and that the procedural waters of the court system are navigated effectively and efficiently. We have substantial experience handling even the most complex adoption cases with great success.

How Agency Adoptions Work

In an agency adoption, the agency places the child directly with the adoptive parents after interviewing and thoroughly vetting their abilities and fitness. The identities of the birth parents may remain confidential or may be disclosed. Adoptive parents adopting through an agency may also be allowed to provide living expenses for the birth mother as well as legal, medical and counseling services. Whether you elect to proceed through an agency or through private channels, it is important to have an experienced litigator and adoption attorney by your side. Our San Antonio adoption lawyers’ experience and documented success in the courtroom enable me to provide top-notch services for our clients.

What To Know About Domestic And International Adoptions

Domestic adoptions are when the adoptive parents and the baby or child reside in the United States. Obviously, domestic adoptions can be processed privately or through agency channels.

Adopting a child from a foreign country – or, international adoption – is handled through adoption agencies but can also be processed as private adoption. Texas law, as recently amended, provides for recognition of foreign adoption decrees in Texas courts. International adoptions are often finalized overseas, and it is the desire of adoptive parents to have the adoption decree recognized in their home state. We will guide you through this foreign decree recognition process.

Considering Open Versus Anonymous Adoptions

An open adoption is one in which the adoptive parents know the identity of the birth parents and maintain some measure of contact with them. In a private adoption setting, the parties can determine the amount and nature of the contact between the adoptive and birth parents as the child grows older.

Anonymous adoptions are a subset of agency adoptions. The adoptive parents know virtually nothing or very little about the identity of the birth parents. Typically, adoptive parents may learn only the most generic facts about the adoptive parents. In today’s world, however, many agencies combine the best of both categories by allowing adoptive parents and birth parents to meet to discuss goals, visions and philosophies applicable to the adopted child’s future without sharing names or addresses. Agencies utilize this meeting as part of the process of finding a good match between adoptive parents and the birth family of the child. Anonymous adoptions must go through the Texas Department of Human Services or a licensed adoption agency.

Facilitating Designated Adoptions In Texas

A designated adoption is one where prospective adoptive parents locate and identify a pregnant woman for the purpose of adopting her child. Designated adoption can proceed either through an agency or a private adoption process. Designated adoptions may be open or anonymous. Among the advantages of allowing an agency to oversee a designated adoption is the fact that the parties will have the full range of agency resources at their disposal. In addition, if the adoptive parents back out midway through the process or a social worker vetoes them, the agency can operate to identify other prospective parents to step into the shoes of adoptive parents.

Among the disadvantages is the difficulty the parties have in locating each other for purposes of a designated adoption. After locating a birth mother willing to relinquish her child to adoption, adoptive parents are typically so eager to complete the process and become parents that they often agree to whatever demands the birth mother makes, only to renege on such demands after the adoption is completed and the adoptive parents are thinking more clearly. Moreover, purported contracts between birth mothers and adoptive parents often do not withstand scrutiny in court. They often have little or no bearing on the finalization of the adoption.

Agencies that assist with designated adoptions also reserve the right to refuse adoption to prospective parents who are clearly not qualified to adopt or where there exist other valid reasons to reject the adoptive parents’ application. This is typically directly related to a negative home study report that reveals something inappropriate for adoption about the prospective parents. On the other hand, if the home study is favorable to the adoptive parents and the court approves them, there is little the birth mother can do to reverse the process if she changes her mind late in the process.

When Stepparents And Relatives Adopt

Stepparent adoption involves a scenario whereby a stepparent moves to adopt their spouse’s child, who has been living with the adoptive parent for at least six months. This process could also be executed by a relative, e.g., an aunt, uncle, older sibling or grandparent, of the child to be adopted.

Our Texas adoption attorneys’ years of experience handling stepparent adoption make a tangible difference for our clients. Through experience and proven results, we have developed a manner of processing stepparent adoption cases that is effective and efficient. This is of vital importance to adoptive parents seeking to execute an adoption because any procedural misstep can cost crucial time for the client and, in some cases, threaten the adoption process itself.

The Answers You Want About Adoption

How much does it cost to adopt in Texas?

The cost of an adoption in Texas generally ranges from $3,000.00 to $5,000.00, depending on the complexity of the case and the extent to which the adoption is contested. As with all estimates, the range may vary, particularly if a trial is involved.

How do I adopt a child in San Antonio, Bexar County or elsewhere in Texas?

You can either visit an adoption agency or a lawyer. The process involves filing a petition to adopt the child or children, coupled with a petition to terminate the rights of the biological parent(s). Then, you must hire a social worker or counselor to conduct a pre-adoptive screening of your home, and assuming everything checks out, the court will approve the adoption.

How much does it cost to adopt a foster child in Texas?

The cost of adopting a foster child in Texas generally ranges from $3,000.00 to $5,000.00. Similar to the cost of adopting a child or stepchild who is not a foster child, the range may vary depending on the complexity of the case and the extent to which the adoption is contested.

How do I adopt a baby in Texas?

You can either visit an adoption agency or a lawyer. The process involves filing a petition to adopt the child or children, coupled with a petition to terminate the rights of the biological parent(s). Then, you must hire a social worker or counselor to conduct a pre-adoptive screening of your home, and assuming everything checks out, the court will approve the adoption.

Is it hard to adopt in Texas?

In most cases, the answer is no, although the adoption process can be more difficult when a party contests the adoption. This most often occurs when a biological parent who may have abandoned the child, or failed to financially support it, does not agree to voluntarily relinquish his/her parental rights to the child(ren).

How long is the waitlist for adoption?

It takes about a year to adopt a child. As with any legal process, the estimate may vary depending on the complexity of the facts involved and the extent to which anyone challenges the adoption.

Can you pick the age of a foster child?

The answer is yes, generally speaking. You can pick your preference for the age and gender of the child you wish to adopt. If you are looking to foster the child first, you can state your preference for age and gender, but you cannot necessarily choose the specific individual child.

Is there any way to adopt a baby for free?

Yes. This is most easily achieved through foster care adoption. In some of these cases, you may be asked to pay upfront filing fees, which are payable to the court. These are typically reimbursable at the end of the process.

How long does it take to become a foster parent in Texas?

This process typically takes about six months, on average. This is the amount of time generally required for the interview, screening and background check processes.

What will disqualify you from adopting a child?

A person cannot qualify for adopting a child if they or another person residing in the home has been convicted of a felony involving a crime against children, such as abuse, neglect, child pornography or similar offenses.

How many children are waiting for adoption in Texas?

There were approximately 6,000 children waiting for adoption in Texas as of March 2022.

What are the qualifications to adopt a baby?

In order to adopt a baby in Texas, you must be at least 21 years old, physically healthy, be able to pass a comprehensive criminal background check, be able to provide for the child financially and, if married, have been married for at least two years.

Schedule YourAdopti on Consultation Today

Contact Sralla Family Law PLLC to set an appointment with a successful, experienced San Antonio adoption attorney today. Please call 210-600-9565 or send us an email to schedule your initial consultation.