Adoption: Family By Love and By Law
Imagine a world where apartheid still divides South Africa. Where rock and roll is a musical oddity. Where flip phones are the most advanced way to communicate. This is just a taste of what the world might look like today without the adoption of Nelson Mandela, Bo Diddley, Steve Jobs, and millions of other children worldwide. And it’s one of the reasons why placing a child in the arms of a loving set of parents – related by choice, though not by birth – is one of our firm’s most distinct privileges.
Who Can Adopt?
Any adult over 21 may be eligible to adopt in Texas, including singles and married couples. However, final approval to be an adoptive parent depends on a number of factors, including:
- Your motivation for wanting to adopt
- You financial stability
- Your physical, mental, and emotional health
- Your childhood
- Your feelings about your own parents
- Any history of abuse or neglect
- The status of your current family relationships, including your relationship with your spouse or significant other and any children already living in your home
- Your opinions on discipline
- Your sensitivity toward birth families
- Your sensitivity toward abused or neglected children
- Your sensitivity toward socioeconomic, ethnic, cultural differences and ability to a child with such differences maintain his or her own ethnic identity.
Such determinations are made by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) through a “Home Study,” which is also known as a Pre-adoptive Home Screening. In addition to family and non-family references and background checks, the results of the home study is one of the key factors in being approved as an adoptive family. Once you have been approved by the DFPS, you will need to attend training courses, during which time you can be put on the wait list for an adoptive child
Why Do I Need An Adoption Attorney?
Adoption is not as easy as simply wanting a child or even being qualified to have a child. There is much paperwork involved, and the process can be complex, particularly if the child’s parents have not yet terminated their rights. Our office generally prefers to work with cases in which both parents voluntarily relinquish the right to their children; however even when both parents are willing, they must go through the process of terminating their parental rights through the courts, who are usually reluctant to process such a request until adoptive parents are waiting for the child. Such legal procedures go most smoothly with an experienced attorney who is familiar with the adoptive process.
Different types of adoption also may require processing different types and amounts of paperwork and adhering to different laws during the adoptive process. For example international, domestic, open, closed, public and private adoptions all follow different pathways toward helping a child join your family, as do adoptions involving unknown fathers, active duty members, children with Indian bloodlines, or children who will be crossing state lines. It’s essential to work with someone who has an intimate knowledge of state and federal law in regards to who can be adopted, when, and how to ensure that the adoption goes smoothly and without contest.
Legal Help For Your Adoption
If you are considering adoption, we at the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart congratulate you! This is truly one of the bright spots in our practice. The joy we receive by bringing a family together is only exceeded by the joy of the new family that is now together forever by love and by law.
Call us today to get your adoption underway at (817) 842-2336.