One of the many ways to expand your family is to give a foster child a loving home where they can thrive. Many have come from difficult environments and don’t know what a loving home looks like.
The Texas foster care system works to place children into stable and loving homes when they’ve been removed from their homes. Foster care helps these children to stay safe with the support of a stable foster family until they are able to go back to their families, or until they are able to be permanently adopted.
A traditional adoption can be costly, but adoption from foster care can be substantially less.
Why Adopt A Foster Child?
Foster parents have the potential to adopt the children they foster if they wish. However, the right of first refusal for adoption is the child’s biological family relatives, (called “kinship” adoption) with foster care parents next.
It’s also possible to adopt a child through the foster care system without becoming a foster parent. You simply request to be matched with a child in the Texas foster care system. However, you’ll only be an “adoptive parent,” eligible to adopt children whose parents have already lost their parental rights through termination.
This option has the benefit of making an easier transition for adoption. Texas adoption laws require that a child lives with the prospective adoptive parents’ home for a minimum of six months. Fostering the child first means that he or she has been in the foster parent’s home for at least that long.
Fostering reduces the number of moves that the child has to make before becoming permanently adopted. This also gives the foster-to-adopt family time to make connections with biological relatives and maintain the relationships for the long term.
Texas also offers considerable adoption assistance for those who adopt out of the foster care system, including adoption tax credits. These subsidies are designed to make it easier for parents to adopt foster children. These benefits include:
- Medicaid for the child until age 18, which includes:
- Medical, dental, and vision
- Mental health care, i.e., behavioral and psychiatric
- Medical transportation, equipment, and supplies
- Monthly assistance based on need, including:
- Exceptional expenses for placement
- Child care
- Educational needs
- Needed routine maintenance
- Maintaining relationships with siblings and relatives
- Single expense assistance related to the adoption of not more than $1,200, payable after the adoption is finalized
Parents must apply to the state for these payments. Additional information is available at the Texas DFPS website.
The state of Texas also offers a tuition waiver program for children who were the subject of an adoption assistance agreement out of foster care. Students must attend a state-supported and state-funded college or university in the state.
The Biggest Benefit
While adoption does have the benefit of financial assistance, the deeper benefit is that the child or children you welcome to your family will be in a better place than they were. A child who has been through foster care can concentrate on school, learning, and all the things that having a stable and loving home brings.
Fostering and later adopting a child does not require wealth nor even homeownership, just a stable home where children can continue to grow up as they intended with people in their lives who want to be there.
Let Wendy L. Hart Help Throughout The Adoption Process
At the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart, our greatest professional accomplishments involve happy families brought together. As always, you can expect passionate service, thorough knowledge of Texas adoption law, and compassion towards your goal and interests. To begin the adoption process or for help with an existing legal issue related to adoption, call our Mansfield-Fort Worth family law office today at (817) 842-2336. We’ll be happy to help.