For many people, having children on their own may not be an option. Adopting a child (or children) may be the next best option.
If you’ve considered adoption, you’ve heard it’s also very expensive. Choosing a private adoption agency can cost as much as $50,000. If you choose to adopt a child through the state of Texas, your costs will likely be considerably lower. Whichever route you choose, there are specific requirements to adopt in the Lone Star State.
Texas Adoption Requirements
For both foster and adoptive parents, the basic requirements are the same, whether you use a private agency or not:
- Be at least 21 years of age, financially stable and responsible, and a “mature adult.”
- Complete an application (staff assistance is available)
- Share information regarding your background and lifestyle.
- Provide references, both relatives and non-relatives.
- You can be single, married, widowed, or divorced. If you are married, you will be required to show a marriage certificate and other proof. If you are divorced, you will be required to show divorce papers. For widowed individual, proof of spouse’s death is required.
- Agree to a “home study” including visits with all household members. This will include inspection of all parts of the home, grounds, and outbuildings.
- Allow staff to complete a criminal history background check and an abuse/neglect check on all adults in the household. “Adults” are considered anyone 14 and older who live in or visit your household on a regular basis.
- Attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children. The training provides an opportunity for the family and the family’s agency to assess whether foster care or adoption is best for the family. The family may withdraw from the training meetings at any time. There is no charge for the training meetings. Foster and adoptive parents generally train at the same time.
There is no “maximum age” for a Texas adoption, so older couples also have the opportunity to adopt a child or children into their family.
Starting As A Foster Parent Or Foster Family One way to adopt is to begin as a foster parent. Attend one of the informational meetings available in your area to learn more and get started. (Tarrant County residents can find the sessions here.) Foster care can help establish relationships before the actual adoption process, and ease the child(ren) into a new environment.
While foster care is intended to eventually reunite families, or place a child with another relative, sometimes the best option is terminating the parent’s rights. Working with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), you can also adopt children through the foster care system.
When you become certified for both foster care and adoption in Texas, the process is faster, and foster families are given the first opportunity to adopt a child or children. About half of all adoptions through DFPS are children who are adopted by their foster families.
Financial Assistance for Texas Adoptions
Texas also offers assistance for individuals who adopt children. These benefits must be requested, and include:
- Medicaid, which covers the child’s medical, dental, vision, and behavioral care, as well as medical transportation, equipment and supplies
- Monthly adoption assistance payments to supplement, based on the child’s needs and the family’s financial circumstances.
- Expense reimbursement for one-time expenses related to the adoption, up to $1,200 per adoption. This covers expenses such as court costs, attorney’s fees, and payments to child placement agencies.
Let Our Fort Worth Adoption Attorney Help
At the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart, our greatest professional accomplishments involve happy families brought together. As always, you can expect passionate service from our experienced Fort Worth adoption attorney, thorough knowledge of Texas adoption law, and compassion towards your goal and interests. To begin the Texas adoption process or for help with an existing issue, call our Mansfield-Fort Worth family law office today at (817) 842-2336.