Adoption is one of the most loving things that parents, or prospective parents, can do. There are thousands of kids who need and deserve a home. Creating a family for those children isn’t just nice, it is heroic. Unfortunately, going through an adoption process is never simple or easy; the laws governing adoptions in Texas are complicated. That is why getting the advice of a caring and knowledgeable Texas adoption lawyer is so essential. At The Law Office of Wendy L. Hart, we specialize in helping Tarrant County families navigate the adoption law landscape. In doing so, we help build families—it is one of our favorite things to do.
Why do people hire adoption attorneys? The answer is simple: the law, in general, can be hard for the uninitiated to understand, but Texas adoption law can be especially complicated. It isn’t just about the law, either. Adoptions involve real people, real families, and powerful emotions. It takes a tender touch to deal with all of the issues that go along with any adoption, which is why having an experienced Texas adoption lawyer is so important. A professional attorney who manages the details allows you to concentrate on building your new family.
Your lawyer can guide you through the four different ways that a child can be adopted in the State of Texas. Those methods are:
Private adoption: In the private option, the adoption is arranged between the child’s birth parents and the adoptive family, often with the help of a licensed adoption agency aided by a Texas adoption lawyer. It is important to note that in Texas, lawyers may not help their clients locate a child for adoption; nevertheless, a qualified adoption attorney can help you understand resources that are available to help you find a child to adopt.
There are two types of private adoption in Texas: closed and open. In a closed adoption, the adoption records are sealed by the court after the legalities are finalized. In many cases, the birth and adoptive parents never meet, and the adoptive parents may choose to have their identities permanently shielded.
Open adoptions are characterized by both the adoptive and birth parents working together to ensure a smooth transition for the child. These are becoming more common in the United States; in some cases, the birth parents remain a part of the child’s life. Since there are plenty of emotions involved with this sort of arrangement, it is essential that you retain a Texas adoption attorney like Wendy L. Hart to mediate the open adoption process. The extent of the birth parent’s involvement must be part of the adoption decree, so your attorney will ensure that your interests are protected.
Every adoption requires that the parental rights of the birth parents be legally terminated by the court. In some private adoption cases, the birth father or mother may be resistant to the adoption process or unwilling sign the required paperwork. This situation is one in which the help of a Texas adoption attorney is essential—attempting to manage these complex negotiations and relationships on your own is fraught with peril and emotional turmoil.
Adoption through the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS)
Every year in the State of Texas, thousands of children are removed from their homes for by Texas DFPS Child Protective Services (CPS). At the end of the 2016 fiscal year, 6,999 children were available for adoption through DFPS. The reasons vary; the child’s welfare may have been at risk, they may have been abused, or a guardian may have passed away. Adoptive parents who open their hearts and homes to these kids are wonderful examples to us all.
Just as is the case in a private adoption, the parental rights of the birth parents must be terminated by the court. An experienced Texas adoption lawyer will help ensure your interactions with CPS go smoothly, and that all of the necessary paperwork is filed correctly. That way, you can place your focus solely on loving the child that you’ve made a part of your family.
Increasingly, many Texas families are looking internationally in their search for a child to join their family. Often these adoptions are arranged through specialized agencies, but some recent high profile cases have demonstrated that not all of these international child placement agencies are reputable or ethical. The process of adopting a child from abroad is incredibly complex: there are domestic and foreign laws to consider, as well as the Hague Convention on International Adoption—a complex set of rules designed to protect children from human trafficking. Then there are the daunting requirements for the immigrant visa that your child will need to enter the United States; it is little wonder that parents who have successfully adopted a child from outside the United States have retained the services of an adoption attorney to help them through this long and winding bureaucratic process.
The fact that the child and the potential step-parent are already in a relationship makes this sort of adoption the most painless variety. Conflicts can still arise, especially if one of the birth parents is resistant to surrendering their parental rights and responsibilities. There is no need to go through this process alone; an experienced Texas adoption lawyer like Wendy L. Hart can make the guide you through the process, helping you avoid potential conflicts and ensuring that the adoption proceeds smoothly.
The Law Firm of Wendy L. Hart
Since 2001, The Law Firm of Wendy L. Hart has been serving families in the Fort Worth area. Our Texas family law practice prides itself on treating each one of our clients as individuals; we strive to understand and meet your individual needs. Wendy L. Hart seeks to zealously represent our clients in fully informed and emotionally supportive environment to ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved. If you are in need of a Texas adoption law firm to help you grow your family, call us at (817) 842-2336 or contact us via our website.