How Long is the Adoption Process in Texas?
When you’re ready to expand your family through adoption, it can be hard to wait. Adopting a child is a life-changing experience and one that takes time, too. If you have recently decided to move forward with adoption in Texas, you should familiarize yourself with what to expect from the process, including how long it’ll take and how an experienced adoption attorney can help protect your rights.
How Long Does the Adoption Process Take?
Generally, most private adoptions resolve in about 12 months. However, this timeframe will depend on your specific circumstances and your adoption preferences. While some adopters don’t care about private or open adoptions or the child’s medical history or gender, that’s not always the case.
Some adoptive parents may have personal preferences, such as:
- The child’s gender
- And the child’s age
- The child’s race
- Whether or not the child has any medical conditions
- The child’s medical history
- Open/closed adoption and continuing contact with birth parents
- Whether you want to adopt domestically or internationally
In many cases, the more restrictions you place upon the adoption process, the more time it’ll take to match you with a child. As with all areas of family law, education is key, so working with an adoption attorney can help you get a better understanding of the types of situations you may encounter. For example, you may discover that you’re a lot more receptive to an open adoption than you previously thought after learning more about it.
What Does the Adoption Process Entail?
Before you’re approved to adopt a child, you have to go through rigorous background checks. This includes a home study. Regardless of the type of adoption you choose or whether you want to adopt domestically or internationally, an evaluation is necessary to decide whether or not you are a good fit.
To qualify for adoption in Texas, you not only have to pass the background check and home study, but you have to meet the following criteria:
- Be 21 years or older
- Have multiple references
- Complete an adoption application
- Be financially stable
- Have proof of marriage or divorce
- Share lifestyle and background information
During the home study, a caseworker will visit your home and discuss your personal history, lifestyle, current expenses, and family interests. You will also discuss your strengths and how they will positively affect your ability to provide for a child and meet their needs. The caseworker will also interview everyone in the home and go over your existing medical information.
After your completion of the home study and approval, the next part is the worst: waiting for your application to be picked. The length of time of this can vary, as it all depends on timing. During this time, birth mothers will review the prospective applicants until they find the right one. However, prospective parents who worked with an adoption professional saw a decreased wait time during this period when compared to those who didn’t.
Another factor you have to consider is how far along the birth mother is in her pregnancy. If a birth mother selected you early on in her pregnancy, this will, of course, extend the waiting period. Again, this varies on a case-by-case basis.
You Got the Call! Now What?
If everything goes according to plan, the baby will be in your arms a few days after being born. In Texas, birth mothers have to wait at least 48 hours after delivery to terminate their parental rights. And while it may be difficult to experience, a birth mother may change her mind even if she’s matched with another family. Sadly, this is one of the situations you cannot control.
However, if the birth parents do terminate their rights, the baby will not become a legal member of your family for another six months. While you’ll be able to take them home and start doting on them with all the love and affection in the world, there are a few steps adoptive parents have to take first:
- First, you will have to undergo several post-placement visits. These visits are meant to check in and see how well your family is adjusting. The state of Texas usually requires five visits.
- Second, you will have to undergo a finalization hearing. This is where the judge ensures the completion of post-placement visits and the legal termination of the birth parents’ rights. Depending on where you live, it may or may not be necessary for you to attend this hearing (though most adoptive parents like to, due to the formality).
Once you complete this process, your adoptive child is legally considered yours. An adoption attorney can be your biggest asset, as they can advise you on what to expect and answer common questions you have. For example, will previously filing for bankruptcy be a deterrent for adoption? What if you don’t like the birth mother who selected you? What resources are available to you if the birth mother changes her mind shortly after delivery? These are all common questions that an experienced adoption attorney can answer for you.
Ready to Move Forward with Adoption? You Need an Experienced and Compassionate Adoption Attorney By Your Side
Adoption is a beautiful but complex journey. When you’re ready to move forward, you need an experienced and compassionate adoption attorney by your side. They can guide you through the process. Sarina D. Hager of the Hager Law Firm has nearly 30 years of experience helping Texas residents expand their families through adoption. Call her law firm today at (903) 466-0001 to schedule a consultation.