Get 35+ Years of Experience on Your Side
Considering adoption can be a wonderful thing for you and your family. Whether you are looking to adopt a child locally in Texas, nationally through an adoption agency in the United States, or internationally, you can rely on the dedicated team at Adams Law Firm to provide you with outstanding representation.
Our team of Katy adoption lawyers has the experience and capability to provide you with the assistance you need to ensure that your adoption proceedings are handled properly and that you can begin working toward officially expanding your loving family. Contact us online or call us at (281) 391-9237.
How Can an Attorney Help?
When you are considering adoption, our Katy adoption attorneys can greatly assist you in a number of ways. Our firm will ensure that all paperwork is properly completed and filed in a timely manner and swiftly handle any legal issues that may arise. An adoption attorney from our firm can also provide you with the necessary legal resources to ensure that your adoption contract is properly structured. Even if you have decided to work with an adoption agency to help you find a birth mother, an attorney may still be the best option for you and your family. With the guidance of our team, you can find the adoption counseling and post-adoption services you need and rest assured that the rights of both the birth parents and adoptive parents involved are protected.
This time in your life should be incredibly joyous, not filled with stress and anxiety. Allow our team to take some of the hassle off your hands by providing you with outstanding legal services for your case. When you are considering adoption – or if you are already involved with a birth mother or adoption agency – do not hesitate to contact our team. With the help of a Katy adoption lawyer, you can proceed with your adoption with minimal effort and worry.
Why Choose Adams Law Firm to Handle My Adoption Process?
For over three decades, Adams Law Firm has been assisting our neighbors in Texas with family law matters, including adoptions. We have received numerous accolades for our success and dedication to top-quality service, including receiving an AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, a major service that rates lawyers across the country. We have also been included in the Top 100 list of trial lawyers in Texas, as assembled by the National Trial Lawyers. We were named business of the year by the Katy Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and have been named Reader’s Choice for Best Law Firm in Katy. We are dedicated to serving members of the Katy community. As Katy adoption lawyers, we strive to make your experience with our firm as pleasant and stress-free as possible.
The Adoption Process in Texas
A Texas adoption becomes complete when a judge approves the adoption petition. The judge must find that the case meets the Texas adoption requirements and that it is in the best interests of the child. An adoption can include a name change for the child. Generally, Texas adoptions are confidential. Biological parents and adoptees can agree to release their personal information to a state registry if they wish to allow future contact.
Different Types of Adoption in Texas
There are numerous types of adoption in Texas. The required steps to finalize your adoption will depend on your situation and the kind of adoption you choose to pursue. The attorneys at Adams Law Firm can help you with any adoption that you are seeking, including:
- Domestic Adoption of an Infant – Consenting birth parents may place a child for adoption with adoptive parents of their choice. You must match with a birth mother or birth family that wants to place their child up for adoption. The process of domestic infant adoption involves a home study and court approval.
- Domestic Adoption of an Older Child – Adoption of an older child involves a detailed home study to show the appropriateness of the child’s placement in the adoptive home. In Texas, a child over the age of 12 must consent to their adoption. The exact process for domestic adoption of an older child depends on the circumstances leading to the adoption.
- International Adoption – Rules for international adoption are specific to the country from which you are adopting. Both the country of origin and the state of Texas must finalize the adoption. There are essential steps to take to ensure that your adoption is official and that you have the necessary paperwork to transport your child to the United States. A petition for U.S. citizenship for the child is also required.
- Stepparent Adoption – A stepparent adoption can occur when either parent is absent, loses their parental rights, or consents to the adoption. The courts can terminate the parental rights of a biological parent only in rare cases for specific reasons. The court may appoint an amicus attorney to investigate the case and offer an opinion about whether the adoption is in the child’s best interests.
- Interstate Adoption Involving Texas – It’s common for an adoption to involve more than one U.S. state. When a child is adopted from one state and taken to another, both states must comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. An interstate adoption can involve waiting periods and extra paperwork, but working with an experienced Katy adoption lawyer can help you streamline the process.
- Foster Care Adoption – Although foster care should not be looked at as a gateway to adoption, children who are in foster care may become available for adoption. Even if a child is already in a home for foster care placement, the adoption must still be approved by the court. There may be adoption assistance available to families adopting from foster care.
You can discuss your unique circumstances with your attorney to determine which kind of adoption is best for you and your family.
Frequently Asked Questions About Adoptions
Adoption is a complicated and sometimes stressful process. We know you have many questions, so we have posted the answers to some frequently asked questions below for your perusal. You can also contact us at any time to get answers to any specific questions you may have about your case.
What does adoption mean?
Adoption has a specific meaning, in that if you adopt a child, you take on the legal rights and responsibilities of parenting a child that is not your biological child. The rights that originally belonged to the child’s biological parents will become your rights, as will the responsibilities. You must take care of the child and make all parenting decisions for the child. For an adoption to take place, a court must terminate the rights of the biological parents so that you are free to take on those rights. A biological parent can either sign an agreement terminating their rights, or a court can terminate them if the biological parent has abused or neglected the child. Whether termination of rights and adoption can take place depends on what is in the best interest of the child.
What requirements must be met to adopt a child?
Depending on the type of adoption, you may need to work with a Texas adoption agency. A home study must be completed, and your references and background will be checked. You must demonstrate that you can provide an appropriate environment and care for the child. The basic requirements to adopt include the following:
- 21 years of age or older
- Have financial stability
- Provide information on background and lifestyle
- Complete an application
- Provide references
- Provide information regarding marriage and divorce, if applicable
- Complete a home study
- Comply with background checks
A lawyer will be able to help you complete all of these requirements.
How do I find a child to adopt?
Word of mouth can sometimes work to locate a birth mother who wants to give her child up for adoption, but this is not always an option. Registering with a private or public agency is often the way to go. A private agency would typically be used for international adoptions, although many private agencies also have programs to match adoptive parents with children domestically. A public agency may make sense for particular circumstances such as adopting older children, groups of siblings, or children with special needs.
What happens in a home study?
In addition to documentation such as references, health records, financial records, background checks for crime and child abuse, and an autobiographical statement, a home study includes actual visits to your home. These occur prior to placement and after placement until the adoption is finalized.
In a pre-placement home visit, a social worker must observe your home regarding potential safety hazards. For instance, the social worker will want to ensure that there are screens on windows, fences on pools, and gates for stairs, as age-appropriate for the intended adoption. A home study also involves a family interview to get to know you and your spouse if you have one. The social worker will discuss your values, relationships, careers, parenting techniques, and other topics to understand what you would be like as a parent.
In a post-placement home visit, the social worker will want to ensure you and the child adjust well to living together. Home studies must be updated regularly or if a major change occurs, such as you obtaining a new job.
What is an open adoption?
In an open adoption, the biological parents and the adoptive parents maintain some type of contact. The level of contact varies and could include only names, while in other cases, contact is ongoing. In a closed adoption, there will be no contact whatsoever between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. Where an agency is used, the agency may assist in keeping the parties in contact. Your lawyer can help you determine what kind of adoption is right for you and your family.
Who can start a case to adopt a stepchild?
Both the stepparent and the biological parent should file a petition together to start an adoption in this situation.
What if the other parent of my stepchild is still living?
You will first have to file a petition to terminate the parent-child relationship before moving on to filing an adoption petition. If the other parent is deceased or already has had their rights terminated, this step is not necessary.
Can I avoid going to court?
No. It is necessary for the court to observe the parents and the child in court in order for the court to determine that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.
Does my stepchild have to live with me before I petition for adoption?
Yes. In Texas, a stepchild must live with their stepparent for at least six months before the date of adoption. A court could waive this rule in certain circumstances, but this is the most likely requirement.
Contact Us Right Away
If you are contemplating adoption or are in the middle of adoption proceedings, contact Adams Law Firm immediately for help navigating this complex area of the law. We are eager to help you whether you are completing a domestic, international, open, closed, or any other kind of adoption. Contact the Adams Law Firm by calling (281) 391-9237 or filling out our contact form.