Although many specifics pertaining to the adoption process are the same across all state lines; each has requirements and procedures that are specific to that state. Texas is one of the more adoption-friendly states. Here are eight things you should know about Texas adoption.
1. Any adult at least 21 years of age may adopt.
This includes both married couples and single adults. As long as you meet the home study requirements, you are able to start the adoption process. However, individual agencies are allowed to have their own age limits and specific requirements to adopt through their specific agency. When adopting through the state or fostering to adopt, you will have additional requirements and training. For instance, families with more than six children in the home are not qualified to foster.
2. The relinquishment time period is 48 hours after birth. The state of Texas requires a birth mother to wait 48 hours from the time of birth before signing the affidavit to terminate parental rights. During this time period, she will be required to have a certain number of counseling sessions. Once signing is completed it is irrevocable; which means, she can no longer change her mind. Please understand that this does not mean adoptions cannot be overturned for various reasons prior to the finalization of the adoption.
3. Texas has a paternity registry to protect the rights of birth fathers. In the state of Texas, the birth father may sign to terminate his parental rights at any time prior to birth. If there is any question that arises as to who the father may be, the adoption professional must list the birth on the registry for 31 days after birth or 30 days plus a Monday, depending on how many days there are in the month. Any man believing they are the biological father can complete a form in intent to claim paternity with the Texas Vital Statistics to be notified.
4. Birth parents may choose a private adoption with an adoption professional if CPS is moving to remove the child from their care. Texas is one of many states that now allows a birth mother who is facing the possible involuntary termination of parental rights to place her child for private adoption with an adoption professional as opposed to the child entering the foster care system.
5. Texas requires post-placement visits prior to finalization. Most agencies will conduct five post placement visits in which one will conduct interviews with you, your spouse, and any children in the home. Individual interviews are done for every child over the age of four years. You and your spouse will also have individual interviews. This is all to ensure you and the judge that the adoption and you are doing well.
6. The “TPR” in the state of Texas is finalized when the child has been in the adoptive parents’ custody for six months.
7. ICPC or Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is typically 7 to 10 business days. For adoptive parents adopting in Texas but residing in another state–or for adoptive parents residing in Texas but adopting in another state–the ICPC is in place to ensure that all requirements are met on the home study for both states and all is legal prior to the child leaving his/her birth state or current state of residence. It is important if you plan to pursue adoption situations in a state other than the one you reside, that you make sure your home study agent knows you are wanting an interstate home study, which means requirements will be met in both states. For instance, criminal background checks must be performed for both states. Once the child’s birth state has completed their part of the ICPC, your home study is forwarded to the receiving state which is your state of residence for their approval. You must remain in the child’s birth state until you are cleared to return home.
8. Adoptive Parents are not permitted to advertise to find a birth family. While adoption professionals are allowed to place advertisements to find birth families, adoptive parents are not.