Texas Laws and Regulations on Adoption
Any adult over the age of 21 can adopt a child in the state of Texas. However, all adults living in the home of the adoptive parents must pass a background check. Adoptive parents must complete a home study, have references and show that he/she is financially stable to provide for the child and is responsible and mature. All children over the age of 12 must consent to the adoption and that child must be living in the home for six months prior to the adoption finalization. Adoptive parents who are not living in Texas can adopt a child from Texas as long as the prospective adoptive parent(s) passes a background check in Texas. This law was enacted to protect children from trafficking.
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a law that has been adopted in all 50 states in the United States that ensures that adoptive parents adopting a child from another state will have to abide by that state’s laws.
After an adoption is complete, the state will perform post-adoptive visits. This usually consists of five home visits to ensure that the child’s safety.
Adoptions can be open or closed. The decision to have a closed or open adoption is discussed with the adoption agency; the agency is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring contact is maintained between the birth and adoptive parents if an open adoption is chosen. Open adoptions are not always legally enforced, however, a good adoption agency will ensure contact between the birth parents and adoptive family or adoptee.
Adoption agencies can provide financial support to a birth mother if the finances are used for the health of the mother and the baby. For example, medical expenses can be covered by the adoption agency, as well as food and housing for the time the mother is pregnant.
Birth mothers can surrender their rights to a baby 48 hours after the birth.
Safe haven babies do not have to have surrender papers in order to be placed for adoption. The birth parents can anonymously surrender their baby within 60 days of birth and not be charged with abuse or neglect. Upon completion of a medical exam, a child surrendered to the state via Safe Haven will be placed with a family through child protective services.
A copy of the laws surrounding adoption in Texas can be found here.