Children can only have one set of legal parents. In adoption, this means that the parental rights of the biological parent(s) must be terminated so that the adoptive parents will have exclusive legal rights to the child.
The termination of parental rights for this purpose may be done voluntarily or involuntarily through court procedures.
Adopting a child can be one of the happiest and most rewarding experiences in life. Creating or adding to your family in this manner enriches everyone involved. If you wish to adopt a child, whether privately or through a public agency, The Tholstrup Law Firm, L.P. can provide the guidance and representation you need as you work through the various steps of the process.
Our firm is backed by 25 years of family law legal experience in helping individuals and families throughout Houston, Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, and The Woodlands. We know that the adoption process can be stressful and even intimidating.
However, we are committed to providing the in-depth service you need in this valuable and critical matter.
Ready to get started? Contact a Houston adoption lawyer at The Tholstrup Law Firm, L.P. online or at (713) 533-8457 to schedule a free consultation.
Any adult may adopt a child as long as they prove their eligibility to do so through the adoption process. Texas law even provides for adult adoptions. No age limitations are placed on the adoptive parents, as reflected by the large number of grandparent adoptions done in Texas. The adoptive parents must be able to care for the child to the age of majority (age 18). However, no income requirements have been established under law.
Adoptions may be pursued by single adults as well as married couples, straight as well as LGBTQ individuals and couples. In all cases, the court must find that the adoption is in the best interest of the child. It is rare/almost impossible that a court would approve an adoption by two unmarried adults, homosexual or heterosexual. Furthermore, adoption requirements may vary based on the type of adoption you pursue.
Type of adoption can include:
- Infant adoptions. These are generally private matters created through contracted arrangements made between biological parents and the adoptive parents.
- Stepparent adoptions. These are the most common type of adoption where a new spouse adopts a child by marriage.
- Relative adoptions. These involve adoptions of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
- Foster child adoptions. These are done through the Department of Family and Protective Services.
- Interstate and state adoptions. All U.S. states take part in the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
- International adoptions. These are subject to state, federal, and international rules.
- LGBTQ adoptions. These generally include surrogacy or the adoption of your partner’s biological child.
The Adoption Process
Anyone seeking to adopt a child must provide a criminal background check and go through a screening of their home environment by a court-appointed agency. A court will not grant an adoption until the child has resided in the new home for at least six months unless a waiver of this requirement is deemed to be in the child’s best interests. An ad litem (guardian) is appointed by the court to represent the interests of the child. This person interviews all the parties involved with the child and makes an evaluation of whether the adoption will be in the best interests of the child. Additionally, a health, social, educational and genetic history may be required of the biological parents. Once all the foregoing is completed, the adoptive parents and the child must make a court appearance to prove up the adoption and get an Order of Adoption entered with the court.
Because of the six months’ residency requirement, an adoption generally takes six to 12 months from start to finish. If the process is an interstate adoption or one of the biological parents cannot be located, the process can take 18 to 24 months.
Adoptions have a wide range in costs depending on the circumstances, such as whether an agency is involved, the adoption involves a surrogate mother, the child is from a foreign country, etc. A fair range of costs are $2,500 to $35,000, depending on the complexity of the case. A federal tax credit (not deduction) of +$10,000.00 may be available to offset the cost of adoption.