Many people consider the idea of adopting a child, but how do you actually go about starting the process? This might help to give you a better understanding.
Each state in the United States has its own specific guidelines and legal process in which children are adopted, and Texas has its own licensing requirements. First and foremost, you must meet all of the following criteria before considering moving forward:
Must be at least 21, financially stable and responsible, and a mature adult
Complete an application, which staff may be able to assist with
Share background information and overall lifestyle
Provide relative and non-relative references
Be single, married, widowed, or divorced, and provide legal proof of such
Agree to a home study which includes visits with all household members and inspection of all parts of the home and grounds
Allow staff to complete a criminal history background check and a check for the well-being of any children under 14 in the home
Attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children
It should be noted that associated costs related to background checks, applications, home inspections, and any relevant testing must be paid for by the prospective adopting family. There are also many support services post-adoption, including the Dept. of Family and Protective Services, the Council on Adoptable Children of Texas, and the Texas Foster Care Association. Your adoption service provider must ensure that all 3 sets of laws are followed: US federal law, the laws of the child’s country of residence, and the laws of Texas.
So how else do you begin this process? A major component that is often overlooked is educating yourself on adoption and how the journey affects both the child and their new adoptive family. Child Welfare Information Gateway has a myriad of helpful facts, stories, and resources regarding children in foster care and what you can do to help. Contacting local agencies in Texas and attending an orientation meeting can also be an extremely informative experience that gives you a better understanding of the next steps in the process. The costs may vary, but overall expenses may be between $35,000 and $50,000 in Texas.
Adoption is a complicated process than can take up to years to finalize and having the guidance of a family lawyer along the way is invaluable to your experience. If this seems like something you have considered or want to learn more about, reaching out to a family lawyer may be in your best interest.