Who can adopt a child in Texas?
Any adult can adopt in Texas, regardless of their sex, race, or sexual orientation. It does not matter the sex or race of the child. Persons with criminal histories or a past record with Child Protective Services may not be eligible for adoption, depending on the circumstances.
What are the steps?
If the parents still have legal rights to the child, the first step is to terminate the rights of both the mother and father. The parents can sign affidavits of relinquishment giving up their rights, or a preliminary trial can be held to terminate the rights if grounds exist. Some of the more common grounds include abuse or neglect, abandonment, failure to pay child support, and incarceration in prison. This trial can be held in front of a judge, or any party has the right to request a jury trial.
The adoptive parent(s) must complete a criminal background check and a home study. An attorney ad litem to represent each child is normally required as well.
Typical adoptions that I handle
Most of the adoptions that I assist families with involve a relative who either has already been taking care of a grandchild, niece or nephew, or is hoping to because a parent is unable to continue raising the child because of either CPS involvement, a missing parent, drug rehabilitation, or incarceration.
I can also handle adoptions through private adoption agencies or in cases in which CPS asks the parents to pursue an adoption on their own.
My child’s parent doesn’t want to pay child support and wants to give up their rights, do I need to have my current spouse adopt our child?
If the only legal basis for the termination is failure to pay child support or a desire not to pay child support, many judges will require that another person be willing to step in for the the parent giving up their rights as they do not want a child to have only one parent unless there is a more serious basis for terminating rights other than just money.
What if I don’t know who or where the father is?
An attorney will have to be appointed to represent and look for the missing parent, and notice may have to be placed in a newspaper.