Welcoming a new member into your household through adoption can be exciting. However, the process can be daunting, confusing, and time-consuming as well. Bolton Law attorneys are experienced in all types of adoption and will work closely with you throughout every step of the process.
How Do I Start the Adoption Process?
Adoption is significant and complex, and that’s why you should consult a lawyer to guide you through the process. Your attorney at Bolton Law will first confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for adopting in Texas. Your attorney will first ensure that you meet the requirements for adoption in Texas.
Before you initiate the process, ensure you communicate the decision with your partner, trusted friend, mentor, or therapist. Your decision will affect the child’s life in a number of ways, so it’s wise to have another perspective.
You’ll also want to decide on the type of adoption. Common forms of adoption include independent adoptions, identified adoptions, open adoptions, agency adoptions, foster care adoptions, facilitated adoptions, and international adoptions.
A trusted adoption attorney at Bolton Law will be able to discuss each type of adoption with you so that you can make an informed decision.
How Do I Choose the Best Adoption Lawyer?
Adoption law is a specialty, and not all family law attorneys are adequately equipped to oversee and finalize the process. When choosing an adoption attorney, consider the following:
- Past Experience – Ask if the lawyer has experience with the type of adoption you want, how many adoptions of this type they have overseen and how recently. You want a lawyer who’s knowledgeable about the kind of adoption process you wish to initiate.
- Licensing & Client Rating – Check whether the attorney is licensed to operate in the state of Texas. You can also seek recommendations from local adoptive parents and ask whether they were satisfied with the legal services they received. Check the lawyer’s reviews online as well.
- The Adoption Costs – You’ll want an attorney who can help you understand adoption fees as well as who you’ll pay and when.
What Are the Phases of Adoption?
While the adoption journey differs for everyone, most adoptions follow the same fundamental steps. In Texas, the adoption process steps are as follows:
Complete the Home Study
Regardless of the adoption type, you’re required to complete the home study. This is a pre-adoptive process that assesses your physical, emotional, mental, and financial preparation for adoption. The purpose of a home study is to evaluate whether the child will live in a safe and loving environment that can meet their needs.
Most people consider this to be the toughest phase in the adoption process. Following the home study, there will be an array of things to do such as completing an adoption profile, attending training, or meeting other requirements depending on the kind of adoption you are pursuing. This is then followed by a test of patience, as you have to wait for a match.
The length of time you’ll have to wait depends primarily on the type of adoption you’re pursuing. There is no way to know exactly how long it will take to find the right match. It could take days, weeks, months, or even a year (often the case for international adoptions)
Agree to an Adoption Opportunity
Your adoption lawyer will contact you and present an adoption opportunity. In this phase, you will get some preliminary details, allowing you to take the next step.
In domestic infant adoption, this step means the birth mother has reviewed your family profile and has chosen you. If adopting a child from foster care, it means the child is ready to be placed in your home.
Regardless, this is usually an exhilarating stage.
The phase known as pre-placement contact is exclusive to domestic infant adoption. One of the unique benefits of adopting a baby in Texas through a private agency is the potential for open or semi-open adoption: You can know the birth mother before, during, and even after the adoption is finalized.
It sounds scary at first, but studies show open adoption is highly beneficial to all parties involved, especially the child. Today, more than 95% of adoptions in Texas are open.
Openness may sound scary at first glance, but it’s highly encouraged. Studies show it’s not only beneficial to both parties, but to the child in the long term.
This is the moment you have been waiting for since you initiated adoption. Placement differs depending on your form of adoption. In foster care, most parents will welcome their child into their household, usually after a meeting.
In domestic infant adoption, placement often happens at the hospital after the birth mother has legally provided their consent. In an international adoption situation, the parents go to the child’s place of birth for the initial meeting and return home after completing the necessary legal steps.
Having the adopted child placed with you is an exciting and life-changing experience, but the adoption process does not end there.
Finalization & the Journey Ahead
Even after welcoming the child to your home, there’s an array of post-placement requirements that you need to complete. Approximately 6 months after placement, you will be required to attend a finalization hearing at the local courthouse.
At this stage, the judge will go through all of the documentation to ensure everything is completed under the state’s adoption law. If so, you will be given the final decree of adoption, officially confirming the child as the legal and permanent member of your family.
Keep in mind, however, that adoption is not a one-time thing, and will always be an ongoing process of caring for the child for the rest of their and your life.
Do I Have to Be Wealthy to Adopt?
When people think about adopting in Texas, one of the primary question that comes to mind is, ‘’Do I have to be rich to adopt?’’ The simple answer is, no. Adoption doesn’t require an individual to be rich. Adoption through foster care, for instance, is relatively affordable and in some cases, free.
Of course, money is necessary for all the child’s needs, but you do not have to be rich to do so, as long as you are a good financial manager. Even so, there are some cases where being wealthy is necessary in order to be a decent adoptive family. The adoption lawyers at Bolton Law will be able to advise you regarding the financial obligations you may encounter based on the type of adoption you choose.
What Are the Adoption Costs in Texas?
Adoption costs vary depending upon the type of adoption you choose as well as whether you go through an adoption agency or an adoption attorney. Attorney-facilitated adoptions tend to be more affordable. There are also filing fees and medical expenses to consider.
Simply put, the total financial cost of adoption varies widely depending on the form of adoption and the process itself.
Here are some rough estimates of the basic costs of adoption:
- Adopting an older child is the least expensive, often totaling a few thousand dollars to cover legal expenses and the required paperwork.
- Adopting an infant is more expensive compared to an older child, with the cost averaging between $40,000 and $45,000.
- International adoptions are the most expensive, with the cost of the entire process ranging between $25,000 and $50,000.
How Long Does the Adoption Process Take?
This one has no definite answer because each adoption is different Your situation, details of the prospective birth mother, and the adoption lawyer will all contribute to how long the adoption process will take.
While this sounds vague, that is the unfortunate truth. On average, it takes anywhere from 6 to 12 months to complete an adoption in Texas.
How Long Until the Adoption Process Is Finalized?
In the state of Texas, finalization for almost every adoption case is done 6 months following placement.
Will the Adopted Child Know About Their Birth Family?
Whether the adopted child knows about their birth family will depend on the type of adoption, the needs of the child, and the circumstances surrounding the adoption. When a child turns 18, he or she has the right to ask about and make direct contact with their birth family.
Can a Mother Revoke Her Consent to Adoption?
Texas allows a set period of time for the mother to revoke consent to adoption, usually 30 days after signing the consent forms. The judge will then decide whether reversing adoption is the best decision, especially for the child.
Hire an Adoption Lawyer in The Woodlands Today!
Adoption is a complex, emotional, and rewarding process. At Bolton Law, we want you to feel confident every step of the way. Come meet our team and learn more about what we have to offer as you look to expand your family through adoption.
Call 281-351-7897 today to get started!