A Compassionate Adoption Attorney Can Guide You Through the Process
Adopting a child can be a life-changing and joyous occasion. However, laws governing adoption can be confusing and the process can be quite lengthy. In order for the process to go as smoothly as possible, it is highly recommended that potential adoptive parents obtain legal advice from an adoption attorney. Kristin Kline in Houston, TX, can expertly guide and professionally support you through the process of adoption, no matter which type you are considering.
Types of Adoption
If you are considering adopting a child through independent (or private) adoption, you will need to find a birth mother who is willing to place her child for adoption. In the state of Texas, the law is unclear as to whether or not prospective parents can advertise that they are looking to adopt a child. Texas attorneys are not allowed to locate birth mothers for adoptive parents. There are many states, however, that permit prospective adoptive parents to advertise for birth mothers. A good way for prospective adoptive parents to find a birth mother is by word of mouth through friends, family, or professional relationships.
One concern with private adoptions is the type of monetary support that the adoptive parents give to the birth mother. It is a crime in Texas to buy a child or pay money for the placement of a child. Generally, adoptive parents can pay reasonable medical, counseling, and legal expenses that relate to the child’s health. Adoptive parents cannot pay for the mother’s living expenses. Attorney Kline will guide you in this area so that you do not inadvertently break the law.
With an agency adoption, prospective parents apply to the agency, and the agency makes a prospective match with a birth mother and her child. Agencies licensed in Texas are allowed to advertise for birth mothers, but agencies licensed in other states are not. The process of adopting through an agency can be time-consuming. You will need to fill out an application and qualify under the agency’s standards, as most adoption agencies implement stringent criteria in order to choose prospective adoptive parents. The agency acts as a facilitator between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. Usually, the agency provides for extensive counseling for the adoptive parents as well as the birth parents, which makes the adoption process easier for all parties involved.
An open adoption means that the birth parents and adoptive parents meet each other and remain in communication throughout the child’s life.
Open vs. Closed Adoptions
An open adoption means that the birth parents and adoptive parents meet each other and remain in contact throughout the child’s life. The adoptive parents raise the child, but the birth parents can continue to be part of the child’s life, including having visits with the child. Conversely, closed adoptions are completely anonymous and usually take place through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Completely open and completely closed adoptions are rare; most adoptions are semi-open, which means that the adoptive parents meet the birth mother during the adoption process. They may exchange letters and photos (often non-identifying) as the child grows up. It is ultimately up to the adoptive parents to determine how much contact, if any, the child will have with the birth parents.
The Adoption Process
Once you determine what type of adoption you want to pursue, there are various legal processes that must be followed, depending on where the child was born, whether in Texas, another state, or another country. The termination of the birth parents’ rights must occur before the adoption can be finalized. Additionally, the petition for adoption cannot be finalized until you have had the child in your possession for at least six months, and you have provided the court with a social study, a genetic history, and a criminal record background history.
Schedule a Consultation
Without proper legal guidance, the adoption process can be tedious and even overwhelming. For personalized advice and dedicated guidance during the adoption process, contact our office today and make an appointment for your consultation.