People wishing to adopt a child in Texas have two options: state adoption and private adoption. Per Texas law, applicants must be at least 21 years old, mature and responsible adults and financially stable. They can be married or unmarried, straight or gay, but they must pass a criminal background check. Should this check reveal a history of domestic or child abuse or neglect, this disqualifies them from adopting a child.
Each private adoption agency has its own rules, regulations and procedures. While these must adhere to Texas law, the agency may have additional requirements of its own which an applicant must meet before adopting a child.
The Texas Adoption Resource Exchange explains that in addition to meeting the basic age and financial requirements, prospective adoptive parents must do the following:
- Provide information about their lifestyle and background
- Provide references from relatives and non-relatives
- Successfully complete a home study that includes visits with all members of the household
- Attend free training sessions regarding abused and neglected children issues
Prospective adoptive parents likewise must show their preparedness to provide the adopted child with the following:
- A commitment to raise him or her to adulthood in a permanent home
- A commitment to meet his or her short-term and long-term needs
- A commitment to meet his or her physical, mental, emotional, educational and cultural needs
Should they choose, adoptive parents also can become licensed to accept foster children into their home and provide for them while they await reunification with their birth parent(s) or others. Often a foster parent will have the opportunity to adopt the foster child.
There are numerous private adoption agencies in Texas, one of which is American Adoptions. Prospective adoptive parents must be married for at least two years prior to filing their application to adopt a child from this agency. LGBT couples are as welcome as straight couples, and no preferences exist as to any couple’s sexual orientations.
American Adoptions prefers to place children with adults between 22 and 50 years old, but is willing to make exceptions. Applicants must pass a federal and state criminal background and abuse check, but this agency accepts prospective adoptive parents convicted of a one-time non-violent felony.
Adopting a child is a lifelong commitment. Once the adoption becomes finalized, the parents and child have the same legal relationship as that between biological parents and their children.