TEXAS ADOPTIONBryan, Texas Adoption Lawyer
Children mean the world to their parents, and adopting a child is one of the most exciting adventures a parent can take on. Adoption means you have a new member of your family, and in some cases, that an already existing relationship is recognized by law.
But there’s also a lot of red tape that comes with adoption in Bryan, Texas. In fact, the whole process can be hard to navigate sometimes, especially if you’re dealing with other legal issues at the same time. No matter your circumstances, it’s vital to have an experienced adoption attorney at your side.
At C. E. Borman, we love nothing more than helping families grow and parents adopt new children. And when there’s a hitch in the adoption process, we use our decades of experience to make the adoption happen no matter what. Because there’s nothing more important to our clients than their children, which means there’s nothing more important to us.
When to Consider Adoption in Texas
While we tend to think of adoption as a childless couple adopting a child through an agency, in reality there are many circumstances under which someone might consider adoption in Texas.
- Agency Adoption: Both public and private adoption agencies are licensed by the state of Texas to facilitate adoptions. In most cases, the biological parents have already given up parental rights, making the process smoother than other cases.
- Independent Adoption: Biological parents may find a couple interested in adoption independently of an agency, and set up the adoption directly. Of course, both sets of parents will still need an adoption attorney to help with the legal process.
- Stepparent Adoption: It’s not uncommon for stepparents to file for adoption of their stepchild, especially in cases where the other biological parent is absent or deemed unfit to care for their child.
- Same-Sex Adoption: Since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, LGBTQ couples have the same rights as straight couples to adopt in Texas. However, that doesn’t mean that discrimination doesn’t still happen in Texas courts. Contact an attorney with experience in LGBTQ family law for more advice on adopting a child as a same-sex couple in Texas.
- Second Parent Adoption: Similar to stepparent adoption, second parent adoption occurs when a second person in an unmarried couple adopts their partner’s child. LGBTQ couples often make use of this process to ensure that both partners are legally considered parents, especially if one of them is the child’s biological parent, and the other isn’t.
- Relative Adoption: Texas law also provides the ability for other relatives to step up for adoption, often when the parents die or are unable to care for their children. This can include grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other adult relatives.
There may be some cases where the court grants conservatorship, or custody, to someone who is not the child’s biological parent. Conservators tend to have similar responsibilities as parents, but their rights only extend to those listed by the judge in the court order.
Adoption finalizes your conservatorship as full parenthood, giving you all the same rights as a biological parent, including inheritance. It can also have a symbolic meaning to both parents and children.
If you’re considering adopting a child who’s already in your life, talk to an attorney about your rights and responsibilities as an adoptive parent.
Termination of Parental Rights
In order for an adoption to take place, the current parents’ parental rights must be terminated. If the parents consent to the adoption, they can voluntarily give up their parental rights. This is usually the case in agency adoptions, or when a parent recognizes that they’re unable to take care of their child.
However, if the parents do not consent to the adoption, the court may order an involuntary termination of their parental rights under some circumstances:
- The parent abandoned or did not support the child
- The parent endangered the child
- The parent engaged in criminal conduct
- The parent is otherwise unfit
If the child is above 12, they must give their consent to the adoption as well.
Regardless of whether the parents consent, the court must find that the termination of parental rights will be in the best interest of the child in order for the adoption to take place.
The Adoption Process in Bryan
Even when everyone consents to the adoption, there are still a number of things the court has to look into before a judge will approve an adoption. Below is the basic legal process for adoption in Bryan:
- Petition: The process starts when the adoptive parents file a petition for adoption.
- Home study: The court will then send a social worker or other state representative to ensure that the adoptive parents’ home, and everyone living in it, is ready to welcome a child.
- Background check: The court will also order a criminal background check of the adoptive parents.
- Genetic history report: The court will also issue a social, health, education and genetic history report on the child
- Hearing: Finally, there will be a hearing in which the adoptive parents will swear under oath that they understand their rights and responsibilities as parents.
- Post-placement report: The adoptive parents must submit post-placement reports on the child’s wellbeing for five years.
If this seems like a lot of information, don’t panic. At C. E. Borman, we make it our job to talk plainly and honestly with our clients so that they understand every step of their adoption process.
At the same time, we also want to give you the ability to focus on your family and your new adopted child, while we take the lead on the red tape.
We have been helping families through the adoption process for decades, so we understand how important this step can be in people’s lives. We will stop at nothing to make sure that you and your soon-to-be-adopted child get your happily ever after.