Offering Our Legal Assistance as You Navigate the Adoption Process
Growing your family through adoption is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. However, there is no question that the process can be stressful and at times very confusing. We are here to help you every step of the way as you seek to provide a child with a new home and family.
Julia Kerestine is thrilled to have been a part of helping so many couples in the Denton area successfully build their families through private adoption. There are a number of different ways to adopt a child, which our team of experienced adoption attorneys can explain in detail. Once you understand your options we can help you determine which path to choose. We can also help you decide how to handle certain issues that typically come up during the process:
- Setting the legal parameters for an open or closed adoption
- Establishing safeguards for children being adopted by a relative
- How to respond to the biological parents or surrogate should they petition for certain rights
The Life-changing Decision to Adopt
Deciding to adopt a child is one of the most meaningful moments in someone’s life and the beginning of a richer, more fulfilling future for the adoptive parent(s) as well as the child.
The main concern among couples who have decided to adopt is whether it will be difficult to obtain consent. Also, there will be many issues along the way that the birthparents and adoptive parents will have to agree on. The primary one being how much contact with their child will the birthparents be allowed, if any, before and after the adoption is finalized.
The adoption process involves a whole range of complicated legal issues, which are as follows:
- What happens if one or both biological parents or the surrogate changes their mind about the adoption?
- What rights do biological parents have if they decide years later that they want to be in their child’s life?
- How often do biological parents petition the courts to reclaim their parental rights?
- What are the legalities if an open adoption is agreed on? What about a closed adoption?
- What legal protections should be in place when adopting the child of a family member who cannot raise the child themselves?
- What legal rights and obligations should a prospective adoptive parent be aware of before adopting a foster child, grandchild, niece or nephew, or stepchild?
These are just a few of the questions you should be asking before you start the adoption process. However, there is no need for concern because our adoption attorneys can effectively address each issue when it arises. We will give you all the support you need throughout the process, both legally and emotionally.
The Adoption Process in Texas
The process varies depending on which type of adoption you’ve chosen, a private adoption or one through the Department of Family & Protective Services (DFPS). Either way, the laws governing Texas adoptions require that all parties follow the same basic steps.
The steps that Texas law requires of prospective adoptive parents are as follows:
- Informational Meeting
The purpose of this meeting is to explain the legalities to you, including the age requirement and your need to pass a criminal background check. You will also be informed of all the steps that must be followed throughout the adoption process. You will also be given an opportunity to ask questions.
- Preparatory Meeting
This is when you meet with a staff member of DFPS to delve deeper into whether adoption would be right for you. The staff will further evaluate your qualifications.
- PRIDE Training
Texas gives prospective adoptive parents a 35-hour training course called “Parent Resource Information Development Education” or PRIDE. This covers topics like basic childcare plus certain considerations that apply to each prospective adoptive parent. In addition to PRIDE, all prospective adoptive parents must attend three more training and certification courses. Each one offers adoptive parents more information on how they can best meet the needs of their child.
- DFPS Caseworker Conducts Home Visit
All prospective adoptive parents must pass a Home Study, which in part entails a caseworker from DFPS personally visiting their home. They can then observe your lifestyle, discuss your personal history, any experience you’ve had taking care of children, and a lot of other factors that will help them determine how suitable you are for adoption.
Each member of the household is required to be interviewed, including any children that live with you, so that a full picture of the family and lifestyle as a whole can be revealed.
Every step that you complete before you start the adoption process helps you and your family to be better prepared to have this new child join your family. The purpose of completing all these steps is to ensure that the child experiences a smooth transition into your home. In case you’re wondering, These are the same steps that people must undertake when they become foster parents.
There are several different types of adoption, as follows:
When you adopt a family member like a niece or nephew, grandchild, or cousin it is categorized as a relative adoption. Although a lot of families take care of minor relatives on an informal basis, a relative adoption that is legally binding requires that both parents terminate their rights prior to the adoption process starting.
These adoptions occur when a new husband or wife decides to adopt the child(ren) of their spouse. A spouse petitioning the court to legally become their stepchild(ren)’s parent is very common in the United states. If both legal parents still retain parental rights, the rights of the non-residing parent must have already been relinquished prior to the stepparent initiating the adoption process.
Newborn & Infant Adoptions
Aside from the adoption of a foster child or publicly adopting a baby, when you decide to adopt a newborn baby or an infant those are typically private adoptions. These are the result of a private agreement between the baby’s birthparents who have decided to relinquish their parental rights voluntarily and the adoptive parent(s). Dedicated ethical adoption attorneys play a vital role in not only protecting the legal rights of the birthparents but also the adoptive parent(s), and the baby who is being adopted.
Foster Child(ren) Adoptions
When you decide to adopt a foster child that you’ve been caring for, you are embarking on a public adoption. This is when an experienced adoption attorney can guide the foster parents through meeting the often confusing requirements of the DFPS. Your adoption attorney will represent you at case conferences, court appearances, and appeals hearings.