Adopting a child should be a wonderful and fulfilling experience. Many families, however, find it challenging to navigate the adoption process in Texas. If you have found a child whom you wish to adopt, it is important that you seek counsel before you go through with the adoption. There are legal resources available to help you better understand all aspects of what can turn out to be a complex and emotional process.
The experienced Austin adoption attorneys at Peek & Toland have had years of experience helping clients unite with children in need. We can provide you with guidance every step of the way so you can avoid any pitfalls and make the process go much more smoothly. To learn more about what our firm can do for you, call (512) 474-4445.
Types of Adoptions
You can adopt a child in Austin through a private adoption agency, an international adoption agency, or through Child Protective Services. Newborns can be adopted through private agencies that work directly with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Prospective parents can adopt children of all ages through international adoption agencies. Austin couples can also adopt children of all ages who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment through Child Protective Services.
The Adoption Process
If you are hoping to adopt a child in Austin, the agency you are working with will have to determine if you are a valid candidate. They will likely review your background and the safety of your residence. If your home is approved, you could be matched for an open or closed adoption. In an open adoption, you will meet the birth parents and maintain contact with them. In a closed adoption, you will be provided very little information about the biological parents.
Not all adoption proceedings involve agencies. If your spouse has a child from a previous marriage, you may want to adopt his or her child. There are many complications that can arise from a stepparent adoption because adopting a stepchild can result in the termination of the rights of the biological parent. This process may prove challenging if the biological parent does not wish to give up his or her rights.
The parent or stepparent wishing to adopt is not the only party that will need legal support. In some cases, a spouse may wish to veto an adoption. Unwed biological parents do not have an absolute right to veto an adoption, but they can take action to preserve their right to veto an adoption. It is advisable for parents who do not wish to allow their child to be adopted to:
- Formally acknowledge parenthood
- Provide reasonable economic support for the parent with primary custody
- Regularly visit and communicate with the child and make your intentions clear
These types of cases are sensitive and complicated. It is important that the rights of the parents are protected and that the best interests of the child are taken into consideration at all times.
Protecting the Rights of Adopted Children
When the adopted child becomes an adult, he or she has certain rights under the law. He or she has the right to see a summary of his or her Social, Health, Educational, and Genetic History report. The “child” has the right to enter a voluntary registry to find his or her natural parents and siblings. In many cases, these children also have the right to inherit property from their natural parents. In Texas, however, adoption records are sealed and the child does not have access to those records.
If you are an adoptive parent, a biological parent or an adopted child who would like more information about your legal rights, a Texas adoption attorney at Peek & Toland will be able to help you. The adoption process is not only a complex legal puzzle, but also an emotionally charged one. It is important that families have the resources they need to go through this process successfully.