Watching your friends sharing pictures of their growing children on Facebook may have been difficult for you. As much as you love your nieces and nephews, a child of your own is something you have dreamed about for some time. Now that you have made the decision to adopt a child, you probably have many questions and, perhaps, even a little fear.
Whether you have struggled with infertility as one in eight couples do, or you are a single person hoping to raise a child, your commitment to the adoption process is crucial. If you are still uncertain, having a better understanding of how adoption works may solidify your determination to enter this rewarding process.
In Texas, if you are at least 21 years old, you can be married or single to qualify for adoption. In addition, there are other eligibility requirements you must meet, including the following:
- Apply for adoption
- Have financial security
- Submit answers to questions about your lifestyle and history
- Provide personal references
- Agree to a home study
If you are married or divorced, you may have to provide proof of this as well as submitting to a criminal background check. Adoption agents will also screen any adult who lives in your household.
The home study
Once you have applied to adopt, an agent from the adoption agency or a state agency will come to your home for a visit. During this visit, the caseworker will interview you and the other members of your household. Some of the topics you can expect to discuss include the following:
- Personal information about your past
- Particular interests your family shares
- The general lifestyle you live
- Your experiences with children
- Your ability to meet the needs of a child
- Any criminal issues from your past
- Your financial situation
- Your medical history
After this visit, you will endure the hardest part: the wait. The length of your wait depends on many factors, such as whether your preference is for a newborn or an older child. If you are adopting internationally, your process will be much more complex and will likely involve traveling. If you hope to adopt an infant, expectant mothers may receive your profile for their consideration. Adopting through the foster care system involves a different procedure altogether.
Once your child is placed with you, there are additional steps to take to finalize the adoption. Seeking the guidance of an attorney with knowledge of Texas adoption laws can prove invaluable to preventing delays in the process and ensuring the adoption of your child meets all legal standards every step of the way.