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What is required to adopt a child in Texas?

When wanting to adopt a child in Texas, an individual or couple must meet basic requirements and be able to fulfill certain responsibilities. The types of people who wish to adopt vary, but one must be at least 21 years of age, responsible, mature and financially stable. Potential adoptive parents must fill out an application, give multiple references, submit to a criminal history background check and agree to a home study. Parents must also attend free training that covers issues concerning neglected or abused children.

Adoptive parents have ongoing responsibilities to children that include nurturing them and giving them necessities like housing and the means for an education. Parents must commit to a lifelong relationship with children and provide for short-term and long-term needs that may include emotional, cultural, physical and social support.

While a family's permanent plan may be adoption, families can also be certified to foster children. This allows a family to foster a child who is not legally free for adoption yet and may increase the opportunities for successfully adopting children. When fostering a child, adoptive families must be prepared to help a child reunite with birth parents. If it is in a child's best interests, termination of parental rights may occur. This gives foster parents the chance to adopt a child they are caring for.

Providing a home for a child who does not have one is generally viewed as a positive thing, but this does not mean the adoption process will be easy. Courts want to ensure minors find a permanent home where the best interests of the child will be met. The adoption process takes time and involves many steps, so prospective parents may want to consult an attorney to assist with the home study, application and background check.

Source: Texas Adoption Resource Exchange, "Requirements for Foster/Adopt Families", September 26, 2014

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