Adoption Lawyers in Central Texas
Our adoption attorneys are delighted to be involved in the Texas adoption process. We believe that family is important. We have operated family owned law firm here in Waco since 1925. Our family has helped the family law needs for Wacoans for generations. Adoption is one of the most positive things that can occur in a courtroom and Dunnam & Dunnam finds it an honor to be involved in such matters. If you need an adoption lawyer in Central Texas, call Dunnam & Dunnam at 254-753-6437.
What is the process to adopt a child in Texas?
1. Determine if you are eligible to adopt. Texas law provides some basic requirements that prospective parents must meet. To be eligible to adopt in Texas, a person must:
- Be at least 21 years old.
- Be willing to complete an application and provide references from family members and non-family members.
- Undergo a criminal background check
- Complete a home study
- Attend training to learn about abused or neglected children
2. Decide if you will adopt from the Department of Family and Protective Services (“DFPS”) or a private adoption agency.
3. Locate a private adoption agency in your area.
4. If you work with the DFPS, attend an adoption information meeting. Adoption information meetings are free of charge, and no appointment is needed to attend. To find an information meeting near you, select your county from the drop-down box located on the DFPS’s Adoption Information Meetings webpage. If no information meeting is scheduled in your area, you will be provided with the contact information for DFPS staff in your area to obtain the adoption information.
5. Register for and attend a Parent Resource Information Development Education (“PRIDE”) class. PRIDE is a training program provided by Child Protective Services (“CPS”) and required for all adoptive parents. PRIDE consists of sessions on loss and grief, child attachment, and the effects of adopting a family. To register, call the Metropolitan One Church One Child of Texas, Inc. at, (713) 988-2658.
6. Complete a home study. A home study must be conducted by a licensed child placement agency and will consist of an in-home inspection and interview with all household members. Talk to DFPS or your private adoption agency about scheduling your home study. Minimum standards used in conducting the home study can be located on the DFPS’sDFPS’s website on its Guidelines for Home Studies page. Issues that will be addressed during the home study include:
- Motivation. The caseworker who conducts your home study will ask about your reasons for adopting and how long you have considered adoption. They are looking to indicate that you want to love and nurture children and connect them to lifelong relationships.
- Applicants’ feelings about themselves, their parents, and their childhood. Your caseworker will ask you about your childhood, how you were disciplined, and what you would do differently than your parents.
- Family interaction. You will be asked to provide details about your current and previous relationships, religion, family rules, extended family, and stress.
- Home environment. The caseworker will look at your neighborhood, home maintenance, housekeeping standards, and sleeping arrangements. It would help if you were prepared to discuss your financial situation, safety issues (such as firearms, stairs, and medications), and your ability to manage money.
- How you deal with separation and loss. Be prepared to discuss any losses you have suffered and how you dealt with them, as well as how that has equipped you to deal with losses suffered by the adopted child, such as his or her birth parents and placement in your home.
- How you deal with children who have been physically or sexually abused and neglected. Your caseworker will want to know about your understanding of the dynamics of child abuse and neglect and your ability to help the child with their experience of abuse or neglect.
- Child management and discipline. During your home study, you will be asked how you were disciplined as a child, how you feel about the discipline now, how you intend to discipline the child, and how to make your plan consistent with DFPS’sDFPS’s disciplinary policy.
7. Look for a child to adopt. There are several ways that you can locate children awaiting adoption, including:
- Use the DFPS search tool. If you are working with DFPS to adopt a child, you may search for children waiting for a forever family using the DFPS Search for Children Waiting for Adoption database.
- Register for a free account at AdoptUSKids.org. Adopt USKids allows register users to access child and sibling group profiles, create an online profile for your family, and inquire about children with a click of the mouse.
- Search the National Adoption Center’s Children Waiting for Adoption database. The database includes photographs and information about each child’s abilities, interests, and hobbies.
- Look for children awaiting adoption on the Adopt America Network website. The Adopt America Network specializes in finding homes for challenging to place and special needs children.
- View photos and profiles of children awaiting adoption at Children Awaiting Parents (“CAP”), an organization dedicated to finding foster children’s homes.
- Meet waiting children at the Northwest Adoption Exchange. The Exchange provides photos and profiles of children awaiting adoption in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.
- Select a child. Before choosing a child, learn all that you can about the child’s background and birth family, interests, hobbies, and family ties. You want to choose a child that will fit right in with your family, without too much adjustment.
8. Complete any required pre-placement visits. DFPS or your adoption agency may require pre-placement visits to ensure that your family and home are ready for your chosen child.
9. Bring your child home. Once you have completed all of the pre-placement and home study requirements, DFPS or your adoption agency will make arrangements for you to bring your child home.
10. Hire an adoption attorney. Once your child has been placed in your home, you will need to go through the Court process of making the child legally yours. You may choose to do this yourself, but the process is complicated, and an experienced adoption attorney will be able to move your adoption along smoothly and quickly.
11. Attend a final adoption hearing. You, your adopted child, and any other children you have should attend the final adoption hearing. Your attorney will be present, as well. The Court will ask you a few basic questions, review the file to ensure that all requirements have been met, and sign the adoption decree.
12. Ensure that the child’s birth certificate is reissued. In order to have your child’s birth certificate reissued showing you (and your spouse is applicable) as the birth parents, you or your attorney will need to complete a Certificate of Adoption by following the instructions provided on page 2 of the Certificate.
Get a lawyer for your adoption case
To discuss your adoption matter with an experienced Central Texas adoption lawyer, contact an experienced family law attorney at Dunnam & Dunnam by calling 254-753-6437.
Hire a Waco Adoption Lawyer
Brittany is a member of the McLennan County Bar Association, and McLennan County Young Lawyers Association.Read More
Carolina G. Truesdale graduated from Texas Tech University School of Law, Cum Laude.Read More
Eleeza's practice areas include: Personal Injury Law, Civil Trial Law, Commercial Law, Family Law and Pharmaceutical Law.Read More
Gerald R. Villarrial has practiced family law, criminal law and civil litigation for over 20 years.Read More
Jim Dunnam is a Board Certified Specialist in both Civil Trial Law and Family Law.Read More
Mason Dunnam is the fourth generation of Dunnam attorneys at the firm since 1925Read More
Merrilee L. Harmon is a Family Law specialist, Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1985.Read More