People choose adoption for various reasons personal to them and their families, whether it be the inability to have children or wanting to help a child out of the foster system.
Whatever the reason for adopting a child, you must follow the set legal procedure that is long and complicated.
Eligibility to Adopt
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) stipulates what group of people qualifies to adopt a child from the Texas foster care system. Adoptive parents can be single or married. They must also be 21 or older, financially stable, responsible, and mature, complete an application, and share their background and lifestyle information.
The applicant must also provide references and evidence to support their applications, including proof of marriage or divorce, financial documents, etc. After filling out an application and providing all the necessary information, the home must pass a suitability test.
Also, all adult household members must undergo a background check focusing on a history of child abuse. So, before you even start the process, it is best to check if you check all the boxes for eligibility. If you are unsure, you may consider talking to an adoption lawyer.
Choosing an Agency
There are several options for adoption, all of which have different processes. But if you want to go through the Texas foster care system, the first step should be creating a profile on TARE (Texas Adoption Resource Exchange). After creating a profile, you must choose a licensed child placing agency (CPA) to work with. Not all adoptive agencies are the same, so you will want to research to ensure that you only work with the best.
Some things to consider when picking a CPA are total costs, wait times, disruption rates, and the level of support they offer before and after adoption.
Background Checks and Home Study
Once you choose a CPA, the next step will be a series of background checks that include state and federal background checks on you and other adult household members.
“A criminal history doesn’t necessarily make you ineligible to adopt a child, but it will depend on the crime and when it happened,” says family lawyer Matt Towson.
After passing a background check, a case worker will come to your house for a home study. A home study is more of a walkthrough of your home to determine if it is suitable for a child. During the home study, you will discuss the preferred age range and any limitations of a child’s traumatic history.
The Final Stage
The entire process typically takes three to six months, but it could be more in some situations. Adopting through the state should cost you $300 and $400, but it may cost you significantly more when adopting through a private agency, from other states, or outside of America.
If approved for adoption, the child moves to your household. Most children who go through the foster care system may have gone through more than you could imagine, so their socialization may not be what you expect. The best approach is to be patient with them and yourself. With the right mindset and love, you can overcome all challenges.