Choosing to adopt is a wonderful way to care for a child in need and fulfill your dreams of having a family. The Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, works with families of all shapes and sizes to streamline the adoption process and ensure families receive the support they need after finalizing an adoption.
Preparing for Adoption
Like many other family law proceedings, adoption requires families to open up their lives to the court’s scrutiny. Your lifestyle and background will play an important role in their determination of eligibility. The state will look for information regarding:
- Your age (you must be at least 21 and a responsible adult to adopt)
- Financial stability and security
- References from extended family members
- Comprehensive background checks, including any reports of abuse or neglect
- Your marital status (a person does not have to be married to adopt in Texas)
- Your home life and lifestyle
Every aspect of an adoption proceeding must be handled carefully and completely. If the proceedings do not include all the necessary information, the state could declare your adoption invalid. Our firm regularly helps cisgender and LGBTQ parents, step-parents, and grandparents who are seeking to adopt family members, children from international adoption agencies, and children from domestic public and private adoption agencies.
Family Member Adoptions and Surrogacy
Step-parent adoptions allow mother and father figures to play a permanent role in a child’s life, and are often in the best interest of the child. In these cases, a biological parent must terminate his or her rights as a parent. If a biological parent currently plays no role in a child’s life, a step-parent adoption may be the best way to give a child a well-rounded and loving family environment. Step-parents who adopt their children have more legal rights and can play an active role in a child’s education, health and wellness, and general instruction.
In some cases, grandparents will adopt a grandchild to take a child out of a bad situation. To do that, both biological parents must terminate their own parental rights or the grandparents must prove that the biological parents are unfit or that the parents are deceased.
Parents who cannot have their own children often opt to use a surrogate. After a surrogate gives birth, she and her spouse are presumed to be the child’s parents. The original parents must adopt their child after birth to make the family unit official.
Terminating Parental Rights
However, a biological parent cannot simply decide to relinquish his or her rights during an adoption proceeding. The court must come to its own conclusion and create a court order recognizing the formal, voluntary termination.
In some cases, the courts will involuntarily terminate parental rights. Parents who have a history of abandonment, neglect, child endangerment, criminal conduct, or other characteristics that prevent a parent from taking a responsible role may not have the opportunity to keep parental rights. The courts will, in every case, determine which outcome is in the best interest of the child.
A child may not have more than two parents. In order to complete an adoption in Texas, the legal parents’ rights in the state must be terminated. Once completed, the termination of parental rights is permanent.
Choosing a Killeen Adoption Attorney
Your adoption attorney will play a key role in the outcome of your family’s adoption pursuits. Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, wants to help you navigate the complexities of adoption in Texas so you can start spending time with your new family as soon as possible. We look forward to helping you file your Petition for Adoption, securing a termination of parental rights (if needed), and ensuring that future questions surrounding the adoption never arise. When you’re ready to get started, please call our office for a free case evaluation.