Bringing a chosen child into your family generates a special kind of joy. Adoption is one of the most fulfilling experiences a family could embark upon, but it can also be a long and complex process. A family must consider many variables before making this critical decision.
Adopting a child will change everything about your life and your family. Be as prepared as you can be by working with an experienced Wells Branch adoption lawyer at Angela Faye Brown & Associates. Our dedicated family attorneys could guide you through all the legal formalities so you know what to expect every step of the way.
Adoption is the process of making a minor who is not the biological offspring of a specific adult or couple their legal child. An adopted child has identical rights to biological children, and adoptive parents have identical rights to biological parents.
According to Texas Family Code §162.001, a child may have only one set of legal parents at a time. For a child with living biological parent(s) to legally qualify for adoption, the biological parent(s) must relinquish their parental rights, or a court must terminate their rights.
A court’s primary consideration when deciding whether to terminate a biological parent’s rights or approve an adoption is what is in the best interest of the child. Factors that help a court determine the child’s best interest include their happiness, freedom from physical or emotional abuse, physical safety, intellectual development, and emotional adjustment. A court might also consider the child’s wishes and must do so if the child is at least 12 years old and capable of communicating their own opinion.
There are various ways a family might come to adopt a child, but the legal system must be involved to bestow parental rights on the adoptive parent(s). A Wells Branch attorney with experience handling adoptions could explain the specific procedures necessary in a particular situation.
Relative adoptions happen when a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or even older sibling adopt a child. Typically, the child’s biological parents have died or cannot properly care for the child themselves.
A child might be placed in foster care if there is a question about the biological parents’ fitness or if the biological parents are deceased or incarcerated. If the biological parents surrender their parental rights or their rights are terminated, the foster parents could adopt the child.
A stepparent might adopt their spouse’s child from a prior relationship. As the child’s biological parent and the prospective adoptive parent have already established a home and a relationship with the child, these adoptions can be simpler and less expensive than other adoptions. However, the child’s other biological parent must be deceased, agree to give up their parental rights, or bring an action to terminate their parental rights. Courts will not grant these petitions without convincing evidence that a biological parent is unfit.
Couples sometimes work with an agency to adopt a child from overseas. This method can be expensive and complex. It requires help from a Wells Branch attorney with international adoption experience to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and ensure that the child can obtain US citizenship.
Private adoption agencies can match prospective parents with a mother or a couple in the United States who wants to place their child for adoption. These adoptions can be closed, meaning the biological parents’ identities are sealed, or open. In many open adoptions, the biological parents receive information about the child, and in some, they even maintain a continuing relationship.
Adopting a child is a beautiful act, but the process can be slow, complex, frustrating, and expensive. If the child’s biological parent is alive and unwilling to relinquish their parental rights, the process of terminating those rights can be emotionally devastating for everyone involved.
A Wells Branch adoption lawyer understands the legal process and has the emotional intelligence to provide sound counsel and support to adoptive parents. If you have decided to expand your family through adoption, call Angela Faye Brown & Associates today to schedule a consultation.