Waxahachie Adoption Information

Provided by a Qualified Waxahachie Family Lawyer

At Loucks & Drew, P.L.L.C., we know the joy associated with adding a new child to the family, but we also understand the difficulties that come along with an adoption. We want to help you adopt the child you want, and we will do everything we can to make the adoption process as smooth as possible, so you can get through the adoption process and begin caring for your new family.

General Adoption Procedures

In order to legally adopt a child, you must first file an adoption petition with your local court and go through an adoption hearing. A standard adoption petition typically includes the following information:

  • The names, ages and address of the adoptive parents
  • The names, ages and legal parents of the child to be adopted
  • Any existing relationship between the adoptive parents and the child to be adopted
  • The legal reason that the birth parents' rights are being terminated
  • A statement that the adoptive parents are the appropriate people to adopt the child
  • A statement that the adoption would be in the best interests of the child

Written consent from the birth parents or a court order terminating the rights of the birth parents is typically filed with the petition for adoption.

Prior to the adoption hearing, you must provide notice of the hearing to anyone who must consent to the adoption. This typically includes the biological parents, the adoption agency (if you are going through an agency), the child's legal guardian and the child to be adopted. At the adoption hearing, the court must determine whether the adoption would be in the best interest of the child. If the court finds that such an adoption would be in the child's best interests, the court will issue a final decree of adoption, which legalizes the adoption and establishes a new relationship between the child and the adoptive parents.

In Texas, any adult may file a petition to adopt a child, regardless of whether that adult is married, single, separated or divorced. If a couple is married and one spouse seeks to adopt, the other spouse must consent to the adoption and the couple must file a joint adoption petition. While it is against the law to discriminate based solely upon race, ethnicity, social background, age or income level, certain individuals may be required to provide additional information to support their adoption application, such as how the expenses of the child will be paid or how child care will be provided.

Because of the complexities associated with the adoption process--particularly if you are not going through an adoption agency--it is important that you retain the assistance of a Waxahachie child custody attorney who is experienced in adoption procedures.

Interstate Adoptions

If you are interested in adopting a child from another state, you must comply with the adoption requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), an agreement between the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The ICPC requires that the adoption laws of both states be observed, that the movement of children across state lines complies with both state and federal law and that the children be protected at all times. For an adoption petition to be granted, you must first demonstrate compliance with the ICPC.

Additionally, 42 states, including Texas, are part of the Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA), an agreement that coordinates the payment of benefits to children with special needs who are involved in interstate adoptions. The payments to adopted children governed by ICAMA include Medicaid, Title IV-E and Title XX payments. If you choose to adopt a special needs child from another state, you must also be sure that you comply with all ICAMA regulations.

International Adoptions

If you seek to adopt a child from another country, you must comply not only with Texas law but also with the federal laws promulgated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), formally known as Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). You must first file an application with the USCIS. This application consists of:

  • A USCIS form
  • A home study to determine fitness to adopt
  • An application fee
  • Other supporting documentation

The form that you file with the USCIS depends on the foreign country from which you wish to adopt. After you are qualified to adopt, the USCIS must also approve the child for adoption based upon factors such as:

  • The health of the child
  • Whether the child meets the requirements of his or her country of origin
  • Ability to meet all the prerequisites for immigration into the United States

International adoptions are often more expensive than domestic adoptions. The expenses associated with such an adoption include:

  • Travel expenses
  • INS fees
  • Fees for additional documentation
  • Agency fees
  • Foreign court fees

In addition to added expenses, international adoptions often involve a longer waiting period. However, despite the increased difficulties, international adoptions are often a wonderful way to adopt a child who is in need of the loving care that you are able to provide.

Assisting Families with Their Adoptions

If you are preparing to adopt a new child into your family, the lawyers at Loucks & Drew, P.L.L.C., want to help you through the process. We make it our goal to help others, as they add to their families. Our attorneys have experience in a number of areas of family law, including child custody, adoption and family law litigation, and we use this experience to resolve your family law issues in an effective manner. Contact a Waxahachie child custody lawyer at our firm today for assistance with your adoption.