Adoption can be a beautiful way to expand your family and open your heart to a child in need. If you have a strong desire to welcome a child into your home and have patience and love to give, adoption is an excellent option worth pursuing.
Many families do not know where or how to start the adoption process or what the process entails. The adoption lawyers in Dallas at the Law Office of Julie Johnson are here to help. We can help you make the best decisions for your family, explain the options and walk you through the adoption process step-by-step until completion, i.e., until your final adoption order is signed, and you bring your new child home as a legal part of your family.
Types of Adoption: Open vs. Closed
There are several types of adoption from which to choose, each with its own pros and cons.
- Closed adoptions – Closed adoptions refer to those in which the adoptive parents and the biological parents have no contact with each other, and the process is kept anonymous. Once placed, the birth parents receive no information about the child.
- Open adoptions – In an open adoption, the birth parents and the adoptive parents meet each other and decide how much (if any) contact the birth parents are to have with the child after the adoption. In some cases, the birth parents will have regular visitation with the child post-placement.
- Semi-open adoptions – Far more common than closed or open adoptions are semi-open adoptions, in which both sets of parents have some degree of knowledge of and contact with each other, perhaps meeting at some point during the adoption process, and then perhaps exchanging letters about the child’s development periodically.
Types of Adoption: Domestic vs. International
Families will need to determine where they want to pursue the adoption. Private adoptions are those that do not involve a placement agency; the adoptive parents have found a child they want to adopt, and/or the biological parents want some say in who will adopt their child.
If the adoption isn’t through a private agency, it’ll generally be through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Your adoption attorneys in Dallas will be able to explain the benefits of each and help you decide which one will be right for your family’s situation.
In terms of where to adopt you child, adoptive families have two basic choices.
- Domestic adoptions – The state of Texas has scores of children who need to be placed in homes. Domestic adoptions involve children either from the DFPS or from other states (interstate adoptions).
- International adoptions – Some families have it in their hearts to adopt a child from a foreign country. While the process is lengthier and expensive than domestic adoptions, adoption lawyers in Dallas can help families navigate and expedite the process.
Adoption Laws in Texas
Texas contains lengthy and detailed laws and procedures for adoption. The laws are meant to protect everyone involved – the birth parents, the biological parents and the child.
Strict adherence to the laws and procedures is crucial because failure to do so can stall the adoption process or bar your rights to adopt a child. Having a good understanding of your rights and responsibilities is another reason to seek an attorney’s help.
Some of the laws and procedures involved in Texas adoptions are below.
- Termination of parental rights
- Criminal background checks
- Home studies and interviews with family members
- References from family and non-family members
- Collecting other documents that prove your family’s stability
- Petition to change the child’s name
Cost Considerations for Adoptions
Cost and time are two major considerations when deciding what type of adoption your family wants to pursue. Costs can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending upon the circumstances. Domestic, state agency adoptions generally are far less expensive and quicker than international adoptions. Your attorney will be able to provide estimates of your costs and the adoption timeline.
A Dallas Adoption Attorney Can Help Your Family Attain Your Goals
If you are considering adopting a child in Texas, call our Dallas adoption attorneys at the Law Office of Julie Johnson for a consultation. Contact us today at 214-265-7630 to schedule a consultation at your convenience.