DIFFICULTY: Legal assistance is recommended
Initial Filing Fee: $87
Unlike many other states, Texas is very particular about providing access to their adoption application forms. Before you can apply for adoption you will need to attend a free informational meeting provided by Child Protective Services. After the meeting, if you still wish to adopt, you need to use the information you have been given to contact a Department of Family and Protective Services staff member who will then provide you with adoption application forms and some advice for how to proceed. It is generally a good idea when adopting children from other countries to employ an international adoption lawyer to assist you, as there are a variety of visas and forms that you will need to take care of in the child’s original country as well as in Texas. If you are looking to adopt a child from another state, or you live in another state and wish to adopt a child born in Texas, then you will need to get approval from both states for the adoption. If you are attempting to adopt the child of your kin, then you can proceed with the adoption process as normal, assuming your kin has either voluntarily sacrificed their custody rights or have had them removed by a court of law. Finally, if you intended to adopt a child of Indian ancestry then you will need to discuss the particulars with an attorney and a DFPS staff member so that you proceed in accordance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Step 1: Attend Informational Meeting
In Texas, you need to attend a Child Protective Services informational meeting about becoming a foster or adoptive parent before the state will provide you with an adoption application. The meeting is a great opportunity, however, to resolve any questions or concerns you have prior to the application process.
Step 2: Receive Adoption Materials
After you have attended a meeting, you should contact a Child Protective Services / DFPS staff member to receive your adoption application form.
Step 3: Preliminary Screening
When you complete the application form, you will meet with a Department of Family and Protective Services staff member to ensure that you meet all the requirements for adoption in alignment with Texas law.
Step 4: Attend PRIDE Training
Attend 35-hours of Texas PRIDE training (Parent Resource Information Development Education). This training will teach you everything you need to know about caring for an adopted child, and is part of the process of assessing whether you are ready or capable of adopting a child.
Step 5: Meet With Caseworker in Your Home
A caseworker will visit your home to discuss your history, lifestyle, family interests, experience with childcare, and the type of children you feel would best fit in your home.
Step 6: Choose a Child to Adopt
If the DFPS approves your application then they will work with you to choose a child to adopt and place that child in your home.
Step 7: File Official Adoption Papers
After at least 6 months, you will finally have the option (Following a post-placement house visit) to fill out and file a Certificate of Adoption at your local courthouse. At this point, the adoption process is complete and you are officially considered the legal parents of your adopted child.