Who can Adopt in Texas?
In Texas, an adult may seek to adopt a child if:
1) the child lives in Texas;
2) the parent-child relationship of each living parent is terminated (or a
suit for termination is filed with adoption);
3) a parent whose rights haven't been terminate is currently the spouse of the person filing for the adoption;
4) the child is at least 2 years old, the rights of one parent have been terminated, and the person seeking the adoption is a former step parent who has been a managing conservator, or has had actual care, possession, and control of the child for one year prior to the adoption. Tex. Fam. Code § 162.001(a)-(c).
What is the process for Adoption Texas?
One of the first things that will happen after filing a Petition for Adoption is the assignment of a Guardian Ad Litem and a Custody Evaluation.
A Guardian Ad Litem is a person appointed by the court to act in the best interest of the child. Sometimes, the Guardian Ad Litem will conduct the custody evaluation and sometimes they may not. The Guardian Ad Litem is given wide latitude as well as access to records and information necessary to determine the best interest of the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 107.002(a)-(i).
The custody evaluation will provide information to the court regarding the child, the prospective adoptive parent(s), as well as the living conditions and various environment(s) of the child. This will usually consist of several visits and observations of the child, interviews with the child and prospective parents, obtaining school records (if old enough), medical records (if deemed necessary), possibly interviews with suture siblings (if siblings are at least 4 years old, and anyone else the custody evaluator deems necessary to determine the best interest of the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 107.109(a)-(d).
While this evaluation might seem long and sometimes invasive, it's purpose is to help the court decide if your adoption is in the best interest of the child---but also to help you decide if adoption is really right for your family. Having an attorney who can help you in the process while assisting you compile and organize all the necessary information is invaluable.