First Steps in the Texas Adoption Process

Can I adopt even if I am single and don't make a lot of money?

By S.M. Oliva

Adopting a child is major undertaking. An adoptive parent assumes all of the same legal rights and responsibilities as a natural parent. Because of the permanent nature of the adoptive relationship, there are a number of legal formalities that a prospective parent must follow.

Requirements for Adoption

Most responsible adults are capable of adopting a child under Texas law. You do not have to be married, although if you are your spouse must join in any adoption petition. You will also need to provide state authorities with legal proof of any marriage or divorce.

You must be able to demonstrate that you are “financially stable.” This does not mean you have to be independently wealthy or even own your own home. It simply means that you must be a mature adult who is capable of providing for a child's short- and long-term needs.

Required Meetings and Training

The first thing you need to do if you are interested in adoption is to find and attend an information meeting sponsored by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). These meetings are held throughout the year in the Houston and Dallas areas, and are free of charge. At the meeting, DFPS staff will provide basic information on the adoption process and answer any questions that you might have.

If you meet the basic requirements discussed above, DFPS staff will meet with you and begin the process of assessing your family's fitness for adoption. You will be required to undergo several hours of training with an organization known as the Parent Resource Information Development Education (PRIDE). PRIDE trains both prospective foster and adoptive families. You will also need to complete a home study with an adoption caseworker.

Dealing With Private Agencies

The DFPS works with a number of private adoption agencies throughout the state to assist with the placement of children in homes. Many of these agencies have their own requirements for adopting, including passing a criminal background check, being at least 25 years old, and in the case of some religious-based groups membership in a particular church. A Texas family law attorney can also assist you when dealing with the DFPS and private adoption agencies to help ensure you meet all necessary requirements.

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