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Adoption of a Child
Generally adults may adopt children, subject to well established rules and limitation found in the Texas Family Code Section 162.001. Any adult wishing to adopt a child must meet the standing requirements of TFC 102. Rules governing the adoption of children residing in this state are outlined below. Adoption of children brought from outside the State of Texas additionally require compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, which is generally referred to as “ICPC”.
Texas law provides agencies with the widest range for placements, in that any single or married adult is eligible to adopt a child available for adoption. The Texas Family Code expressly states that race or ethnicity is not to be considered in the placement of a child for adoption; however Federal Law creates an exception for Native American children. Adoptions involving children with Native American ancestry may require consent from the tribal counsel, see Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. 1901, et seq.
A child in this state may be adopted if:
- the parent-child relationship as to each living parent of the child has been terminated or a suit for termination is joined with
the suit for adoption;
- the parent whose rights have not been terminated is presently the spouse of the petitioner and the proceeding is for a
- the child is at least two years old, the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to one parent, the person seeking the adoption has been a managing conservator or has had actual care, possession, and control of the child for a
period of six months preceding the adoption or is the child’s former stepparent, and the nonterminated parent consents to the adoption; or
- the child is at least two years old, the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to one parent, and the
person seeking the adoption is the child’s former stepparent and has been a managing conservator or has had actual care, possession, and control of the child for a period of one year preceding the adoption.
Process to obtain Adoption Order
In broad brush adoption requires that the Petitioner (if married requires both spouses join) file a verified petition containing a compliance statement with the ICPC in all cases. That petition, along with a specialized social study, in some cases a health,
social, education, and genetic history report, a criminal history report for the adopting parent, six months residence of the child
with the adoptive parent (unless waived), and written consent of the managing conservator, unless the petitioner is the
managing conservator. Attendance by petitioner at the final hearing is required, and in cases where there are joint petitioners,
both must attend unless it would be unduly difficult for one of the petitioner, in which case a waiver is required. In all cases,
where the child to be adopted is 12 or older, the child must attend unless waiver is granted.
A child adopted through a licensed child placing agency, person, or entity shall inform the prospective adoptive parents of the
right to examine the records or other information relating to the history of the child.
Adoption Order From a Foreign County
A child adopted in a foreign country by a resident of Texas may register the order in this state. A petition for registration of a
foreign adoption order may be combined with a petition for a name change. On the Court finding that the order was rendered
to a resident of this state, and should be accorded full faith and credit, then the Court shall order the State Register (Dept. of
Vital Statistics) to register the order and file a birth certificate, allowing the child to have an original Texas birth certificate.
Interstate Compact – Placement of Children for Adoption
Applies all adoptions that involve children, crossing state lines, placement through licensed agencies, persons, or entities;
and the object of the rules is to insure the safety of the child placement and to prevent trafficking of children.
For a complete discussion of ICPC rules, you are directed to the Texas Family Code Section 161.101.
Generally involves inheritance rights, hybrid family relationships, cross adoption in same sex relationships to affect standing. So when an adult adopts another person as his child, the person adopted qualifies as “bodily issue” under a Will. Adult adoptees have the same inheritance rights as children adopted by the same adult. However there are important limitations about inheritance that need to be understood that affect “intestate succession” or in cases where inheritance is from the biological parent of the adopting adult.
Adult Adoption in Texas is processed generally in District Court, however the statute and local procedures may allow for a different outcome, as the rule provides for district court or statutory county court granted jurisdiction in family law cases, and more specifically in the instance of Dallas County, Adult Adoptions are processed in the Juvenile District Court. It is important at time of filing to ask the Clerk, if the petition is being filed in the appropriate court with the proper statutory jurisdiction.
Any adult may adopt another, if they are single, and the adoptee adult consents. Married adults must obtain their spouses’ consent, along with the adoptee adult consent before proceeding. The Petitioner and the adoptee adult must both attend the hearing, unless for good cause shown, waiver is obtained for the adoptee adult, evidenced by written order.
In Texas, the Adult adopted under the statute is the son or daughter of the adoptive adult for all purposes. An adopted adult is entitled to inherit from and through the adoptive adult, as though the adopted adult were the biological child of the adoptive adult. However, the adoptive adult may not inherit (intestate) from or through the adoptive adult’s biological parents. And finally the biological parent may not inherit from or through an adopted adult.