Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Texas

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Fam. Code §§ 162.003; 107.153; 162.009; 162.010; 162.016

In a suit for adoption, an adoption evaluation must be conducted as provided in chapter 107.

The court shall order the performance of an adoption evaluation to evaluate each party who requests termination of the parent-child relationship or an adoption in a suit for an adoption. The adoption evaluation must include an evaluation of the circumstances and the condition of the home and social environment of any person requesting to adopt a child.

The court may not grant an adoption until the child has resided with the petitioner for at least 6 months.

Unless the managing conservator is the petitioner, the written consent of a managing conservator to the adoption must be filed.

If a petition requesting termination of the parent's parental rights has been joined with a petition requesting adoption, the court also shall terminate the parent-child relationship at the same time the adoption order is rendered. The court must make separate findings that the termination is in the best interests of the child and that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.

If the court finds that the requirements for adoption have been met and the adoption is in the best interests of the child, the court shall grant the adoption. The name of the child may be changed in the order, if requested.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Fam. Code §§ 162.005; 162.0085; 162.602

Before placing a child for adoption, the Department of Family and Protective Services, a licensed child-placing agency, or the child's parent or guardian shall compile a report on the available health, social, educational, and genetic history of the child to be adopted.

In a suit affecting the parent-child relationship in which an adoption is sought, the court shall order each person seeking to adopt the child to obtain that person's own criminal history record information. The court shall accept a person's criminal history record information that is provided by the department or by a licensed child-placing agency that received the information from the department if the information was obtained not more than 1 year before the date the court ordered the history to be obtained.

At the time a petition for adoption is filed, the petitioner also shall file completed documentation that may be used by the clerk of the court, at the time the petition is granted, to comply with § 108.003, Family Code, and § 192.009, Health and Safety Code.

Background Studies

Citation: Fam. Code § 107.159; Admin. Code Tit. 40, § 745.9077

Unless otherwise agreed to by the court, the preplacement part of an adoption evaluation must comply with the minimum requirements for the preplacement part of an adoption evaluation under rules adopted by the commissioner of the department.

Unless a child who is the subject of the suit begins to reside in a prospective adoptive home before the suit is commenced, an adoption evaluator shall file with the court a report containing the evaluator's findings and conclusions made after completion of the preplacement portion of the adoption evaluation. In a suit filed after the date a child who is the subject of the suit begins to reside in a prospective adoptive home, the report required under this section and the postplacement adoption evaluation report required under § 107.160 may be combined in a single report.

The report required under this section must be filed with the court before the court may sign the final order for termination of the parent-child relationship. The report shall be included in the record of the suit.

A copy of the report must be made available to the prospective adoptive parents before the court renders a final order of adoption.

In regulation: The preplacement report must contain the following:

  • Documentation of the following:
    • Information that was obtained through the review of documents, reports, and inspections
    • Interviews with the adoptive parents and their family, collateral contacts, and the child
  • Documentation of the criminal history and central registry background check results and an assessment of the results, including whether the results should bar placement of the child with the adoptive parents or the subsequent adoption of the child by the adoptive parents
  • Assessments of the following:
    • The adoptive parents and their family's interaction with each other
    • The relationship between the child and each adoptive parent, if a relationship currently exists
  • An assessment of the child's present and prospective physical, intellectual, social, and psychological functioning
  • An assessment of basic care and safety issues, including the safety of the physical environment of the adoptive home
  • An assessment of the adoptive parents' individual strengths and weaknesses
  • Conclusions and recommendations to the court as to whether the following is true:
    • That the adoptive parents' home environment will meet the child's needs once the child begins living in the adoptive parents' home
    • That the adoptive parents appear to have the ability to accept the child, assume parenting responsibilities, and adopt the child in the next 6 months to a year

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Fam. Code § 107.160; Admin. Code Tit. 40, §§ 745.9081 through 745.9091

The postplacement part of an adoption evaluation must comply with the minimum requirements for the postplacement part of an adoption evaluation under rules adopted by the commissioner of the department.

An adoption evaluator shall file with the court a report containing the evaluator's findings and conclusions made after a child who is the subject of the suit in which the evaluation is ordered begins to reside in a prospective adoptive home. The report must be filed with the court before the court renders a final order of adoption. The report shall be included in the record of the suit. A copy of the report must be made available to the prospective adoptive parents before the court renders a final order of adoption.

In regulation: Interviews for the postplacement evaluation must be conducted after the child has resided in the adoptive parents' home for at least 5 months. The interviews must include at least one of the following:

  • An individual interview with each adoptive parent
  • An individual interview with each child age 4 or older living full or part time in the home, including the child placed for adoption
  • An individual interview with any other person living full or part time in the home
  • A joint interview with the adoptive parents
  • A family group interview with family members living in the home

Each interview must focus on the adjustment of the family and the child living together in the adoptive parents' home.

The evaluator must visit the home at least once. All members of the household, including the child, must be present for at least one home visit. The date of the visit, the persons present, their relationship to the adoptive parents, and observations regarding health and safety issues in the home must be documented.

The report must contain the following:

  • Any previously incomplete or supplemental information regarding the adoptive parents and the child that was required to be obtained for the preplacement portion of an adoption evaluation, including any updates relating to the following:
    • The health, social, educational, and genetic history report
    • The child's current physical, mental, and emotional status, including any special needs
    • The child's legal status
    • Any new information obtained regarding the adoptive parents
  • Documentation of the following:
    • Information that was obtained through the review of documents, reports, and inspections
    • Interviews with the adoptive parents, their family, and the child
  • A summary of the adjustment of the adoptive parents, other family members, other persons living in the adoptive home, and the child during the last 5 to 6 months the child was living with the adoptive parents
  • An updated assessment of the child's present and prospective physical, intellectual, social, and psychological functioning, including an assessment of how the adoptive parents responded to any special needs the child has
  • An updated assessment of basic care and safety issues, including the physical safety of the environment of the adoptive home and how the child has responded to living in the adoptive home
  • An updated assessment of the adoptive parents' individual strengths and weaknesses
  • Conclusions and recommendations to the court as to whether the adoptive parents have accepted the child and are able to parent and adopt the child

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Fam. Code § 162.017

An order of adoption creates the parent-child relationship between the adoptive parent and the child for all purposes. An adopted child is entitled to inherit from and through the child's adoptive parents as though the child were the biological child of the parents.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Fam. Code § 108.003; Health & Safety § 192.009

The clerk of a court that renders a decree of adoption shall transmit to the central registry of the vital statistics unit a certified report of adoption that includes the following:

  • The name of the adopted child after adoption, as shown in the adoption order
  • The birth date of the adopted child
  • The docket number of the adoption suit
  • The identity of the court rendering the adoption
  • The date of the adoption order
  • The name and address of each parent, guardian, managing conservator, or other person whose consent to adoption was required or waived or whose parental rights were terminated in the adoption suit
  • The identity of the licensed child-placing agency, if any, through which the adopted child was placed for adoption
  • The identity, address, and telephone number of the registry through which the adopted child may register as an adoptee

A certificate of each adoption decreed in this State shall be filed with the State registrar.

When a petition for adoption is granted, the petitioner shall supply the clerk of the court the information necessary to prepare the certificate. The clerk shall do the following:

  • Prepare the certificate on a form furnished by the Department of State Health Services that provides the information prescribed by the department
  • Complete the certificate immediately after the decree becomes final

No later than the 10th day of each month, the clerk shall forward to the State registrar the certificates that the clerk completed for decrees that became final in the preceding calendar month.