The number of adoptions by same-sex couples has tripled in the United States over the last decade, thanks to changes in legislation and more liberal social attitudes. As such, you may want to give up your baby for adoption to a same-sex couple, but you may not understand how the law works in Texas or if the process is different for gay adoptive parents. Learn more about the adoption process for same-sex couples in Texas, and consider the three important facts.
Same-sex adoption is legal in Texas, but these parents face legal hurdles
Legislation for same-sex couples continues to change across the United States, and the situation is no different in Texas. The state has held a long-standing ban on gay marriage, but in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned this legislation, ruling that states could not stop marriage for same-sex couples.
That aside, fundamental changes in legislation can take some time to influence other aspects of the law. As such, the law concerning same-sex adoption in Texas has not yet changed following the Supreme Court's ruling about same-sex marriage. Texan law does not forbid adoption by same-sex couples, but prospective parents may still face multiple hurdles.
Same-sex couples must often go through extra stages to legally adopt a child. For example, Texan law states that a birth certificate can only show a mother and father. As such, same-sex couples must apply for a supplemental birth certificate to get past this hurdle. These extra steps can take time, which can delay the process of adoption.
Same-sex parents undergo the same scrutiny as other couples
Adoption agencies in Texas rigorously scrutinize couples who want to adopt children, and same-sex couples must undergo the same screening process as anyone else. Like other couples, same-sex adoptive parents must:
File an application with an adoption agency. Some agencies specialize in support for LGBT couples, so same-sex couples may prefer to work through these institutions.
Undergo a home study. Licensed social workers and/or home study specialists thoroughly assess all adoptive parents to make sure the home environment is suitable. A home study will look at the adoptive parents' background, education and employment, as well as all aspects of the relationship and home life. Like any other adoptive parents, same-sex couples need a positive recommendation from one of these studies before they can adopt.
Pass criminal checks. The law says that all adoptive parents must pass an FBI background check before they can adopt. This check will look for any evidence of criminal activity or child abuse.
Subject to approval, same-sex parents will then need to compile an adoptive family profile. This will normally include a letter of introduction that the birth mother and father can read. As such, it's important to remember that you can always decide if possible same-sex parents are the right match for your baby.
The process isn't complete for at least six months after the child's birth
The adoption process doesn't end when your baby is born. Adoptive parents must wait for at least six months before the couple can finalize the adoption. During this time, the adoption agency will make at least five post-placement visits. These visits will confirm that the parents and child are settling in well together.
Same-sex parents technically need more post-placement visits. This situation occurs because children adopted by same-sex parents in Texas normally still have two birth certificates. As such, the state recognizes two adoptions and will conduct post-placement assessments separately for each parent. Some attorneys can help same-sex couples overcome this challenge, but some adoptive couples decide to accept the issue and put up with the inconvenience. It's important to understand that these extra visits are a legal hurdle and not a reflection of the court's view of the adoptive parents' abilities.
Adoption by same-sex couples is increasingly common across the United States, and many couples now consider giving up their babies to gay parents. Talk to an adoption agency or try this out for more information and advice.