One of the biggest questions that prospective adoptive families have is, “How long does it take to adopt a baby in Texas?”
There’s no singular answer to this question, because how long adoption takes depends on several factors, including the kind of adoption you choose, your adoption preferences and many things that are out of your control. A general average adoption wait time is around a year — but, because each adoption is unique, this average may or may not be representative of your wait time.
If you’re looking to adopt now, please contact us at 817-338-4888. We can discuss your individual adoption situation with you and give you a better idea of what your adoption wait time may be based on your circumstances.
To better understand how long it takes to adopt a child in Texas, read on for more information on how your choices can affect your adoption wait time.
The Type of Adoption You Choose
Generally, when people are looking to adopt a child or baby in Texas, they do it through a private domestic infant adoption or a foster care adoption. These two processes have different legal steps you need to take, which will impact how long it will take you to adopt a baby.
Of course, no two adoptions are exactly the same, but here is a general idea of an adoption timeline with each process:
- Screening and home study: Before you can be approved to adopt, you must pass certain background checks and clearances. This includes your home study, which can take around 2–3 months to complete.
- Matching with a prospective birth mother: If you already know a potential birth mother and want to complete an independent adoption, you won’t have to spend time waiting for a match. However, most families choose an agency domestic adoption, meaning they work with an agency to find an adoption opportunity. When working with an agency, almost half of adoptive families wait six months or less before being matched, according to a 2014–15 study by Adoptive Families magazine. If you need help finding an adoption opportunity in Texas, know that a licensed agency is the only professional that can provide matching services.
- Placement and post-placement: How long you wait to have a child placed with you after matching will depend on how far along the prospective birth mother is in her pregnancy. Usually, you’ll wait at least a couple of months, but that may not always be the case; in the Adoptive Families study, 34 percent of families were matched with a woman less than a month before she gave birth.
- Finalization: Your adoption is only complete once it’s legally finalized, usually about six months after placement. During this time, you’ll adjust to your life with a new baby and undergo a visit with a social worker at least five months after placement.
- Total time: Most private domestic adoptions are completed within an average adoption wait time of 12 months.
- Screening and home study: All prospective foster parents and adoptive parents are required to pass background clearances, as well as participate in training to prepare for placement of a foster child. Texas requires a 35-hour training program in addition to other certifications. This also includes a home study. Generally, this process takes six months.
- Finding a placement: Because there are plenty of children waiting for homes in Texas, you will usually not wait long for a placement, especially if you are open to many situations. Sixty-four percent of families who adopted from foster care were matched within one year from 2014–15.
- Waiting for an adoption opportunity: Unfortunately, one of the unknowns with foster care adoption is the availability of a child for adoption. If the child’s parents are still working toward a reunification plan, there may or may not be a timeline for that child becoming available for adoption. However, there are many children already in the foster care system who are freed for adoption — so choosing one of them will decrease this wait time. Almost half of families with a foster child placement waited 6 to 12 months after placement for an adoption finalization.
Other adoption processes, like stepparent or adult adoptions, are much less invasive processes and will take less time. An international adoption typically takes much longer — even years — because of international regulations and new restrictions from previously adoption-friendly nations.
Your Adoption Preferences
As you prepare to be matched with a prospective birth mother or a waiting child in foster care, another factor in how long it takes to adopt a child will be how specific you are in your preferences. You will have the ability to decide which situations you’re comfortable with in a prospective adopted child, including:
- Family medical history
- Race of the child
- The child’s medical conditions
- Post-placement contact with the child’s birth family
- And more
While you should only be open to situations you’re comfortable with, being too restrictive in your adoption plan can impact the time you wait to be matched with an adoption opportunity. For example, if you’re only open to adopting a Caucasian child, fewer adoption opportunities will be available to you than to a family who is open to adopting a baby with a Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American or mixed racial background. You may find that as you go through your adoption preparation process and speak with an adoption professional that you’re open to more types of adoption situations than you originally thought. Education about different circumstances is key.
Circumstances Out of Your Control
While your matching professional can help you determine what other aspects may impact your adoption wait time (for example, your budget or your adoptive family profile), there are simply some circumstances that you cannot influence. For example, if you’re waiting for a private infant placement, the number of women who are considering adoption will influence how long you wait for a match and, therefore, how long it takes to adopt your baby. Similarly, if you choose to foster a child who is not yet available for adoption, you may need to wait an undetermined amount of time for parental rights to be terminated — if they are terminated at all.
In many cases, a prospective birth mother chooses families based on gut feeling, so there’s only so much that an adoptive family can do to attract her attention. If you’re entering the adoption journey asking, “How long does the adoption process take in Texas?” it’s important to remember that there are some unknowns with every kind of adoption process — and you should be comfortable with waiting more or less time than expected for your adoption placement. When you can finally adopt the perfect child, you’ll know that the wait has been worth it.
To learn more about your possible adoption wait time and how the adoption process works in Texas, please contact us today.