Several documents are necessary for a successful adoption in Texas. An initial petition for adoption begins the process. Other required paperwork includes a report on the child's health and social, educational and genetic history, as well the criminal history of any prospective adoptive parent. A final order rules on the adoption and other issues requested in the petition, and it clears the way for an amended birth certificate.
Petition for Child
A petition for adoption of a child must state the child's name, date of birth and residence, and state if the biological parents' rights have been terminated. The prospective parent must state his relationship to the child, if any. The petition should include whether a home study or health, social, educational and genetic history report is necessary. The petition should also include any requested name change.
Petition for Adult
A petition for adoption of an adult must include identifying factors for all parties. If the petitioner is married, her spouse must consent to the adoption within the petition. An adult adoptee must consent to the adoption. A criminal history report, home study and history is not required for the adoption of an adult.
Health, Social, Educational and Genetic History
The Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, a licensed adoption agency or a parent or guardian must submit a report on the child's known health, social, educational and genetic history. Information contained in the report includes the child's health status, medical and dental records, any history of abuse, the enrollment and performance of the child at any school and any special educational or medical needs. The report is redacted to protect birth parent identities, and is provided to any prospective adoptive parent. A health, social, educational and genetic history report is not required for a grandparent, aunt, uncle or stepparent seeking to adopt.
The court overseeing the adoption will order any person seeking to adopt a child to obtain his own criminal history through the Texas Department of Public Safety. The DPS website (listed in Resources) provides instructions and cost on how to request a criminal history for the purpose of adoption. Fingerprints can be submitted electronically or through the mail on a fingerprint card. Once complete, the court will receive the report directly from DPS.
Order and Birth Certificate
A hearing is required to complete an adoption. The court will issue an order granting the petition, ruling on any requested name change and stating whether the adoption will be sealed. A certified copy of the order is used to obtain a new birth certificate. Provide the certified copy to the local office of vital statistics, which may be located with the health department. Review the amended birth certificate to ensure all names and dates are correct.