Short History of Adoption Law in Texas

The first adoption laws were established in 1850 allying one to adopt the legal heir by filing a written affidavit. In 1907 biological parents were allowed to file a written affidavit transferring parental authority to adoptive parents.

In 1920, law regarding voluntary abandonment of a child by a parent for three years or more was established. These adoptions were matter of public record and birth certificates were stamped with the word illegitimate.

In 1965 the legislature enacted statutes which restricted access to information held by state agencies and license child placing agencies. Information regarding dependency hearings on children born out of wedlock were classified confidential and restricted from disclosure except to a party to the dependency hearing or his attorney.

In 1989 legislation was passed granting adoptive parents and adult adoptees the right to access all information, working papers and reports and records relating to social study on a child. This information must be edited to protect the identity of any birth parents.

Methods of Adoption

There are differing legal guidelines for families adopting in Texas depending on whether you are adopting a newborn domestic or private adoption, an infant or older child from foster care, or an infant toddler or older child through international adoption.

In Texas any adult may adopt a child. Out-of-state residents may finalize and adoption. Adopted parents may also use of adoption facilitator or paid intermediary. Paid intermediaries may only be authorized child placing agencies, attorneys, social workers, mental health professionals, or physicians so authorized.

Adult Adopted Persons

Texas law allows adult adopted persons to know the identity of each parent named on their original birth certificate. They may also receive a non-certified copy of the original birth certificate without obtaining a court order.

Adoption (Family) in Texas Law

Criminal Procedure


pertaining to criminal information relating to a child, notifying parent or guardian

Family Code


pertaining to responsibility for transporting juvenile offenders, child placing agency, standing to file suit, statement to confer standing, standing to request termination in adoption, placement for adoption, contents of petition, name and date of birth, docketing requirements, venue, social study,conflicts of interest, social study evaluator, transmittal of information, records, identity of the licensed child placing agencies, adoption records, bureau of vital statistics, fees, rights and duties of nonparent appointed as sole managing conservator, receipt of medical support order, health insurance, acquiring continuing exclusive jurisdiction, establishment of parent-child relationship, registration for notification, search of appropriate registry, father child relationship, certificate of search, admissibility of certificate, standing to maintain proceeding, joinder of proceedings, termination of the rights of an alleged biological father, affidavit of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights, preferential setting, provision for limited contact between biological parent and child, order terminating the parent-child relationship, who may adopt and be adopted, prerequisites to petition, adoption sought by military service member, preferential setting, preparation of health, social educational and genetic history report, right to examine records,

Finance Code


pertaining to procedure for recovery

Government Code


pertaining to definition of family law cases and proceedings, additional filing fee for civil cases in dare county, additional fees and costs in criminal or civil cases, family-based alternatives for children, search for parent or guardian of a child, exceptions birth and death records, parental leave for employees,

Health & Safety Code


pertaining to supplementary certificates for child who dies before adoption

Human Resource Code


pertaining to definition of child care facility, records, child placing agencies, license, background criminal history check, criminal penalties, substitute care

Insurance Code


pertaining to insurance coverage for adopted children

Penal Code


pertaining to prohibited sexual conduct, sale or purchase of a child, custody, conservatorship, advertising for placement of child

Probate Code


pertaining to inheritance by and from an adopted child

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