The cost to adopt a child is a major part of planning for an adoption. Knowing the different Texas adoption costs will help you financially prepare.
So how much does it cost to adopt in Texas? The cost fluctuates based on a number of factors.
With so many considerations, such as the child’s age and needs, it is difficult to give an average cost for adoption in Texas. However, the type of adoption you choose has a substantial impact on the cost to adopt in Texas.
Public or State Adoption
In a public or state adoption, the child is in the custody of the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) and placed with a foster family who, in many instances, desires to adopt the child placed in their care. Generally, this is the least expensive type of adoption.
The two main adoption costs in Texas are the costs to obtain a license to adopt and legal fees associated with finalizing the adoption process.
Part of the licensing requirement to become a foster family is to undergo and pass a home study. Someone on behalf of DFPS inspects your home, evaluates the condition, interviews all household members, and observes you in your home environment.
You are responsible for the cost of the home study and making any necessary repairs to your home based on the evaluation, to qualify as a foster family.
DFPS also requires criminal background checks on you and anyone over the age of 14 residing in your home. You must pay for the costs of the background checks as well.
The legal fees for an adoption in Texas include attorney fees and court costs. All adoptions must be legally finalized in court. Having the help of a lawyer who understands the legal proceedings is beneficial.
The attorneys at The Stout Law Firm, PLLC, can guide you through the adoption process and handle any challenges you may face.
Private Adoption Through an Agency
In a private adoption, you work with an adoption agency to adopt a child. The cost of private adoption in Texas is much higher than a public adoption.
The major price difference in a private versus public adoption is the cost of hiring an adoption agency. There are initial application fees in addition to the fees charged by the agency for their services.
When adopting an infant, it is common for the adoptive parents to cover the medical expenses of the birth mother, which include prenatal care and hospital costs. Sometimes, the adoptive parents also pay for counseling for the biological parents before and after the child is born.
Travel expenses are another cost to consider when adopting a child. Typically, you would make arrangements to see the birth mother or the child if you’re not adopting an infant, prior to the adoption process being finalized.
Like a public adoption, you are responsible for the costs of the home study, background checks, and legal fees discussed above.
As with public and private adoption through an agency, a step-parent wanting to adopt must submit to a criminal background check and home study and pay the fees and costs associated with this as well.
The step-parent must also have lived with the child at least 6 months prior to seeking adoption. In addition, however, it’s important to note that any child may only have two legal parents at a time.
Therefore, before a step-parent is in a position to adopt his or her step-child, the parental rights of one of the child’s parents must be terminated. This can be done through agreement, ie: a parent agrees to sign a voluntary relinquishment, or through involuntary termination.
The process to adopt if termination of a parent’s rights is not voluntary will generally be significant since this would require a final trial on the termination as a condition precedent to the adoption process.
Financial Assistance for Parents Adoption Children in DFPS Care
There are many resources that provide assistance with the adoption costs in Texas.
Adoption Assistance Program
Texas DFPS offers financial support through the Adoption Assistance Program. This financial assistance comes from state and federal funding through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. Both the state and federal programs offer three types of benefits to adoptive parents.
The Adoption Assistance Program provides medical assistance through Medicaid. Any child that is eligible for Medicaid health care coverage can receive medical assistance. This benefit provides assistance with medical care (including eye and dental care), medical equipment, psychiatric and behavioral care, and medical transportation for the child.
The program offers reimbursement of up to $1,200 per adoption for necessary adoption fees in Texas. This includes court costs, attorney fees, and other costs directly related to finalizing the adoption. This is only available if a child was in DFPS’ care.
You may receive monthly payments to support your adopted child. When determining the monthly payment amount, DFPS considers your financial status and the needs of the child.
There is a cap on the monthly payment amounts, which is based on the child’s required level of care. For basic care, the cap is $400 per month, and for moderate, specialized, or intensive care, the cap is $545 per month.
Adoption Tax Credit
The federal Adoption Tax Credit provides a credit of up to $14,300 for qualified adoption expenses per adopted child. You can claim this tax credit regardless of whether the adoption is public or private. There are certain income thresholds you must meet to take advantage of the tax credit.
Some employer benefits plans include financial assistance or reimbursement of expenses related to an adoption.
Grants and Subsidies
Some nonprofit organizations and charities offer grants and subsidies to help with the cost of adoption in Texas.
If you’re wondering, “How much is adoption in Texas?”, there is no single answer. The cost to adopt a child in Texas varies greatly depending on the circumstances. At The Stout Firm, PLLC, we understand that Texas adoption costs can seem overwhelming, but there are ways to offset these expenses.
Contact The Stout Law Firm, PLLC, today to discuss your adoption case and the future of your family.