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Closed Vs. Open Adoption

Dallas Family-Law Lawyers Representing People in Adoption Proceedings

The decision to adopt a child is monumental and life-changing. The decision-making process does not end there, though, as people who decide to grow their families through adoption must also determine what kind of adoption best suits their goals. Adoptions may be closed or open, and each type of agreement has benefits and potential downsides. If you are considering enlarging your family and have questions about closed versus open adoption, it is wise to talk to an experienced family-law attorney. At McClure Law Group, our skilled Dallas adoption attorneys can inform you of your options and help you to determine the best type of adoption to pursue to help you bring a child into your home.

Texas Laws Pertaining to Adoption

Under Texas law, any person who is 18 or older can petition to adopt any child that is adoptable. A child is considered adoptable if their relationship with their parents has been terminated, their parents are no longer living, or a termination suit is joined with the adoption case. If the child’s parent completes an affidavit relinquishing their parental rights that grants the Department of Family and Protective Services or a licensed agency consent to place the child for adoption and names the department or agency as managing conservator of the child, the parent’s rights will be terminated by the adoption order without the need for further action.

Closed Versus Open Adoption

In a “closed” adoption, a third-party facilitates the adoption, and the birth parents and adoptive parents do not interact or obtain any information about each other. Essentially, they do not have a relationship or know one another’s identity. Closed adoptions are rare in Texas, but most international adoptions are closed. In closed adoption cases, both the birth and adoption records are sealed to protect the anonymity of the parties. When a child who was adopted turns 18, they can add their name to Texas Vital Statistics Unit's Voluntary Central Adoption Registry, which allows birth parents, adopted children, and siblings of adopted children to find other family members who have registered.

Most adoptions that occur in Texas are “open.” In an open adoption, the birth mother or parents will usually interview a number of prospective adoptive families and decide who should become the baby’s parents. In many cases, the adoptive parents will be present for the child’s birth. They will often maintain a relationship with the birth mother after the adoption is final as well, and, in some instances, will share pictures of the child or updates on how the child is doing. Some adoptive parents allow their children to visit with their birth parents on a regular basis. The benefits of open adoption are that the adoptive parents and the child can obtain important health history, and the child can enjoy an ongoing relationship with their birth family. Some adoptive parents may be hesitant to proceed with an open adoption due to fear that the birth parents will try to overtake their role as parents or otherwise intrude on their family.

Adoptions can also be semi-closed. In other words, the birth mother or parents and adoptive parents may receive information about each other through a third party, like an adoption agency, but do not actually meet. The information they receive may be limited as well.

Speak to an Experienced Dallas Lawyer

There are many factors people contemplating adoption must consider, including whether they would want a closed versus open adoption. If you are weighing adding a new member to your family through adoption, it is prudent to speak to an attorney regarding your options. The experienced Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group are mindful of the significance of deciding to adopt a child, and we can guide you through the process of determining which adoption plan best suits your family. We help people with adoptions in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also represent parties in family-law cases in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us through our online form or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a confidential meeting.

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