As a law firm focused exclusively on divorce and family law, our team at Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers has handled a wide range of cases and has worked with families of all shapes and sizes throughout North Texas. Of course, this means we have handled a great deal of divorce matters – from collaborative divorces to hotly contested cases involving disputes over child custody, property division, and any number of other particular challenges. While most people associate family lawyers with these types of legal needs, the truth is that some, including our own team at Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers, also handle cases involving adoption.
As attorneys familiar with the adoption process, the many challenges it can entail, and the incredible fulfillment and satisfaction we and our clients obtain upon a successfully finalized adoption, we wanted to celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month and play a part in spreading awareness about adoption.
About National Adoption Awareness Month
National Adoption Awareness Month is held annually each year during the month of November. Its roots stem from the 1976 designation of the first week of November as “Adoption Week” by former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, who wanted to promote awareness about the large number of children in the state’s foster care system, and the need for more adoptive parents.
An idea that quickly gained popularity, Adoption Week was made into a national event in 1984 by former President Gerald R. Ford, and was later expanded to an entire month under former President Bill Clinton.
National Adoption Awareness Month is and has always been about spreading awareness. During the month, advocates, families, businesses, and public and private entities work together to highlight adoption and its positive impact on children and families across the country, and to recognize the many children in foster care still waiting for their “forever families.” Various events, campaigns, and recognition galas are held throughout the month, as is National Adoption Day, a one-day event where thousands of adoptions are finalized simultaneously.
On a local level, Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers has been an active participant in and supporter of Denton County Adoption Day, a combined community service project of the Denton County Bar Association, CASA, and CPS to help children officially become members of their new, loving families.
It’s difficult to discuss National Adoption Awareness Month without discussing the current state of adoption and foster care in the U.S. According to data from the U.S. Children’s Bureau, some of the most important statistics include:
- There are roughly 118,000 children in foster care in the U.S.
- Children in the U.S. foster care system wait on average 3 years to be adopted
- Each year, more than 20,000 children “age out” of foster care without a permanent family or home
The Texas Adoption Process
Adoption may be a very personal experience, but it is also a process subject to various laws, procedures, and requirements. In any type of adoption, the State will want to ensure the best interests of children involved, and as such enforces certain rules and requirements that must be met before an adoption is finalized through the court.
Some general aspects and requirements inherent to the Texas adoption process include:
- Termination of parental rights, either by having a biological parent voluntarily consent or as a result of involuntary termination
- Criminal background checks
- Documentation proving financial stability
- Home visits where all members of the household are present
- References from family members and non-relatives
- A child’s consent if they are over 12 years old
- Compliance with ICPC (Interstate Compact on Placement of Children) standards for interstate adoptions
Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers: Helping Adoption Dreams Come True
In addition to raising awareness about adoption, our legal team at Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers would also like to extend our support to families across Collin County and Denton County who are considering adoption or are looking for assistance with the Texas adoption process. Backed by decades of collective experience, our attorneys take tremendous pride in guiding clients step-by-step through adoption proceedings and the unique aspects of their cases.
We provide the support and insight needed to effectively navigate a range of adoption cases in Texas, including:
- Relative Adoptions – There are many families in which non-parent relatives step in to assume the parental role children need and deserve. Our team assists grandparents and other family members with adopting a relative child.
- Stepparent Adoptions – Blended families often include stepparents who have deep and treasured bonds with their stepchildren. In order to recognize these bonds, provide stepparents with parental rights, and provide children with legal benefits such as the right to inheritance, stepparents need to navigate the steps of finalizing a formal adoption.
- Second Parent Adoptions – Some families may consist of two parents who, despite loving an adopted child or each partner’s biological children equally, may not have equal parental rights. Due to the social implications of second parent adoptions, those who wish to initiate the process will need to work with caring, compassionate, and experienced advocates who know how Texas courts and counties typically handle these cases, and how to approach the situation in a way that improves the chances of a positive outcome.
- Agency and Private Adoptions – Whether an adoption involves private parties, adoption agencies, surrogacy, or interstate / international adoption, adoptive parents should still be aware of the need to protect their rights, effectively navigate the process, and ensure all paperwork and legal issues, such as termination of parental rights, are handled properly. This will not only ensure an efficient and productive process, but also reduce the potential for any problems down the road.
- Foster Care Adoption – Most children in the foster care system, including Texas foster care, are eventually reunited with parents or relatives. However, as much as 25% of children become eligible for adoption while in foster care. They are often older children, groups of siblings who need to stick together, or children with additional needs. Parents who selflessly open their homes to children in foster care deserve the highest quality support and insight when protecting their rights and finalizing the process. Our team is happy to help.
Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers: Your Priorities Are Our Priorities
Adoption cases are truly unique and special matters in family law, as they represent the creation of new families and new hope for children in need. At Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers, our attorneys have tremendous respect for adoptive parents who open their homes and their hearts to young relatives, stepchildren, foster care children, and others, and are prepared to help families make their adoption dreams a reality.
If you would like more information about our award-winning legal team, our adoption services, and how we may be of assistance with your particular needs and situation, please contact us online or call (940) 293-2313 to speak with a lawyer. Our firm serves clients throughout Collin and Denton Counties, and the surrounding communities of Texas.