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What Is The Difference Between Private and Agency Adoption?


When considering adoption, you might not be entirely sure where to begin. Do you need an adoption attorney? How do you even begin the adoption process? Our Woodlands adoption attorneys at Parchman Law Group P.L.L.C. share what you should know about pursuing private or agency adoptions in Texas.

Private Adoption

Private adoption is an adoption in which an agency is not used and instead the adoptive parents and the adoptive child are matched on their own. Private adoptions can include the adoption of a child by an extended family member or adoption of a child by a friend or acquaintance of the child’s birth parents. In Texas, though, this typically involves the adoption of a newborn child. Potential adoptive parents interested in adopting children older than infants will need to pursue an agency adoption.

Stepparent Adoptions

While private adoptions typically involve infants, stepparent adoptions can also be done privately. A stepparent adoption requires one of the child’s parents (typically their spouse) to act as a co-petitioner for the case and the child’s other parent (not the stepparent’s spouse) to relinquish their parental rights before the stepparent adoption can move forward. While a stepparent adoption can be done on their own, an adoption attorney is an excellent resource for families who may need to seek the termination of another parent’s parental rights to the child. Since stepparent adoptions may be complex, families pursuing a stepparent adoption should prepare for needing an adoption attorney to help them file and finalize their adoption case.

Relative Adoptions

Relatives with custody can adopt children if they have conservatorship of the child and one or both parents have passed away or have lost their child’s parental rights. This type of adoption can benefit the child greatly as their conservatorship or custody is now linked to their legal parent. The relative adoption process can begin after the child has lived with the relative who has custody for at least six months and any remaining parental rights are terminated.

Common examples of relative adoptions include adoptions by:

  • Grandparents or great-grandparents,
  • Aunts or uncles,
  • Older siblings, or
  • Legal guardians.

Why Hiring an Adoption Attorney Can Benefit You

An adoption attorney is vital to successful private adoptions. With an adoption attorney, your family will have a guide and advocate for their best interests as they fill out documentation, complete the home study, meet the potential adoptive child, and more. The adoption process can be lengthy, and with the guidance of an experienced adoptions attorney, you can set expectations for the adoption process and prepare for your newest family member as you move through the process.

Agency Adoption

Agency adoptions match adoptive parents with adoptive children, ranging from newborns to teenagers. Children who are available for adoption through an agency typically were removed from their homes by Child Protective Services and placed into the foster care system. Those who pursue agency adoptions usually do not retain adoptions attorneys as the adoption agency provides most services; however, an adoption attorney can help you prepare your adoption application and any other paperwork needed for the process.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has a list of adoption agencies by region to guide families towards adoption agencies that serve their home.

Woodlands Adoptions Attorneys

Growing your family through adoption is an exciting time for your family. With the guidance of a Parchman Law Group P.L.L.C. adoption attorney, your family can be prepared for its newest member and the adoption process that it entails. Whether it be a private adoption, stepparent adoption, or the adoption of a child by a family member, our adoptions attorneys can guide your family through the adoption process until finalization when your child is legally adopted.

Are you ready to adopt? Schedule a complimentary consultation with our adoptions attorneys by calling (713) 364-0777 or contacting us online to learn more about how we can help you begin the adoption process.