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Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption

Q. I read that there are thousands of children waiting for adoption. Why aren't they all listed on the adoption exchange website?

A. There are over 1,000 children photo-listed on the adoption exchange website. There are several hundred who were listed, but were removed due to numerous inquiries received or have had a family selected and are pending placement with them. These children are still considered as "waiting" because staff are still either reading the home studies received from the numerous families or the children have a placement selected but they have not yet been placed in the identified selected home.

Many other children do not have to be photo-listed after termination of parental rights because staff have identified a placement for them with a relative, a foster family, or an adoptive family. These children are still considered "waiting" because they have not yet been placed in the identified selected home. Other children are not photo-listed because of their medical or therapeutic needs and they are not ready for adoption.

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Q. What is adoption?

A. Adoptive families provide a permanent home for children. This lifelong commitment requires that they provide for the short- and long-term needs of a child through adulthood. Adoptive families provide for the emotional, mental, physical, social, educational, and cultural needs according to the child's developmental age and growth.

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Q. What is required to become an adoptive parent?

A. You need to find a licensed child-placing agency in your state so that a home study can be completed. This will involve the completion of training, a check of your references, and a criminal background check. The cost is minimal with a public state agency. The cost varies with the private adoption agencies. In either case, there are federal income tax credits available for families who adopt children. Most public state agencies such as DFPS will only perform a home study for families who are willing to become the adoptive parent of the children they have waiting for adoption. Generally, children available for adoption through DFPS have special needs. These children may be:

  • school-age
  • members of sibling groups
  • diagnosed with disabilities or conditions that affect their physical, emotional, or medical well-being
  • African-American, Hispanic, or other ethnic backgrounds.

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Q. Why doesn't DFPS (Texas Department of Family and Protective Services) place infants for adoption?

A. DFPS rarely places infants for adoption because children come into the temporary care of the agency due to abuse and neglect. The majority of children placed in adoptive care through DFPS are ages 7 to 17.

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Q. How do I obtain a copy of my Texas DFPS Home Study?

A. Please request a copy of the home study from your worker and complete Release of Records, form #4885.(pdf format)

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Q. Can we look up information on the different adoption agencies in Texas?

A. Yes please go to Each child-care facility's regulatory history of inspections and reports will be available online.

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Q. Can Texas children be placed out of state?

A. Yes. Out-of-state homes must be approved for adoption by agencies licensed or certified to approve adoptive home studies in the state where the home is located. Your state's home study and the placement of a child in your home both must meet the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies prescribed by the Child Care Licensing Division of Texas hEALTH & Human Services. Texas participates in the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. This is an agreement among states to cooperate with each other in the interstate placement of children.

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Q. Can Texas children be placed out of the country?

A. Generally, Texas children cannot be placed outside the United States.

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Q. What is the cost of adoption? Can I receive any assistance to adopt? What are the tax implications?

A. The cost of adoption through a public state agency is nominal. The main costs when preparing for adoption are those associated with licensure as all families must become licensed in order to adopt. These costs when working with DFPS include FBI fingerprints and potential updates to your home (fire extinguishers, medication lock boxes, child proofing, etc.). Each private Child Placing Agency operates differently and may require more or less. In addition to these upfront costs, there are certain legal fees necessary for consummation of adoption. These fees could be negligible if the child being adopted qualifies for adoption assistance. CPS Policy 1700 illustrates the Adoption Assistance Program including eligibility and benefits. Within this section, there is further explanation of the nonrecurring adoption expense. CPS Policy 1714.7 explains that adoptive families may seek up to $1,200 in reimbursement of expenses for reasonable and necessary adoption fees. These may include fees paid to child-placing agencies as well as court costs, attorney fees, and other fees directly related to legal completion of the adoption.

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Q. When do you get too old to adopt?

A. There is no maximum age limit on adoptive parents. There is a minimum age requirement of 21, but many older parents make wonderful adoptive parents for older children.

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Q. How long is the waiting list?

A. The waiting time involves completion of the home study and training, as well as the right match for meeting the needs of a particular child.

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Q. I am divorced. Can I foster or adopt?

A. You may be eligible to become an adoptive parent if you are single, divorced, married, or widowed.

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Q. We both work and can't afford for one of us to quit to take care of an adoptive child.

A. Both parents may work and still adopt children.

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Q. I am single and do not own my home. Can I still adopt?

A. Yes, single parent families can adopt and you do not have to own your home to adopt a child.

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Q. We have children and we want to adopt.

A. Many families who adopt have birth children who are still living in their homes or who have grown up and moved out on their own.

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Q. We want to adopt but we can't afford it.

A. You do not have to be rich to become an adoptive parent. You need to be financially stable. Also, adoptive parents may receive an adoption assistance to defray the cost of adopting a child who may have special needs.

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Q. How long does adoption last?

A. Adoptive care is a permanent, lifelong commitment to a child.

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Q. I am approved to become an adoptive parent in my state. What is the next step?

A. For a family who resides outside of Texas to be considered to adopt a child currently in the foster care system in Texas, the family must be approved to adopt through an agency that has a contract with Texas to complete Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) adoptions. You can submit an inquiry on a child through the TARE website or contact the caseworker or TARE coordinator directly to submit your home screening. See the Frequently Asked Questions about TARE for more information about the exchange. You may also call 1-800-233-3405 for more information.

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Q. I am not yet approved to adopt. How do I start?

A. If you reside in another state, and you are not yet approved to adopt in your state, you may start the adoption approval process by calling a licensed child-placing adoption agency in your state. You may visit your state website for information regarding your state's adoption resources.

If you live in Texas, the first step is to attend an information meeting in your area. You can find a calendar of information meeting dates on our website here. You can also visit the Get Started section for more information or leave a message at the Foster Care and Adoption Inquiry line at 1-800-233-3405.

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