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Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption

Q. I read that there are more than 3,000 children waiting for adoption. Why aren't they all listed on the adoption exchange web site?

A. There are close to 1,000 children photo-listed on the adoption exchange web site. There are several hundred who were listed, but were removed due to numerous inquiries received or have had a family selected and they 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 but 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 the Texas Department of Family and Protective 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. Adoption assistance is available in different forms including tax credits.

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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 that 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. If you are approved to adopt by your state or adoption agency, please review the Texas Foster Care and Adoption information and use the inquiry form found at the bottom of each child's profile page to submit your interest regarding that child or sibling group. You may also email the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange with the name and identification number of the children who wait that you are interested in adopting. Include your name, address, and telephone number. Please include the name of the agency you are working with and your caseworker's name and phone number. You will receive the name and phone number of the child's caseworker. You may also call 1-800-233-3405. See the Frequently Asked Questions about TARE for more information about the exchange.

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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 web site for information regarding your state's adoption resources.

If you live in Texas, you may submit your interest to become an approved adoptive family or a licensed foster family by filling out an interest form in the Get Started section or by leaving a message at the Foster Care and Adoption inquiry line at 1-800-233-3405.

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