Is Texas an Open or Closed Adoption State and Why It Matters

When considering adoption, one aspect of the process to consider is whether it will be an open or closed adoption. Like many states today, Texas is an open adoption state, meaning that it allows open private adoptions. However, in the case of foster-to-adopt, it would be a closed adoption.

What is an Open or Closed Adoption?

In the past, almost all adoptions were closed. This means the biological parents had no information about where their baby went or who adopted them. Adoptive parents knew almost nothing about the biological family, and they could even choose not to tell their child they were adopted.

Today, many adoptions are open. This means the biological and adoptive parents know who each other are and may even maintain some form of contact. The biological parents may select the family who will adopt their child.

There are benefits to both sides, but many families favor open adoption. It allows the birth parents to feel better about giving up their child, knowing they will go to a good home. Adoptive parents have more access to family medical records, which can be important if health issues arise.

If you choose to adopt through the state as a foster parent, the adoption will likely be closed. This means the biological family will not know who adopts their child even though they may have a good idea if the foster family intends to pursue adoption. In many of these cases, the rights of the biological parents are terminated against their will. Records are sealed by the court once the adoption is finalized.

What You Need to Know

An open adoption is more complicated than a closed adoption even though it's often in the child's best interests. Both the biological and adoptive parents must agree to the open adoption and what rights of contact may be allowed.

Some adoptive parents send photos, letters and other information periodically to the birth mother while others allow visits with the child. The level of openness depends on what both sides feel comfortable with. In an open adoption, both the biological and adoptive parents know each other's names. The biological parent may meet with the adoptive parents before the child is born.

While more people are moving towards open adoption because it's generally seen as the best option for the child and the families, some couples prefer a closed adoption for privacy. One of the first steps a couple should take when planning to adopt is to hire an adoption attorney. They can help them draft the adoption papers and answer any questions they may have about the process.