Texas

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Fam. Code §§ 162.018; 162.406

Nonidentifying information may be provided to:

  • The adoptive parents
  • The adopted person who is age 18 or older

Identifying information may be accessed by:

  • The adopted person who is age 18 or older
  • A birth parent
  • An alleged father who acknowledges paternity
  • A birth sibling who is age 18 or older

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Fam. Code § 162.018

The adoptive parents are entitled to receive copies of the records and other information relating to the history of the child maintained by the department, licensed child-placing agency, person, or entity placing the child for adoption.The adoptive parents and the adopted person, after the adopted person is an adult, are entitled to receive copies of the records that have been edited to protect the identity of the birth parents and any other person whose identity is confidential and other information relating to the history of the child maintained by the department, licensed child-placing agency, person, or entity placing the child for adoption.

At the time an adoption order is rendered, the court shall provide to the parents of an adopted person information provided by the Bureau of Vital Statistics that describes the functions of the voluntary adoption registry. The licensed child-placing agency shall provide to each of the child’s birth parents, as known to the agency, the information when the parent signs an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights or affidavit of waiver of interest in a child. The information shall include the right of the child or birth parent to refuse to participate in the registry. If the adopted child is age 14 or older, the court shall provide the information to the child.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Fam. Code §§ 162.407; 162.413; 162.414; 162.416

The persons listed above may register with a mutual consent voluntary adoption registry. A registration remains in effect until the 99th anniversary of the date the registration is accepted, unless a shorter period is specified by the applicant or the registration is withdrawn. A registrant may withdraw his or her registration in writing at any time.

The applicant must participate in counseling for not less than 1 hour with a social worker or mental health professional with expertise in postadoption counseling before the release of confidential information.

The administrator shall process each registration in an attempt to match the adopted person, the birth parents, and the birth siblings. The administrator shall determine that there is a match if the adult adopted person and the birth mother, father, or sibling has registered.

When a match has been made, the administrator shall mail a written notice to each registrant:

  • Informing the registrant that a match has been made
  • Reminding the registrant that he or she may withdraw the registration before disclosures are made, if desired
  • Notifying the registrant that before any identifying disclosures are made, he or she must sign a written consent and participate in counseling

Identifying information about a registrant shall be released without the registrant’s having consented to disclosure after the match if the registrant is dead, his or her registration was valid at the time of death, and he or she had in writing specifically authorized the postdeath disclosure. Identifying information about a deceased birth parent may not be released until each surviving child is an adult or until each child’s surviving parent or guardian consents in writing to the disclosure.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Health & Safety Code § 192.008

Only the court that granted the adoption may grant access to the original birth certificate.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Central Adoption Registry, Texas Department of State Health Services — Vital Statistics

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Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Family Code § 162.005
The Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, a licensed child-placing agency, or the child’s parent or guardian shall compile a report on the available health, social, educational, and genetic histories of the child to be adopted.If the child has been placed for adoption by a person or entity other than the department, a licensed child-placing agency, or the child’s parent or guardian, it is the duty of the person or entity who places the child for adoption to prepare the report.

Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Family Code §§ 162.005; 162.007
The report shall include a history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse suffered by the child, if any.

The health history of the child must include information about:

  • The child’s health status at the time of placement
  • The child’s birth, neonatal, and other medical, psychological, psychiatric, and dental history information
  • A record of immunizations for the child
  • The available results of medical, psychological, psychiatric, and dental examinations of the child

The social history of the child must include information, to the extent known, about past and existing relationships between the child and the child’s siblings, parents by birth, extended family, and other persons who have had physical possession of or legal access to the child.

The educational history of the child must include, to the extent known, information about:

  • The enrollment and performance of the child in educational institutions
  • Results of educational testing and standardized tests for the child
  • Special educational needs, if any, of the child

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Family Code § 162.007
The genetic history of the child must include a description of the child’s birth parents and their parents, any other child born to either of the child’s parents, and extended family members and must include, to the extent the information is available, the following information about the child’s birth parents:

  • Their health and medical histories, including any genetic diseases and disorders
  • Their health statuses at the time of placement
  • The causes of and their ages at death
  • Their height, weight, eye color, and hair color
  • Their nationalities and ethnic backgrounds
  • Their general levels of educational and professional achievements, if any
  • Their religious backgrounds, if any
  • Any psychological, psychiatric, or social evaluations, including the dates of the evaluations, any diagnoses, and a summary of any findings
  • Any criminal conviction records relating to a misdemeanor or felony classified as an offense against the person or family or public indecency or a felony violation of a statute intended to control the possession or distribution of a substance
  • Any information necessary to determine whether the child is entitled to or otherwise eligible for State or Federal financial, medical, or other assistance

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Family Code § 162.005
The report must be prepared before placing a child for adoption. The person or entity that places the child for adoption shall provide the prospective adoptive parents a copy of the report as early as practicable before the first meeting of the adoptive parents with the child.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions
Citation: Family Code § 162.005
This section does not apply to an adoption by the child’s grandparent; aunt or uncle by birth, marriage, or prior adoption; or stepparent.

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Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Prob. Code § 40; Fam. Code § 162.507
The birth parents of an adopted child shall not inherit from or through said child, but said child shall inherit from and through his or her birth parents.A person who was adopted as an adult may not inherit from or through the adult’s birth parent, nor may the birth parent inherit from or through the adopted adult.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Prob. Code § 40; Fam. Code §§ 162.507; 162.017
An adopted child may, under the laws of descent and distribution, inherit from and through the adopting parents and their relatives, and the adopting parents and their family may inherit from and through such adopted child.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Fam. Code § 67
A ‘pretermitted child’ means a child of a testator who, during the lifetime of the testator, or after his or her death, is born or adopted after the execution of the will of the testator.

Whenever a pretermitted child is not mentioned or provided for in the testator’s will or otherwise provided for by the testator, the pretermitted child shall succeed to a portion of the testator’s estate as provided below:

  • If the testator has one or more children living when he or she executes his or her last will, and:
    • No provision is made for any such child, a pretermitted child receives the portion of the estate to which he or she would have been entitled had the testator died intestate without a surviving spouse, owning only that portion of the estate not bequeathed to the parent of the pretermitted child.
    • Provision is made for one or more of such children, a pretermitted child is entitled to share in the testator’s estate as follows:
      • The portion of the estate to which the pretermitted child is entitled is limited to the disposition made to children under the will.
      • The pretermitted child shall receive such share of the estate, as limited above, as he or she would have received had the testator included all pretermitted children with the children who were included in the will, and given an equal share of such benefits to each such child.
  • If the testator has no child living when he executes his or her last will, the pretermitted child receives the portion of the estate to which he or she would have been entitled had the testator died intestate without a surviving spouse, owning only that portion of the estate not bequeathed to the parent of the pretermitted child.

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State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
Citation: Family Code § 162.023(a)

An adoption order rendered to a resident of this State that is made by a foreign country shall be accorded full faith and credit by the courts of this State and enforced as if the order were rendered by a court in this State unless the adoption law or process of the foreign country violates the fundamental principles of human rights or the laws or public policy of this State.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
Citation: Family Code § 162.023(b)

Adoptive parents may petition the court for registration of a foreign adoption decree that was issued abroad and may combine the petition for registration with a petition for a name change.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Family Code § 162.023(b)

If the court finds that the foreign adoption order meets the requirements of this statute, the court shall order the State Registrar to:

  • Register the order under chapter 192, Health and Safety Code
  • File a certificate of birth for the child under § 192.006, Health and Safety Code

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