When many people think of child custody issues, they instantly imagine couples going through divorce who also share children together. However, there are many Texas residents who are currently looking after the children of their relatives.
Many of these parental surrogates felt compelled to begin looking after their nieces, nephews, grandchildren or cousins after something eventful happened to the parents of those children. Perhaps it was a parent's arrest and subsequent incarceration that spurred another relative to take over. In other cases, it may be a parent's substance abuse issues that may have led to the assumption of those responsibilities.
Regardless of the reasons for assuming those roles, the fact of the matter is that many of these surrogate parents are also beginning to adopt those children. Adoptions overall throughout the state of Texas have doubled in the last decade. According to the Texas Adoption Resources Exchange, there were 5,149 abused or neglected children and teens adopted from the state's care last year. Even despite those numbers, TARE estimates that there are still 6,500 children and teens still in foster care who are awaiting adoption.
Adoption may be a good option for you if you are currently providing the principal care for your relative's children. For example, as a parent, you will be able to make decisions that affect the child's medical care and education. You may also be entitled to receive public benefits on behalf of a minor child. These benefits could prove extremely useful towards offsetting your current child rearing expenditures.
Your Texas family law attorney can assist you by evaluating the circumstances of your case and representing you during any adoption proceedings.
Source: Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, "Texas Adoptions Double in a Decade yet thousands of children still wait for homes of their own" accessed Jan. 13, 2015