Stepparent adoption occurs when the spouse of a parent petitions the court to legally secure parental rights of their spouse’s child(ren). The process involved consists of having a court appointed evaluator to interview and screen the potential family, screen all adults and children living in the home, and evaluate employment and financial records of the prospective parents. The information acquired is used to help assess the situation and determine the suitability of the stepparent and then make the necessary recommendations to the court. Qualified Social Study & Child Custody Evaluators with the agency are: Suzy B. Lackmeyer and Sharon Van Ry . Please call: (254) 690-5959 for additional information and fees.
Custody evaluations are most often utilized in highly contested custody disputes. In the course of their investigation, a custody evaluator will interview both parents, observe the parents with the children, and interview other significant people such as teachers, daycare providers, healthcare providers, extended family members and friends. It may also be helpful to the evaluator to visit the child’s home or to visit the place where the child may live. A well drafted report will contain a summary of the information collected, an assessment of the family and the needs of the children and will also recommend a custody/visitation arrangement. The custody evaluator’s recommendation is just one factor that the court will take into consideration when deciding what custody/visitation arrangement is in the child’s/children’s best interests.
The adoption of a child is a life-long commitment. As the family changes and grows, so may your adoption issues. The agency is committed to providing post adoption services for you or your child whenever these issues arise. Referrals will be made for families outside the service area. Fees for these services must be arranged with the preferred provider and are the responsibility of the adopting parent(s), adoptee or birth parent. Counseling sessions for the adoptive parent, adoptee, or birth parent through in-house services may include, but are not limited to, grief and loss in adoption, attachment issues, sexual abuse, anger and developmental issues, ongoing adoption issues, disruption and its aftermath, search and its consequences, and open adoption issues. Upon request, the agency will provide the adoptive child with a DE-IDENTIFIED copy of his/her record. If the child is less than 18 years of age, the request for information must come from or include the written consent of, the child's adoptive parent(s) or managing conservator. A fee may be charged for this service.
The home study is a written report of the evidenced based findings of an adoption worker who has met with the applicants. Topics that are discussed and documented are your childhood, education, employment history, home history, criminal backgrounds, medical history, abuse history, citizenship, relationships, religion, references and etc. This occurs in two different visits, one meeting will occur in the applicant's home and the other will be in our agency. Other people living in the home will be interviewed. The home study is provided to the courts, and helps to determine if a stable environment exists for an adoptive placement. The evaluations are the property of the agency and will only be provided to the court or transferring agencies.