Adoption Attorney

Adoption is an exciting decision that can quickly become stressful due to its many complexities and requirements. An adoption attorney can help you navigate this complex process and realize your dream of parenthood.

Are you thinking about adopting? Work with The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Arlington and Southlake, TX.

Becoming an Adoptive Parent What Does It Mean and What Are the Requirements?

When you adopt a child, you assume all of the legal parental rights of a biological parent. Your adoptive child will live with you and your household will be legally recognized as a family.

In Texas, adoptive parents need to be at least 21 years old, financially responsible and stable, and able to pass a routine criminal background check.

Smiling adopted boy with mother

Help with Different Types of Adoption

There are several types of adoption you can pursue, and our Arlington, TX, family law office can handle every kind, including:

  • Adoption Agencies - Whether you are working with a public or private adoption agency for domestic or international adoptions, our adoption lawyers can assist you.
  • Private Adoption - Private or independent adoptions take place outside of an agency. Our adoption lawyers can help you work out favorable arrangements with the child's biological parents.
  • Adoption from a Relative - Relative adoption is another type of private adoption in which a relative of the biological parent (such as a parent, sibling, or spouse) adopts a child. These include stepparent and grandparent adoptions.
  • Foster Children - If you are adopting foster children, you may need to attend multiple hearings before a decision is reached. Our Arlington adoption attorneys can assist you with any legal hurdles during this time to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Open and Closed Adoptions

Most adoptions used to be “closed,” meaning no information was exchanged between the birth parents and adoptive parents. While that is still a common practice, many adoptions today include some shared information between biological parents and adoptive parents.

Closed Adoption

In a closed adoption, the birth parents remain anonymous. Both the birth records and adoption records are sealed by the state of Texas.

When the adopted child turns 18, they can register with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit's Voluntary Central Adoption. This will allow the child to connect with any other family members that have registered in the system.

Open Adoption

In an open adoption, the birth mother and adoptive parents often meet and share information. They may even stay in contact after the adoption, sharing pictures, talking regularly, or meeting in person.

The type of relationship formed will depend on how comfortable everyone in the adoption feels about maintaining connections.

Post-Adoption Agreements Help Set Boundaries in Open Adoptions

There are no set rules when it comes to open adoptions in Texas, so it’s up to the birth parents and adoptive parents to decide how comfortable they feel about maintaining a relationship after the adoption is finalized.

Get an Open Adoption Agreement in Writing

To avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings, it is often wise to agree in writing what the relationship should be after the adoption is finalized. Does it mean a yearly letter and photo to the birth mother? Or will there be yearly, or more frequent, in-person visits? A post-adoption contract can help answer these questions, so they don't turn into obstacles.

Using the Agreement to Discuss Expectations

There is one caveat. Post-adoption contracts are not legally enforceable in Texas. The contract’s value lies in making sure everyone understands at the start what to expect. And, should feelings change over time, the agreement provides a mechanism for the two sides to sit down and talk about what’s working and what’s not.

Decades of Insight on Open Adoptions

The attorneys at the Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt have spent decades helping families create clear boundaries between birth parents and adoptive parents. We understand the problems that can crop up and can help you define what you want in a future relationship.

Are You Adopting? Schedule a Consultation With Our Top-Rated Law Firm

Adopting and growing your family are exciting decisions, and an attorney can help you ensure a smooth, efficient process.

The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt is a top-rated law firm that has helped Texas families in Arlington, Southlake, Westover Hills, and Fort Worth navigate the adoption process for over three decades. Attorney Donna J. Smiedt is a Board-Certified Family Law Attorney - Texas Board of Legal Specialization who has received extensive training in adoption law. Her compassionate demeanor and results have earned her dozens of five-star reviews and positive testimonials from families throughout Texas. 

To talk to an adoption attorney about your case, request a consultation online or call us: 

(817) 572-9900


Work with Lawyers Who Truly Care Read Client Reviews for Our Arlington Law Office


Meghan Matthews

Arlington, TX


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I have been working with Donna for over a year. She is very knowledgable and also kind and empathetic. They take their time with everything they do and not only that but they really care about their clients and the families they work with. I would recommend Donna to anyone because I have worked with other lawyers and she really is the best.

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Linda Olson

Arlington, TX


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This is one of the very best law firms in town!!! The whole team worked to help my situation and were very successful. Very passionate and compassionate. Went out of their way to help and went above and beyond what anyone could have ever expected!!! I will HIGHLY recommend!

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The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt is a top-rated law firm that has helped families throughout Texas navigate the adoption process for over three decades.

Our Arlington and Southlake offices are conveniently located for families throughout Greater Arlington, Fort Worth, Westover Hills, and other communities in Texas. Alongside our adoption lawyers, you can navigate the complexities associated with the adoption process and ensure you meet all the necessary requirements.

How Our Adoption Lawyers Can Help Our Arlington Adoption Attorneys Provide Families with:

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Decades in Practice

Attorney Donna J. Smiedt began practicing family law in 1986. Because our law office focuses on the very unique practice areas of Texas family law as well as adoption law, our lawyers are able to provide efficient service and satisfying results for families in Arlington, Fort Worth, and throughout the Lone Star State.

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Care and Compassion

Our attorneys understand that hopeful adoptive parents face a very unique challenge. We will communicate with birth parents, adoption agencies, and other institutions on your behalf so that you can focus on what's important—your family. Our Arlington lawyers want families to feel comfortable at our law firm, where you can expect home-like accommodations.

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Comprehensive Help

Our adoption attorneys have represented families in all types of adoption cases, including those involving stepparents and foster children. Because our attorneys have been practicing adoption law for over three decades, we can provide the knowledge, advice, and care you need no matter how complex your legal issues are.

Are Adoption Attorneys Expensive? An Explanation of Legal Costs for an Adoption

They can be, but the price tag could save you time, energy, and frustration down the road.

The Price Reflects the Service

Adoption lawyers handle all the legal paperwork and technicalities of the adoption process. If you should forego an adoption attorney, mistakes can be costly and time-consuming, delaying or even jeopardizing your adoption.

When you choose The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt, you can rest assured that we will handle all the legalities of your adoption and ensure that your best interests and those of your child are served.

Legal Fee Transparency

Each adoption is unique, which is why we do not have flat fees.

During your initial consultation at our Arlington family law firm, we will discuss the aspects of your case and draw up a contract that you can sign or take home to look over. This contract will explain all the attorney fees associated with your case.

legal meeting and paperwork on an adoption

Get the Legal Support You Need Contact the Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt

Our family law attorneys understand how important the decision to adopt a child is. The last thing you want to worry about when you decide to grow your family is legal obstacles. Our team can assist clients in Southlake, Westover Hills, and surrounding communities throughout the entire process. We can protect your rights and help you add a new member to your family.

For more information about how our team can help, contact our Arlington firm online to book a consultation with a family law attorney or call:

(817) 572-9900

Our Law Firm Puts You First More Client Reviews for Our Arlington Law Office



Arlington, TX


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Donna successfully helped me get what I wanted out of my case. She charged a reasonable fee for her services and never once wasted my time. I would hire The Family Law Firm again in a heartbeat should I ever need her services again

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Ashley Hayes

Arlington, TX


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Donna was an amazing lawyer in my case! She made things go by as smooth as possible and I would recommend her to anyone.

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Smiling mom holding adopted baby

Eligibility to Become an Adoptive Parent

In the state of Texas, adults must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to adopt a child. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Age - Adoptive parents must be at least 21 years old. Texas does not have a minimum or maximum age limit for adoptive children, but as a child gets older, other options such as foster parenting may be more viable.
  • Marital Status - Texas does not have specific adoption laws prohibiting married couples or unmarried individuals from adopting. If you are married, you must adopt with your spouse. This also applies to stepparents who want to adopt a spouse's child.
  • Health and Financial Means - Adoptive parents must be in good overall health in order to adopt. They must also have adequate income to be able to provide for their adoptive children.
  • The Right Home Environment - Homeownership is not required to adopt. However, an adoptive family must show that they can provide a stable, comfortable, and safe environment for their adoptive children.

Same-Sex Couples
and Adoption in Texas


Legally, married and unmarried same-sex couples can adopt or become foster parents in Texas. However, some adoption agencies and institutions may have their own requirements based on religious grounds. An attorney can help LGBTQIA couples and individuals navigate these matters.

Criminal Records and Adoption How Felonies and Misdemeanors Affect Eligibility

Individuals who have committed serious criminal offenses may be prohibited from adopting or fostering a child. This is a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of a child in a household.

Any crimes against a minor will result in an absolute bar on adoption or fostering. Other serious offenses that prohibit adoption or fostering include:

  • Sexual assault
  • Murder and manslaughter
  • Domestic violence
  • Arson
  • Stalking
  • Voyeurism

Applying for Risk Evaluation

People who have committed offenses without an absolute bar can still potentially adopt or foster. The state of Texas will require a formal risk evaluation that will consider all results in the prospective parent's background check.

The lawyers at our law firm can help you assemble the necessary materials for your risk evaluation packet and ensure it is submitted to the proper officials on time.

Speak with a Skilled Adoption Attorney

We'll Help You Navigate Texas Adoption Laws

When you choose The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt, we work for you. Our main focus will be to ensure that your rights are protected and that all aspects of the adoption process are carried out within all applicable laws. This can ensure that your adoption is legally binding, protecting you from illegal practices and adoption fraud. 

Do you live in Southlake, Westover Hills, or nearby? Call our Arlington law firm or request an initial consultation online today.

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A Client Shares His Experience We Fight for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex

"Donna has been one of the best lawyers in the Metroplex for a long time. She's helped my family out so much and I’ll recommend her and her law office to anyone that needs help. They will go above and beyond to get things right." Jimmy T.

The Adoption Process What You Can Expect When Adopting a Child

Legal consultation for an adoption

Legal Consultation

If you are considering child adoption, your first step should be to consult with an attorney. Our Arlington team can review the different types of adoption and explain the pros and cons of each.

Mother and child at adoption agency

Type of Adoption

Next, decide which type of adoption to pursue. If you choose to work through an agency, keep in mind that there are many agencies that specialize in adoption and it is crucial you work with a reputable organization during the process.

Couple welcoming the home visit inspector at the door

Home Study

Families in Arlington, Fort Worth, and throughout Texas must pass a home study in order to adopt. The objective of a home study is to determine whether hopeful parents and adoptive children are a good match. A home study includes background checks, personal references, home visits, interviews, and an examination of your recent health history.

Adoption paperwork


Some agencies require potential adoptive parents to sign contracts or pay fees early in the process. Your adoption lawyer can review any paperwork provided by the agency before you sign to make sure you remain protected.

Termination of Parental Rights paperwork

Termination of Parental Rights

For adoption to move forward, the rights of the biological parent must first be terminated, either voluntarily or through a court decision. A parent can voluntarily give up their rights by signing an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights.

Finalization paperwork for an adoption next to gavel


Our lawyers will assist you in bringing your case to a judge so that he or she can review the birth parents' termination of parental rights and the adoptive parents' suitability to adopt. Depending on the circumstances of your adoption case, the birth parent may or may not be present at the finalization.

daughter hugging mom and making heart shape with her fingers


After placement, the degree of communication between the adoptive parents, birth parents, and the adopted child is determined by the agreed-upon plan. Our adoption lawyers can help you develop a plan that includes a level of communication that you are comfortable with.

Reduce the Stress of Child Adoption Hire a Lawyer to Guide You Through the Process

Adoption is a major life event for all parties involved. Emotions, stress, and the pressure of making sure every detail is perfect take their toll.

Our Arlington practice makes a point of reducing the burden for families in Southlake, Westover Hills, and nearby communities. In addition to ensuring documents are filed correctly and on time, we explain what to expect at each stage as the legal process unfolds.

Start growing your family now. Send our family law firm message online or call to request a consultation.

(817) 572-9900

Respectful and Compassionate Counsel The People of Tarrant County Can Count on Our Law Office


Henry T.

Arlington, TX


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Donna was absolutely amazing. Not only was she professional and knowledgeable she took the time to make sure I understood everything. Her paralegal was wonderful to work with as well. They are a great team. They got back to me on everything promptly. I could not thank them both enough. I will highly recommend them to my family and friends.

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niranjan agnew

Arlington, TX


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Donna J Smiedt was fantastic. Everyone was extremely helpful and professional throughout the entire process. Their preparation and dedication to my case was outstanding. I have and will continue to refer anyone going through a challenging situation to speak with Donna and her team.

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Considering International Adoption? Trust the Complexities to Donna J. Smiedt

There are children all around the world in need of support and love from a strong family unit, and Texas communities like Arlington and Southlake are great places to bring up a family. However, international adoption carries its own intricacies and challenges that leave many prospective parents unsure where to turn. Family law attorney Donna J. Smiedt has helped many clients grow their families through international adoption. She can assist you with:

  • Connecting with Texas adoption agencies that handle adoptions from various countries

  • Determining that the agency you select is fully licensed and accredited

  • Gathering proper documentation for an international home study

  • Filing for international adoption through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

  • Filing for visas for you to travel and return home with your child

  • Finalizing the adoption or filing for re-adoption within the U.S. court system, depending on the visa your child receives

Mom holding child

Fostering to Adopt Making a Foster Child a Permanent Part of Your Family

It’s important to remember that the aim of the Texas foster care system is primarily to reunite children with their biological families, but unfortunately, this is not always possible. Only after it is determined that reunification is not an option and the parental rights of the birth parents have been terminated can adoption into a new family become the goal.

Many foster parents find that they and their biological children have formed deep, lasting bonds with a foster child and want to welcome them as a permanent part of the family. Our adoption attorney in Southlake and Arlington is more than happy to guide you through this process.

If you are interested in becoming a first-time foster parent or want to foster without intentions to adopt, our family law firm can help you understand what to expect.

An Attorney With Your Best Interests at Heart

"Donna is the most caring, compassionate and qualified attorney I’ve ever met. She always looks out for her clients and goes the extra mile. I can’t recommend her highly enough. Thank you for everything." Renee L.

Texas Adoption FAQ

How long does the adoption process take?

The length of time an adoption takes depends on the type of adoption, how long it takes to achieve a termination of parental rights, and the unique aspects of your case. This timeframe can range from several months to a year or more.

Do I need to wait for the formal termination of parental rights?

No, not necessarily. There are several situations that result in an involuntary termination of parental rights, including the abandonment of the child, voluntarily leaving the child in the care of someone else for more than six months, endangering the child, and failing to support the child for at least a year.

Can I adopt adolescent children or teenagers?

Yes. However, if the child you are adopting is 12 or older, they must consent to the adoption unless the courts waive the requirement.

Will a divorce or children from a previous marriage affect adoption or fostering?

It really depends. Many factors are at play, including the existing family dynamics. Similarly, petitions may need to be filed for stepparents who would like to adopt their stepchildren. Our lawyers also handle family law matters and can help navigate these situations.

Real Attorney-Client Connection An Attorney on the Side of Arlington Families

"Donna is a great lawyer. Been a client of her law firm for 20 years. She always gets the job done with the best results. I'm glad I have a great relationship with her." Rickey Conradt
the team at The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt

The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt

The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt is the premier destination for clients who need representation during a divorce, adoption, or other family law matters. Donna J. Smiedt has been in practice since 1986 and is a Board Certified Family Law Attorney – Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Her other professional affiliations include:

  • Texas Bar College
  • Arlington Bar Association
  • Tarrant County Bar Association
  • Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists

To schedule a consultation at our Arlington or Southlake, TX, law firm, contact us online or call (817) 572-9900.

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