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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_name-change.jpgAfter an adoption or disestablishment of paternity, many parents wish to officially change their child’s last name. This process can be complex and requires strict adherence to certain court procedures, so if you are interested in legally changing the name of your child, it is crucial to retain the services of an experienced complex child custody attorney.

Petition Requirements

Only certain individuals are permitted to file a petition to legally change a minor’s name, including the child’s:


Posted on in Adoption

Texas family law attorney, Texas adoption attorney, Texas adoption laws,Adoption is one of the most delicate legal procedures in the Texas Family Code. Properly executed, this process brings a lifetime of joy to an adopting family. But if done improperly, this complex child custody proceeding can mean an almost unheard of amount of heartache and disappointment, to say nothing of an incredibly high financial cost. Given the amount of precision required, it is a tremendous advantage to partner with a board certified expert in a Texas adoption.

Finding a Birth Mother

Many prospective adoptive families simply make subtle inquires in their circle of friends to find a possible birth mother. Another option is to use the services of an adoption facilitator, who will perform much or all of the legwork involved. Advertising online, in a newspaper, or on a college bulletin board may also be an option, but there are legal and institutional rules to comply with in this area.


adoptDeciding to adopt a child is a deeply personal decision. Couples may choose to pursue a closed adoption, where the child and family has no contact with the birth mother, or an open adoption where the child and family has access to a degree of personal information, and may choose to maintain contact with each other once the adoption is complete. According to The Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project, having an open adoption may affect the child's self-esteem and adjustment.

According to the study, in children between the ages of 4-12 the level of openness in the adoption didn't affect self-esteem or adjustment. It did however seem to have an impact during middle childhood for adopted children. The empathy and mutual respect generated by an open adoption between the adoptive and birth parents had a significantly positive impact during this time.

In adolescents, the level of openness wasn't significantly important to the child's adjustment levels. Instead, qualities such as relationship collaboration and compatibility were more likely to impact an adopted child's self-esteem. Another somewhat surprising result from the study was that the level of openness in the adoption did not seem to result in any differences in a child's degree of preoccupation with being adopted, or their adoptive identity.


texas-open-adoptionAdding a child to your family is a very exciting prospect, but it is also a process that can feel confusing and emotionally overwhelming if it is your first time. One way to ease your anxiety is to work with a family lawyer experienced in adoption. This will give you more information about what to expect and how to structure the adoption in a way that is best for you and the child.

The Minnesota/Texas Adoption research project explored two waves of children who were adopted. In their first wave of research, the project creators found no relationship between adoption openness and self-esteem, but those results changed as time went on, possibly reflecting a greater trend about the desire for open adoption.

The first wave of research worked with adopted children between the ages of 4 and 12, and the second wave worked with children between 11 and 21 years old. For older adopted children, there is a positive aspect of having an open adoption: those teens who had birth mother contact were the most satisfied of all research groups with their level of birth parent contact overall. Most of the adolescents wanted more contract with their birth parents in the future, too.


LucyIn late February, Russian lawmakers demanded that a 2-year-old adopted Russian be returned to Russia from Texas. The boy's 3-year-old brother, who was adopted by the same Texas family, died under shady circumstances in January. The New York Times published an article on the subject.

The younger boy, Kristopher Shatto, born Kirill Kuzmin in Russia, remains in the custody of his adoptive parents, Alan and Laura Shatto, in Gardendale, Tex. his biological mother, Yulia V. Kuzmina, who lost custody of the boys due to an alcohol addiction, also has demanded the boy's return. Even as the State Duma, the lower house of Parliament, adopted a resolution calling for Kirill to be brough back to Russia, news outlets in the U.S. report that Ms. Kuzmina and her boyfriend had gotten into a drunk brawl and were removed from a train by the police while returning to Gdov, a town near the Estonian border. They had been in Moscow for a television appearance. Employees of the resort that Ms. Kuzmina and her boyfriend had stayed at supported the claims that the two were drunk that night; the employees said they couldn't even answer questions about their visit. The older boy, Max Shatto, born Maksim Kuzmina, died on Jan. 21, and news of his death set off a huge outcry in Russia. Russian lawmakers banned adoptions by American citizens late last year. Texas child welfare officials said they had received a report of abuse on the same day that Max had died, and bruises were said to be found on Max's body. If you have been accused of child abuse or your adoptive children are being threatened to be taken away, contact a family law attorney in Austin, Tex. now. Attorneys at the Law Office of William D. Powers will help you fight for your family in court today.

UntitledA recent report from the News Journal of Longview, Texas reports that a recent decision by Russian lawmakers to ban American adoptions has hit close to home. Russia has previously been one of the top countries for international adoptions to the United States.

Moscow lawmakers made the decision in late December and it is only a part of the sanctions that they plan to put on the U.S. One Texas family spoke out about this ban stating that they adopted a seven year old Russian child in 2011. They also said that they have heard about several families who have been waiting to take children from Russian orphanages; making a home for them only to find out that their waiting was in vain because their adoptions were cancelled. Another family states that while the orphanage where they got their child was well run, it makes no comparison to a stable home for the children.

Many families are adding adopted children to their families even when they have biological children. Many people think that only people who cannot bear their own children would consider adoption, but that could not be further from the truth. One child that was adopted said that his possibilities were limited in Russia and that he feels that he can be anything that he wants to be in the United States. He also said that what he loves the most is that he'd have parents, brothers and sisters as well as an extended family. This is something that he could not have hoped to have as a resident in a Russian orphanage.

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