By Ashley Leenerts, Texas Right to Life
Many of us have some personal connection to adoption, whether it be within your own family, a friend going through the process, or knowing someone who has actually been adopted.
Unfortunately, a significant barrier to adoption is the tremendous and often prohibitive expense, which can range dramatically depending on the unique circumstances of each case. During the Regular Session of the 88th Texas Legislature, only one bill was filed to reduce the cost of adoption, but this bill died on the House floor before getting a vote. But with the several special sessions anticipated to be called by Governor Abbott throughout the rest of this year, there may be another opportunity to get this bill passed into law!
House Bill 4138 by Representative Nate Schatzline (R – Fort Worth) would have established the Texas Adoption Assistance Program. The goal of this program would be to lower adoption costs for families by creating a state grant program that pays for up to half the costs if a church or nonprofit matches it. This reimbursement would be graded based on the family’s income level, meaning lower income families would be reimbursed to a greater level than higher income families. This bill would encourage communities to come alongside families seeking to adopt and break down the often insurmountable expense hurdle of adoption.
In this new era without Roe, making adoption more accessible and affordable is another way to highlight how Texas is not just anti-abortion but truly Pro-Life. Policies like HB 4138 achieve this goal.
Unless Governor Abbott adds this adoption bill to a special session, lawmakers will not have another chance to help families with the cost of adoption until 2025. A special session is a period of up to 30 days during which the Legislature is called back to Austin to complete unfinished business. During this time, officials can only address topics that the governor chooses.