Success Story: An Adoption that Never Happened

Donald was homeless, disabled, and trying to get an apartment through housing assistance. In order to apply for this program, he needed to show proof of his identity. But Donald was facing a problem. He had been in the foster care system until he was about six years old and placed with his aunt and uncle. Donald thought that his aunt and uncle had legally adopted him but all of his legal documents listed his last name at birth, not the last name he had been going by since his adoption. Without the right documents with the right name, Donald couldn’t apply for assistance.

Not knowing what to do, Donald turned to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid for help.

TRLA investigated Donald’s case and found out that his aunt and uncle had never legally adopted him. Though they all thought this to be the case, the adoption process had never been completed. Since the adoption was never finished, Donald’s documents could not be changed using his aunt and uncle’s information. So TRLA helped Donald file a court case to legally change his name. When that was granted, TRLA helped Donald obtain copies of all the legal documents he needed to apply for housing assistance under the name he’d been using for more than 40 years.


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