Like every state, California has its own set of adoption laws. While enlisting the help of an adoption lawyer is probably the best way to understand the complicated legal process, there are still a few things you should know about how to adopt a baby in California.
1. Find out what type of adoption you are going to engage in during the initiation of adoption process.
- Agency (Relinquishment) Adoption is when the licensed private or public agency places the child for adoption. The agency has legal custody of the child either through voluntary relinquishment or involuntary termination of parent’s legal rights ordered by the court.
- Independent Adoption means the birth parent directly places the child for adoption to prospective parents. The adopting parents need to file a petition to adopt and only the CDSS can provide these services under Independent Adoption Program.
- Intercountry Adoption allows adopting parents to adopt a child from another country. Special immigration visa is granted under the federal law and the adoption process can be finalized in California.
- Stepparent Adoption is the adoption of the spouse’s child and is handled by local county probation or welfare departments.
- As of 2011, public agencies charge up to $500 for agency adoptions and $4500 for independent adoption. Private agencies vary in prices depending on the type of adoption services provided.
- You can get assistance from CDSS through Permanency Public Bureau and Adoption Services Bureau. Visit their website at www.childsworld.ca.gov/
- The agency will want to know if you are fit to adopt based on their assessment of the child’s needs. A home study that includes an interview is implemented.
- You will need to have a criminal, marital, medical, and employment background check.
- Once you’re approved, the adopted child will be in tentative placement. During that period, you will have to file a petition for adoption with the court.
- If successful, a final adoption order will be put on record by the court. You will get a new birth certificate for the adopted child and all your legal rights and responsibilities as an adopting parent will take effect.
- You can seek professional advice from an attorney regarding legal issues on adoption.
- Under certain circumstances, CDSS can provide financial and medical assistance to adopting parents.
- You can obtain free publications from the CDSS Adoption Branch on Adoption Assistance Program, Adoptions in California, General Information 1994, and more. Call CDSS at 1-800-KIDS-4-US to obtain these documents.
- In California, it is illegal to pay or offer money to a parent for a right to adopt a child. However, paying for the birth mother’s medical expenses is allowed as long as it is not a condition on her consent for adoption.