An Overview of California Adoption

An Overview of California Adoption
California law provides many options for adoption. Of course, California recognizes traditional adoptions, which rely on a state agency. However, California recognizes that all families and their needs are different. For that reason, other mechanisms include stepparent/domestic partner adoption, relative (kinship) adoption, independent adoption, and international adoption.

Traditional Agency Adoption

In a traditional adoption, the California Department of Social Services is involved in the placement of the child with a family, which may consist of a single person. The agency conducts a home study and supervises the adoption placement for a period of time before court approval. A major advantage of adopting a child through the state agency is that state regulations apply. Many children adopted in this manner are in state custody before being placed with a family.

Stepparent/Domestic Partner Adoption

California uses a streamlined adoption procedure when the stepparent or domestic partner of a biological parent wants to adopt a child. To take advantage of this procedure, two requirements must be met:

  • The person who wants to adopt the child must have been married to or in a domestic partnership with the biological parent when the child was born.
  • The person who wants to adopt the child must still be married to or in a domestic partnership with the child’s biological parent.

In these cases, no home study is completed.

Relative (Kinship) Adoption

A simple procedure is also used when certain eligible relatives wish to adopt a child. A relative adoption is unique in several ways, such as the following:

  • The relative can continue to receive financial assistance from the state.
  • After the case is closed, no state agency continues to provide supervision of the relationship between the relative and the child.
  • The relative can choose to enter into an agreement with the biological parents to allow their continuing contact with the child.

Relative adoptions can help continue important family relationships while allowing the relative to receive financial assistance for raising the child.

Independent Adoption

In an independent adoption, no state agency or placement agency is involved in the adoption process. Instead, the adoptive parents and the birth parents agree themselves to the adoption. A main advantage to this option is that parental rights of the birth parents need not be terminated if everyone agrees. Because independent adoptions are highly regulated, is usually advisable to consult with an attorney if you choose this option.

International Adoption

When child to be adopted in California is born overseas, it is referred to as an international adoption. International adoptions can be more complicated because of differing country laws and because the child must have a visa to enter the United States. This is another area in which working with an experienced attorney can help make everything go more smoothly and according to your expectations.

Adopting a child is very exciting and can be very rewarding. If you need the assistance of an experienced California family lawyer to protect your interests in an adoption proceeding, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger can help. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys help: (415) 293-8314.