A Few Facts About Child Adoption Laws In California

If you live in California and are considering adopting a child, you aren’t alone. More adoptions take place in California than in any other state. Different people consider adoption for many different reasons. Some couples are unable to conceive a child due to medical reasons while others feel that they would rather adopt a child in need than have a baby. Some adoptions are family affairs, where a stepmother or stepfather adopts the biological child of their spouse. Still others are the result of a same-sex couple deciding they want to become parents. California’s adoption laws are designed to benefit everyone involved: birth parents, adoptive parents and, of course, children.
Domestic Adoption
Most people who adopt a child in California choose to pursue a domestic adoption. This means that they are adopting a child who is born in the United States. Most of these children were even born right in California. Domestic adoption is often easier than international adoption, making it a popular choice for parents who wish to bring a child into their family with minimum difficulty. It’s also an easy option for birth mothers who want to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their child is placed with a loving family; some may even have the opportunity of meeting that family.
There are two main kinds of domestic adoption in California: independent adoption and agency adoption.
Independent Adoption
Independent adoption is by far the most popular option for parents in California. Approximately eighty-five percent of domestic adoptions are independent adoptions. In an independent adoption, the birth mother is responsible for selecting an adoptive family for her child. She starts this process by reading about prospective families and viewing their photo-resumes. After narrowing down her choices, she will communicate directly with some families before making her final decision. California adoption law requires the adoptive family to undergo a six-month home study, which is carried out either by the California Department of Social Services or by a county office, depending on the county.
Agency Adoption
Another option for parents who wish to adopt a child is agency adoption, where an agency chooses a family for a child. The birth parents are often not involved in this choice. While agencies will handle newborn adoptions, many agency adoptions involve older children. This type of adoption is often more difficult than independent adoption and requires a more bureaucratic process. Agency adoption often deals with children whose birth parents immediately relinquished their parental rights, or with children who have been removed from their biological parents due to abuse or neglect. The sensitive nature of these situations requires an agency to be very meticulous in selecting an adoptive family. In agency adoptions, the law requires an in-depth home study before and after the adoption, and the adoption will require six months to be approved and become official.
The Home Study
Both independent and agency adoptions require at least one six-month home study. The home study is an in-depth examination of the prospective family’s home life, covering such areas as medical, financial, social and legal issues. Would-be parents are given criminal record checks and required to provide a medical report from a doctor. They are also extensively interviewed to help determine their ability and willingness to provide a loving, healthy home for a child. While this process can seem intimidating and even invasive, California Adoption Law requires that all adoptive parents undergo it in order to prepare them for the unique responsibility of raising an adopted child. Most families get through the home study process with little or no difficulty, and many of them actually find the process helpful.
It’s Worth Your Time
If you are considering adopting a child in California, whether you’re looking for a newborn or an older child in need of a family, it’s worth your time to become familiar with California’s adoption laws before you start the process. Knowing what you’re getting into can help you to avoid frustration and delays, and it can help to make the adoption a stress-free, enjoyable experience. California’s adoption laws are designed to benefit you and your child, whether you’re placing a child up for adoption or looking to grow your family through adoption. A few hours of study can help you and your family on your way to bringing home a new child.
About the Author
This article was written by Helen Philips an adoption specialist, who educates birth mothers on giving a child up for adoption.
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