Every state in the United States has varying adoption laws. They can be complex and challenging to understand. In this edition of Lifetime’s blog series on adoption law, we’ll share about California adoption laws.
If you live in California and are considering adopting a child there, here are some important things to consider.
Who is eligible to adopt a child in California?
Any adult is eligible to adopt a child in California, but they must be ten years older or more than the child unless they are a sister, brother, aunt, uncle, first cousin, or stepparent.
Married couples or single adults are eligible. As with any adoption, potential adoptive parents must show that they are financially stable and that they can provide for the child. They also must pass a criminal and child abuse background check, and a home study is required.
Who can you adopt in California?
As part of their adoption orders, California law states that minors who are at least ten years younger than their adoptive parent or parents are eligible for adoption. The birth mother will need to sign documents to place the child for adoption a few days afterward in the presence of two witnesses and a social worker.
If the child is over 12 years old, they must sign a consent form to be adopted. If stepparents wish to adopt a child in their family as part of their open independent adoption, no pre-placement home study is required. However, there will be a six-month evaluation completed by a county employee as a requirement before the adoption is final.
How much does it cost to adopt a child in California?
Choosing adoption costs money. It requires paying for attorney fees, agency fees, application fees, and other costs that may come up related to travel, medical care, or other expenses that the birth mother may need assistance with.
Adoption can be costly, but it is not out of reach for the average family. In other words, you do not have to be a famous movie star or wealthy businessperson to adopt a child. It will simply require some planning and saving to make it happen.
Every day, we work with a variety of families and individuals that work in different careers including teachers, chefs, nurses, construction workers, engineers, and many more! On average, the adoption process can cost upwards of $30,000.
What does the adoption process look like?
Adoptive parents will first need to figure out what type of adoption they wish to pursue. Do you want to adopt a toddler, newborn, or an older school-aged child? There is a range of adoption services and situations available in California, so you are sure to find one that will work with what you are seeking.
There will be a lot of different paperwork to fill out, and once you create your family profile, expectant mothers and biological parents will be able to look through it to decide if they want to meet you.
Once a mother has chosen to move forward with meeting you, your adoption professional will help you set up a time to talk or meet in person. This conversation helps both parties determine if the adoption is a good fit or not.
It is important to remember that the adoption process can be long – sometimes, it takes 30 days or even months or years to find the right match. But being patient is well worth it because, in the end, you will be able to bring home the child that fits best with your family.
Adopting a child is an exciting decision that will change your life forever. If you are ready to begin the adoption process in California, our team of experienced adoption coordinators at Lifetime Adoption can help. Contact us today for information on how to get started.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”