Lifetime Adoption | States | California

Adoption in California

California Adoption, Home Studies and More

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Adoption Services for
Birth Parents and Adoptive Families

If you live in the Golden State and are interested in adoption, Lifetime Adoption coordinators are here to guide you through the adoption process. Whether you are considering placing your child for adoption or you are considering adopting a child, our Lifetime Adoption coordinators are here to answer your questions and provide you with the information and resources you need.

Pregnant and Considering Adoption in California

pregnant woman in LA
When a pregnancy test comes back positive, and it is not the result you were expecting, the emotions can be overwhelming. Figuring out your next steps can be hard. When you share your news with family, friends, and the baby’s father, you may receive a lot of opinions and advice, which can make you feel even more confused.

Take a minute to contact Lifetime Adoption, where you will find a kind and non-judgmental coordinator that can help you calmly consider your options. You can call, text, or fill out our online form, and an adoption coordinator will be there for you. After you provide a few details about your situation, she can put you in touch with a professional or peer counselor who can help you work through the pros and cons of your options.

What is the Adoption Process in California?

Your first step is to call, text, or fill out our online form. An adoption coordinator will speak with you to find out what your wishes are and what resources and support you may need.

Next, you can look through adoptive family profiles and choose a family for your baby. You may want a family from California or maybe from another state and you will get to choose how much contact you would like with that family during your pregnancy and after. Adoption isn’t only for newborns. If you are considering placing a toddler or older child, a professional counselor will help with the plan to make the transition healthy for you, your child, and the adoptive family. She will help you work with the adoptive parents and your coordinator to create a post-adoption contact agreement that everyone can agree on.

If you are pregnant, you and your adoption coordinator will also create a hospital plan that will say who will be in the delivery room, who will cut the cord, who will hold the baby, who will leave the hospital first, and other details. There will also be an attorney available, at no cost, who will make sure that you understand all your rights and will take care of all the paperwork and court filings. Lifetime Adoption coordinators have been guiding expectant mothers in California through the adoption process for over 30 years. Please get in touch with us so we can help you.

Open Adoption in California

Most people don’t know a lot about modern, open adoption. Today, when you choose adoption, you get to make all the decisions about what you think is best for your baby. This include things like who will adopt your baby and how much contact you would like to have in the future. Your Lifetime Adoption coordinator will ask a lot of questions so that she can create a personalized adoption plan for you and your baby. Some questions will be:

  • Would you like to choose the parents or have a coordinator choose for you?
  • Do you want to have contact with the family after the adoption is final?
  • What kind of contact and how much contact would you like to have?
  • When you go to the hospital to deliver, how would you like your hospital stay to go?
  • Should the adoptive parents to go to prenatal appointments with you?
  • Are you in need of help with pregnancy-related expenses?

If you don’t feel parenting your child is the right thing for you and your baby, placing your child for adoption is a loving and brave choice. There is a loving family that is ready and excited to grow their family through adoption. Today an open adoption does not mean saying goodbye to your child forever because you can receive updates, pictures, and even have visits during the year. Many of our birth mothers have great relationships with the adoptive families. Recently, one of our birth mothers was getting married, and she asked for her daughter to be there. Not only was her daughter there, but the adoptive parents were there, and the adoptive father actually walked her down the aisle.

Help With Pregnancy Expenses and More

Lara called Lifetime and had decided to place her baby for adoption. She had been in an abusive relationship and decided she needed to change how her life was going. Now, she had nowhere to live and new expenses due to her pregnancy. Her adoption coordinator let her know that in the state of California, pregnancy-related expenses can be covered by the adopting parents. The expenses include:

  • Maternity-related medical and hospital costs
  • Temporary living expenses of the mother during pregnancy
  • Counseling fees
  • Attorney and legal fees and guardian ad litem fees
  • Travel costs, meals, and lodging when necessary for court appearances or accessing services

One important resource provided by Lifetime Adoption is professional and peer counseling available at no cost. A professional counselor is available to help you with the emotions and decision-making processes and to help you make a plan for the future. Peer counselors are also available. These are women who are birth mothers and who have been through the adoption process. They are happy to share their stories and help you with your journey.

California Adoptive Families

Lifetime Adoption lets you search adoptive families from across the country because you deserve the perfect family for your child. When you browse our family profiles, using the search button below, you can learn more about their:

  • Lifestyle
  • Values and religious beliefs
  • Reasons for adopting
  • Home and neighborhood
  • And much more!

Families Wanting to Adopt in California

African American adoptive family holding their adopted baby

Are you considering adopting a newborn, toddler, or child up to the age of 6 in California? Lifetime Adoption is a leader in modern, open adoption and can make your adoption dreams come true. Our adoption coordinators have been connecting birth mothers with hopeful adoptive families for over three decades. We are dedicated to caring for our birth mothers and making sure they have all the resources they need,. We are also dedicated to creating strong and happy matches between birth families and adoptive families.

Starting the Adoption Process

So, what’s your first step? It’s easy. Just fill out our short online application. Applying is free and does not obligate you in any way. Once your application is reviewed and you are pre-approved, your adoption coordinator will contact you to explain the entire adoption process in California.

Thanks to Lifetime’s founder, Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P, and our dedicated adoption professionals, we can offer instruction on how to create a profile for birth mothers to view, how to set up your home study, and access to the education, blogs, and resources on our membership site. For over 30 years, the Lifetime program has created successful adoption relationships.

Have additional questions? Give us a call at 530-763-6780 and a coordinator will be happy to help you.

Cost of Adoption in California

There are a lot of factors that affect the cost of adopting in California. For instance, the type of domestic adoption you choose will impact the cost of adoption in California. In addition, facts such as whether you are adopting in California or adopting a child from another state can impact your costs. Each US state has individual adoption laws that will affect your budget and will determine what adoption professionals you will need to hire.

Home Study

Every family hoping to adopt will need to complete a home study. In California, you will choose a provider who will outline their fees. Most providers will charge between $2,000 to $4,000 for the home study process. The California state home study costs generally cover background checks, financial verifications, and the social worker’s expenses, such as time and mileage for visits and creating the home study report along with any postplacement visits required by the state.

Adoption Professional

One of your first adoption choices will be whether you hire an adoption professional and, if so, which one. The benefits of an adoption professional are they help families connect with birth mothers and screen birth parent situations to protect adoptive parents from those who may be dishonest. A reputable professional or agency guides hopeful adoptive parents on their adoption journey and supports expectant women and parents considering placing their child for adoption. They support these parents by offering counseling, connecting them with resources they need, and helping them find just the right family to adopt their child. An adoption professional’s fees generally run about $25,000 and up to $50,000. Be sure to find out what the fees cover.


Legal representation will be a part of your adoption expenses. Once you are matched with an expectant mother or a child, you can expect to hire a legal representative for yourselves and the birth mother. Depending on your choice of lawyer, you can expect to pay around $8,000 to $15,000. The total cost will depend on who you hire, the legal requirements by state, and any other unique factors that may be part of your adoption.

Birth Mother Expenses

Every adoption situation is different; some birth mothers may need help with pregnancy-related expenses. In California, this can include expenses such as medical, legal, maternity clothing, food, utilities, rent, transportation, and more. A budget of around $5,000 is generally reasonable, as this is about the average expenses Lifetime Adoption birth mothers receive. The allowable expenses differ greatly from state to state, which is the reason these funds must be approved and dispensed legally. Your attorney and agency will consult with you and the birth mother to ensure the court approves all transactions.

You can expect the total cost of domestic adoption in California to range from around $38,000 to $70,000 and it is important to understand the potential expenses and budget for them accordingly.

Lower Cost Options

If the cost of domestic adoption will stress your budget, the foster system or AdoptUSKids is a lower-cost option you could explore. The foster care system has many children waiting to be adopted. In the case of foster care adoption, the state handles the adoption costs. Children available to be adopted in foster care are not often newborns and may have special needs or be older (over eight years old).

With foster adoption, you are required to participate in parenting education, which will focus on how to be successful when adopting a child with special needs or an older child. If a newborn, toddler, or child under five years old is how you see your family growing, the foster care system may not be the right fit.

International Adoption

International (or intercountry) adoption is one more option to consider. Typically, international adoption involves toddlers or older children. Due to the length of time needed for paperwork, approvals, and travel time, newborn babies are not generally an option. If you choose international adoption, seek advice from an adoption agency specializing in international adoption, licensed in your chosen country, with a good track record of successful adoptions. Ask about what countries are currently allowing international adoption and review their laws. Consider the risks associated with international adoption. Countries can revise their adoption laws or halt all adoptions before your adoption is complete. Unfortunately, some families hoping to adopt from Haiti and Ukraine experienced this sad situation. Some of these families end up in limbo for months or even years. In addition, the fees you paid to an agency and other adoption professionals may not be reimbursed. The final cost of domestic and international adoption are usually very similar.

Adoption Laws in California

California adoption laws can seem complicated but don’t worry. You will have an adoption attorney and Lifetime Adoption coordinator to help you navigate the legal aspects of the California adoption process.

Typically, in California, the timeline for legal documentation and the timeline for adoption are as follows:

  • In general, the birth mother signs papers surrendering on the date of her discharge from the hospital, as can the birth father. A birth father may surrender his parental rights by signing a Waiver of Notice or Denial of Paternity at any time, before or after the child’s birth. The adoptive parents cannot finalize their adoption until six months after placement of the child in their home.
  • In addition, a home study is required as well as a hearing after six months where a judge will review the home study and other documentation then finalize the adoption by issuing a final decree of adoption.

Every adoption situation varies. There are exceptions and different legal requirements depending on the individual facts of each adoption. Your adoption attorney is there to ensure your adoption goes smoothly and all legal aspects are done correctly.

More About California Home Studies

A home study is a legal document that confirms your ability to parent and adopt a child. Throughout the U.S., a home study is required to proceed with an adoption. Your Lifetime Adoption coordinator will be happy to refer you to a home study provider in California.

A home study includes the following:

  • Background checks
  • Medical reports
  • Employment verification
  • References
  • Financial verification
  • Visit of the home

Your home visit will involve every member of the household being interviewed, and you will provide background information and information regarding your family and marital relationships, why you want to adopt, what your parenting style is, your education, and more for your social worker.

Your California home study social worker will come back within one week for the first post-placement visit once your child is placed with you. These visits will continue monthly until your adoption finalization. 

Whether you are hoping to adopt or are a parent considering placing your child for adoption, Lifetime Adoption looks forward to working with you and providing the information and support you need for a successful adoption.



Mardie Caldwell



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Florida Seal of Approval   Florida Adoption Council Logo

Lifetime Adoption, Inc. is a Licensed Florida Child Placing Agency. (License #100084254)

National Council for Adoption seal

35 anniversary logo

Small Women Owned Business

Lifetime Adoption's BBB Accredited Business A+ rating

Lifetime Adoption Center is a BBB Accredited Business with an A+ rating


Copyright © | Lifetime Adoption

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