Living with cancer can be incredibly difficult. Much of your energy might be devoted to taking care of yourself and getting better. However, something like cancer does not necessarily need to put your life on hold, and you may still be able to accomplish many things you want to do with your life, including adopting and becoming a parent. For help with your adoption case, contact the Ventura adoption lawyers at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today.
Does California Law Allow You to Adopt with Cancer?
California’s adoption laws are incredibly broad. One of the few requirements they have for allowing an adoption is simply that the person doing the adopting needs to be at least 10 years older than the person they’re adopting. In many cases, this requirement is even waived if you adopt a stepchild, niece, nephew, or another family member.
This means that there is no restriction against adopting while you are battling cancer. If you are currently undergoing intensive treatment, it may be a significant burden on your life that makes adoption difficult. However, if you are up to the challenge and want to adopt, you may still be allowed to.
There are potential complications for adopting with cancer. In nearly any adoption case, the court will order social workers to perform a home study, where the social worker writes a report determining your fitness to be a parent. Many home studies end with the social worker suggesting improvements that would make the home more child-friendly, which need to be resolved before your application is approved. Home studies also take into account the parents’ personal fitness to be a parent.
If you spend much of your time going to and from doctor’s appointments, undergoing cancer treatment, or incapacitated because of the effects of chemotherapy or the symptoms of your condition, you may not be approved for adoption. These kinds of things can have a significant impact on your ability to parent and may prevent a social worker or judge from approving you.
If you are in complete remission or are a cancer survivor, there is no reason that courts or social workers should prevent you from adopting. Many cancer survivors are unable to have children naturally, and it is important that California leave these individuals access to adoptions.
If the court or a social worker challenges your fitness to be a parent because of your current or previous battle with cancer, talk to a family lawyer for help fighting for approval.
The Adoption Process in CA
The beginning of the adoption process usually involves finding a child to adopt and getting approval. If you are adopting through an agency or international organization, they will often help match you with a child. If you are privately adopting a child directly from the parents or from a pregnant woman, you may be able to perform much of the search on your own.
You also need to file with the courts or work with the adoption agency to get approval to adopt. This process can often come before finding the child to prevent parents from getting their hopes up on any particular child. During this process, the courts will order social workers to investigate you, including performing background checks, home visits, and other investigations to ensure you are able to take care of children.
After that, the court needs to finalize the adoption. This can involve accepting consents and other paperwork from the birth parents or adoption agency, transferring child custody rights to the adopting parents. The court must also establish the new parent-child relationship through a court order, finalizing your parental rights as an adoptive parent.
During this process, there are often significant waiting periods. If you need to make corrections after a home visit, such as installing child safety devices or having renovations, these changes could take a while to get completed and approved. Adoption agencies may also have long wait times. Especially if you are adopting from another country, you may need to make multiple visits to that country to meet the child, meet with their adoption agencies, and do the proper paperwork for adoption in that country. When you return with the child to California, you may need to take additional steps to have California/US law recognize your parental status as well.
Any step of this process can have issues. Hiring an adoption attorney as early in the process as you can will help ensure that you have someone to help you when complex issues arise.
Ventura Adoption Lawyers Offering Free Consultations for Cancer Survivors Seeking Adoption
If you or a loved one is currently seeking cancer treatment or is a cancer survivor, they may still be able to adopt in California. For help arranging the legal side of an adoption, contact a Ventura family lawyer to represent you and your interests. For a free consultation on your case, contact The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today at (805) 643-5555.