California’s adoption laws do not limit people with disabilities from being able to achieve their dreams of being a parent. However, disabilities are legitimate concerns for the courts and social workers that approve your parental fitness. Because of this, adopting a child may be more difficult if you suffer from a disability. Talk to an attorney about the specifics of your case if you need help adopting with a disability. The Ventura adoption lawyers at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth may be able to help.
Can Adults with Disabilities Adopt in CA?
The definition of “disability” is often incredibly varied. Some definitions may only include severe physical impairments which prevent you from doing daily tasks yourself, like quadriplegia or severe developmental disorders. Others may refer to “handicaps” like paraplegia or cerebral palsy. Furthermore, there are mental conditions which have varying degrees of impairment that may make it more difficult to parent, such as adult autism or even depression. In any case, these conditions are not automatic bars to being a parent.
Many people with these disabilities, major or minor, can still provide excellent parenting for their children, and simply having a disability is not a bar to adoption. However, one of the considerations that courts and social workers make when approving adoption applications is the parent’s fitness.
A physical or mental disability may make providing for your child more difficult. If your disability is too severe to work for income to support your child or makes it impossible to care for yourself, let alone a child, the court might reject your application. Investigations into your fitness to be a parent is a complex process where the court looks at a wide range of factors. If you have a spouse who is able to care for adoptive children or there are other adults in your household, courts may weigh your disability as less of a factor.
Especially if your disability is minor and does not cause significant interference in your day-to-day life, the courts and social workers should have no grounds to declare that your disability hurts your fitness to parent. If you are having trouble getting approval or have been rejected because of your disability, a family lawyer may be able to challenge the decision as potential discrimination.
Legal Issues for Adults with Disabilities Seeking to Adopt
Whenever you try to adopt a child, there are other legal complications you could face. Many adoption cases are stalled or denied because of sudden changes that make the child no longer available to adopt. When adopting internationally, these problems are often made worse by the distance and cultural divide between the child’s birth country and the US. In California adoption cases, you may miss out on adopting a particular child if someone else is approved sooner or the birth parents change their mind.
Adopting from a pregnant mother or a simple parent can become complicated if the other parent steps in. An estranged mother or expectant father may have child custody, and it could be difficult to complete the adoption if they insist on asserting those rights. You may need to take your case to court to challenge the birth parent’s custody rights. Especially if they have a history of crime or drug abuse, the courts may be willing to sever their ties and allow you to adopt.
If the birth mother or only parent changes their mind, it may be extremely difficult to continue the adoption process. You may be able to form contracts with an expectant mother that allow you to adopt the child, but until the adoption is finalized, the mother may be able to change her mind and stop the adoption. Talk to an attorney about what options you may have to help the adoption to go forward.
Other legal complications arise in many adoption cases. Because adoption can be a very emotional process, it is important to have an attorney who can step in to help negotiate and enforce your legal options on your behalf.
Ventura Adoption Attorneys Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one is seeking to adopt, have then talk to an attorney right away. Especially if you have a disability or another illness that might make it difficult for them to handle all the responsibilities of parenting, you may need an attorney to help argue that you are fit to be a parent. In many cases, disabled Californians are still able to adopt, especially if the disability is minor. For help with your case, contact the Ventura family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today for a free consultation. Our number is (805) 643-5555.