Thousands of parents around the country resort to adoption to make their parenting dreams come true. While some prospective parents may adopt children from their home state, others may decide to explore options for adoption from other states. Our Ventura adoption lawyers explain more about the adoption process in California and how you can adopt a child from another state.
What is the Adoption Process in California?
Adoption is a legal process by which adoptive parents acquire custody and parental rights over the adopted children. Adopting a child means providing food, shelter, education, and all other necessary things to raise the child. Usually, you will start the adoption process by contacting a private or public, licensed adoption agency or your local California Department of Social Services (CDSS). The hopeful parents will receive information from the adoption agency or CDSS explaining all matters related to adoption. Should the potential parents decide to move on with the adoption process, they will be required to follow several requirements.
California requires adoptive parents to be at least ten years older than their prospective adoptive child. As part of the adoption process, the potential parents must undergo several legal procedures including home assessment, criminal background checks, and other steps before being approved for adoption by the state of California.
The in-home inspection and investigation – performed by a social worker – is designed to make sure you can provide a safe and nurturing home environment for the adoptive child. Additionally, you will be required to show evidence of employment, finances, health, marriage certificates, and other relevant paperwork.
After you have completed the adoption process and a child is placed in your home, you will have to undergo a final assessment procedure. Before the final adoption decree is declared in your favor, you will have to go through a minimum of six months of post-placement supervision. During this six-month period, a social worker will perform periodic visits to make sure the adopted child is adapting well to his or her new home.
You can lose your opportunity to adopt if you or any adult in your household is found to be a convicted felon or has a history of spousal abuse, child abuse, neglect, or other criminal conduct. All of these elements are set forth by state law to ensure the child’s well-being and safety.
Can I Adopt from Out of State?
Many families may want to adopt a child residing in another state. Fortunately, you can adopt a child living outside your state borders by meeting specific criteria.
The interstate adoption process is similar to the one adoptive parents must go through within California. However, in addition to complying with the adoption laws in their state, prospective parents must comply with the rules set by the child’s state. For instance, if you are a prospective parent adopting a child living in Colorado, you will need to comply with both California and Colorado adoption laws and rules.
When adopting a child from another state, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is involved. The ICPC sets rules for overseeing all parties’ compliance with the child’s state’s laws before transferring the adoptee. All prospective parents must make sure to satisfy the criteria set by the ICPC to receive their child. Generally, a social worker will guide you through the necessary steps to meet the ICPC’s requirements, but you can contact a lawyer for additional guidance.
Californians can also adopt children from another country. To adopt a child from another country, you must be a U.S. resident and found eligible to adopt under federal and state laws. Additionally, you must be found eligible to adopt under the laws of the prospective child’s country. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the agency in charge of determining whether you are eligible to adopt a child from another country. Therefore, you cannot bring a child from another country into California unless the USCIS determines you can.
According to the USCIS, you must meet the following criteria to adopt from another country:
- You must be a U.S citizen.
- You must be 25 years old if you are single.
- If you are married, both you and your spouse must adopt jointly, and your spouse has to be a U.S. citizen or meet other criteria. This applies if you are separated, but not if you are divorced.
- You must undergo procedures such as criminal background checks, home studies, and other criteria.
Ventura Family Law Attorneys Handling Interstate Adoptions in California
Going through the legal paperwork associated with adoption can be complicated. At The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth, we understand all you want is to become an adoptive parent. Let our experience and skill work for you. Our Ventura family law attorneys can help our clients navigate the entire adoption process. To learn more about your case in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.