How to Adopt in California
What You Need to Know to Adopt a Baby in CA
If you’re considering adoption in California and wondering how the process works, you’ve come to the right place. Adoption is both a beautiful and complicated process, so it’s best to know what you’re getting into before you begin. While everyone’s journey is different, here’s what you can expect to happen when pursuing a California adoption:
1. Decide to adopt a child in California.
It may sound silly, but many couples aren’t quite committed to adoption when they begin to consider adopting a baby. This is completely normal. Many couples struggle with infertility for years before ultimately choosing to grow their family by adopting a child. It’s important, however, to fully grieve infertility and commit completely to adoption before you begin the adoption process in California.
As hard as it may be to let go of your dreams to have a child biologically, you must do so to become fully committed to adopting a baby.
2. Decide the type of California adoption you wish to pursue.
Once you’ve decided that you want to adopt a baby, you have a few factors to consider. Do you wish to adopt a newborn or pursue an older child adoption? Would you prefer to complete a California adoption or one from somewhere else in the United States, which is called a domestic adoption, or an international adoption? Do you want to adopt privately or through California’s foster care system?
Once you’ve determined the type of adoption you wish to pursue, you’re ready to officially begin the adoption process.
3. Choose an adoption agency.
There are multiple adoption agencies in California you’ll be able to choose from depending on the type of adoption you wish to pursue. Naturally, we’re partial to our own services at American Adoptions. However, no matter which professional you speak with, you’ll want to ask about certain factors, such as:
Total cost estimates and any hidden fees
What will happen to your money in the event of an adoption disruption
Any financial protection the professional may or may not offer
The amount of support and education, both for adoptive families and birth mothers
4. Complete necessary steps to become an active adoptive family.
Before you can pursue an adoption in California, the state requires that you meet certain requirements. American Adoptions has requirements for adoptive families as well. These include but are not limited to:
Completing a home study, which has three phases: a documentation stage, interviews with each member of your family, and a home inspection
Completing an Adoption Planning Questionnaire, which helps to identify what you’re looking for in an adoption opportunity and which pregnant women might be a good match for you
Completing an Adoptive Family Profile, which will give you an opportunity to show a woman considering adoption what her baby’s life could look like if placed with you
5. Find an adoption opportunity and get to know the birth parents before placement.
After you’ve become active, American Adoptions will connect you with a prospective birth mother based on your preferences and will then help you get to know her. When it comes to adoption in California — or adoption anywhere else — American Adoptions always recommend that you have some degree of openness in an adoption. Everyone in the adoptive triad benefits when lines of communication are kept open, particularly adopted children. No matter how you choose to communicate with your child’s birth parents, it’s good to get this process started before he or she is born. When a pregnant woman is considering placing her child with you, she is more likely to feel comfortable with her decision if she is comfortable with you.
6. Finalize your child’s adoption.
Your child’s birth and homecoming is certainly an event to celebrate, but it’s not the end of the adoption process. After adopting a baby in California, you will have a finalization hearing. This is when a judge hears your case and, if he or she finds that everything is legal, ethical and in the child’s best interests, grants you parental rights. To learn more about finalizing a California adoption, see “How to Finalize Your Adoption in California.”
After the finalization hearing takes place, the legal steps of your adoption process are complete. Congratulations! As a hopeful adoptive parent, you’ve waited for this day for a long time. However, it’s important to note that the adoption process is never actually over. Talking about adoption with your child and helping them to understand their story is a lifelong journey, and one that we would love to help with. For more information about adopting a baby in California with our agency, call 1-800-ADOPTION, or request free information here.
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.