When an adult adopts a child, that adult becomes the child's legal and permanent parent. The adoptive parent is responsible for raising the child and providing the child with the care and love they need to thrive. Adoption also terminates the parental rights of the child's biological parents, meaning that the biological parents can no longer have custody or visitation with their child and are no longer obligated to financially support the child.
In California, there are three types of adoption: agency adoptions, independent adoptions and intercountry adoptions. In an agency adoption, an adoption agency (public or licensed private) or the California Department of Social Services places the child up for adoption and is responsible for the care, custody and control of the child until the child is adopted. The child's biological parents' rights are thus terminated. There will be a study of the potential adoptive parent before the child will be allowed to live with them. Following the study, the child will live with the adoptive parent under the supervision of the agency for at least six months before the parent can officially adopt the child.
In an independent adoption, the child's biological parents select the potential adoptive parent, and once the child is born, they are placed in the care of the adoptive parent. An Adoption Service Provider must give the biological parents information on their options, rights and responsibilities. In addition, the biological parents are required to sign an Independent Adoption Placement Agreement. After 30 days have passed since the signing of the agreement, the biological parents can no longer revoke their consent -- the adoption is permanent.
In an intercountry adoption, the potential adoptive parents are adopting a child that was born in another country. The federal government has a special visa called an immigration entry visa that allows the child to live in the United States. The adoption can be completed in the nation the child was born in or in California.
Adoption is a wonderful way to grow a family and give a child the home and support they need to grow and thrive. Since there are different processes potential adoptive parents must follow depending on the type of adoption they are pursuing, it is important that they understand all their rights and obligations. Family law attorneys can be a useful resource for those thinking about adoption.