Adoption is the legal process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship when the adopting parent is not the child’s biological or birth parent. Adoption means taking a child into your home as a permanent family member.
Unlike foster care, adoption is long term and intended to be permanent. In adoptions you are publicly and legally stating that the child is yours. There are no expiration dates on adoptions.
Types of Adoptions
Aspiring Adoptive Parents struggle figuring out what to do or how the process works. In California, there are at least four (4) types of Adoptions
- Stepparent/Domestic partner adoption: In this case, the spouse or domestic partner of the child’s parent adopts that child. The couple must be legally married or registered as domestic partners.
- Independent Adoptions: It is not necessary to have an adoption agency or the Department of Social Services involved in the process. The parental rights of the existing parents may or may not have to be terminated, depending on the agreement between parents.
- International adoption: The child to be adopted was born in another country.
- Agency adoption: In this case, the adoption is facilitated by the California Department of Social Services or a licensed adoption agency.
In this article we will concentrate on discussing Agency Adoptions, specifically “Straight Adoptions”.
Requirements to Adopt
In California, anyone who completes approval as a Resource Family, is able to consider either foster care or adoptions. It used to be the case that foster care had its own requirements and adoptions had a separate list of requirements. But that is no longer the case. The Resource Family Approval (RFA) process serves both foster parents and adoption parents considering “Agency Adoptions”.
You really are not going to hear the term “straight adoption” much. This is a layperson term. It could easily be called “direct adoption”. But the basic idea is that the prospective adoptive parent completes the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process and then waits to be matched with a child who is eligible for adoptions. Only a child already identified as available for adoptions will be placed in your home.
Truth be told, this process may be frustrating and requires a lot of patience. Usually, families who opt for straight adoption, have a specific image of the child they would like to adopt. And, may have their minds set on a newborn or an infant.
Be prepared for a potentially long wait. There are hundreds if not thousands of families who are also hoping to find a newborn or an infant. Although one should never give up hope, this type of matching may take a long while.
Families who opt for this route often say that they do not want to become attached to a child only to find out later that the child will be removed from their home to be placed with a relative.
However, this may mean that they will be waiting before they are “matched”. This could be 6 months or two years, so if you do not mind the wait, this could be an option for you.