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Adoption in California and International Adoption Processes

Adoption in California is not quite how the tabloids portray the number of children Angelina Jolie has accumulated from third-world countries over the years. She deserves applause for putting her vast amount of wealth to altruistic use: international adoption rates can be very expensive for the person who is not super-rich and influential. No, adoption even of a fellow child of insert-country-here is a complicated process. First, for international adoption, if the child’s home country is a participant in the Hague Convention, then the adoption agency or attorney that one makes contact with when the decision to adopt is made must be accredited by the U.S. government. If the home country is not a participant in the above treaty, a home study is still required along with United States Citizen and Immigration Services approval.

A home study is the screening of the prospective adopter’s home to determine whether it is a fit and sane place to raise a child. A six-month period of home study is required in all international adoptions as well as all adoptions within the U.S. The pre-placement home study may not be needed if it is an independent adoption. The cost ranges from $4000 to 5000 USD. This is a necessary step for the safety and well-being of the children. Adoption in California is governed by the Family Code. It retains the birth-mother’s rights and allows for a change of heart or circumstance: the mother may choose to give consent immediately or sign an agreement that the adoption becomes permanent after 30 days. Also, the father need not be present to sign or give approval on anything regarding the adoption. It is all the mothers’ choice, and California law states that a father’s rights are waived if they do not actively object or cannot be contacted.

There are two different types of adoptions one may follow through with: independent and through either a public or private agency. Adoption in California agencies must be licensed by the State of California. All agency adoptions require home study of the prospective adoptive parents. Independent adoption in California processes are when the mother and (where applicable) father handpick the adoptive parents. Only in interstate adoptions will a pre-placement home study be required for independent adoptions. Private agency adoptions often involve direct contact between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. With public adoption in California, there is usually no contact between the birth and adoptive parents because either the rights have already been waived or the court has terminated rights.

As with much of California’s forward thinking laws, the adoption laws allow for a woman to have the final, and only necessary, say in the adoption of her child (unless the court finds reason to terminate the mothers rights) while allowing for many options and methods of adoption. Adoption in California allows for the well being of the child and the mother at the same time. Whether you choose adoption in California or international adoption, it can be a lengthy and challenging process, but an adoption agency can help you. Not only will a good agency walk you through the legal requirements, they will help you with the many emotional changes that come with adoption as well. A caring agency will be with you from your initial questions through when your adopted child becomes part of your family.