Our blog covers topics on adoption, assisted reproduction, and surrogacy. You can read articles, personal stories, and commentaries written by our staff and our clients. A complete listing of all blog postings appear in chronological order below. To sort entries based on your interests, select one of the categories to the right under “categories.”
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(925) 945 1880 or (800) 877-1880.
Adoption can be emotional, and the language used in the adoption process can also be confusing. Whether you’re a birth mother who’s thinking about making an adoption plan or you’re thinking about bringing a new child into your family, there’s a lot of language around the rights of all of those involved in the adoption process. Here, we focus on the language you’ll see regarding birth fathers. What do these legal terms mean?
Voluntary Declaration of Paternity
Unmarried birth parents may want the birth father’s name to be placed on the baby’s birth certificate. In order for the birth clerk at the hospital to do this, the birth parents must sign a document called a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity. The birth mother and the man who states that he is the genetic father of the child can sign this declaration. The hospital social worker or birth clerk usually provides the declaration to the birth parents. It must be signed after the child is born, but it cannot be signed after the child has been relinquished for adoption. Signing a voluntary declaration of paternity is a way for the birth mother and father to provide the child and the adoptive family with a statement about the child’s genetic history.
Terms Used to Describe the Birth Father’s Legal Status
You may also see a number of terms used to describe the legal position of the man who states that he is the father of a child. A declarant father has signed the voluntary declaration that states that he is the father of the child. An adjudicated father means that a court or tribunal has determined that he is the father of the child. An alleged father is a term used when a man has stated that he is the father of the child, or the birth mother has done so, but the birth parents have not signed a voluntary declaration of paternity and his paternity has not been determined. An alleged father is also one who is not married to the birth mother.
Putative Father Registry
While not all states have a putative father registry, in the more than thirty states that have such a registry, unmarried men can register to be notified of the birth of a child and to be made aware of any adoption proceedings. A man who states that he is the father of a child will not necessarily have paternal rights and gain legal custody of the child. Registering with the Putative Father Registry means that he will be notified should the mother of the child decide to pursue adoption for that child.
Adoption is a big decision, and it’s one that’s best navigated with a bit of help. If you’re thinking about adoption, contact us to find out more, or call us at (925) 945-1880.
Image 2 courtesy of Family Formation: client photos printed with permission.
You’re thinking of adopting a child, or perhaps you’ve already started the process. There are many steps to the adoption process, and they all come with questions. The moment when you add an additional person to your family is very exciting, and this moment is full of emotion for the birth family as well as the adoptive family. What will happen after the baby is born? What does this part of your child’s adoption story look like?
Bringing Home Baby
The birth of a child is a very emotional time, and seeing the child you plan to adopt can be an experience of huge joy and excitement. After you’ve held the baby for the first time, what happens next? Different states have different processes for bringing that child home.
In some states and in some situations, you may be able to bring home a new baby very soon after the baby is born. However, although you are now caring for the child in your home, this doesn’t mean that the adoption has been finalized. There is generally a waiting period that allows the birth family to confirm that they would like you to raise the child. During this waiting period, the birth mother or parents sign the relinquishment paperwork. This waiting period varies from state to state. In some states, this can happen within 24 hours of a child’s birth, and in other states this process takes up to two weeks. To find out what the waiting period is in your state, click here.
Your adoption becomes final when you attend a court hearing to complete the adoption process. This hearing can occur weeks to months after you bring the baby home. After finalization, the child is now a legal member of your family.
Discharge to Your Family’s Representative
In some states, the baby may be officially discharged into the care of the birth parent’s representative. This representative may be her attorney or it may be another person, such as the representative of an adoption agency. This organization has official custody of the child.
Cradle Care or Transitional Care
In some states or in some adoption situations, you may need to wait for a number of days or weeks to bring your new family member home. This is because the child needs to move into cradle care or transitional care. The baby is discharged into the care of a social worker and remains in the care of a foster family for a time as the adoption process moves on. This may happen as part of the standard adoption process, as the birth parents terminate their parental rights and the adoptive family becomes the child’s adoptive parents.
Sometimes, cradle care occurs when the birth mother needs time to decide about an adoption or when a child is born and moves immediately into care as the family explores the potential of adoption. If the baby has medical conditions, this time is also one when these conditions can be evaluated.
The time when you welcome a new family member can feel both joyous and uncertain. If you’re looking for adoption support, we can help you move through this period of transition. It’s important to know about the legal process in your state. We can help guide you through this process. Call us at (925) 945-1880 or click here to learn more about the adoption process.
Baby Adoption Guide: http://adoption.com/baby-adoption-guide/
Pre-Adoption Foster Care: http://www.fosterparenting.com/foster-care/pre-adoption-foster-care.html
You’re having a baby. You know that after your baby is born, he or she will be adopted by wonderful adoptive parents. You have a plan, but how does the place you give birth work into this plan?
Giving birth is an intense experience, and while your focus may be on the baby and the adoption process right now, when you think about where to deliver your baby it’s important to consider your own physical, financial, and emotional well-being before and after childbirth. Traveling out of state to give birth can be challenging.
The Physical Challenges of Travel
Before you give birth, travel can be challenging. It’s harder to walk and carry luggage when you’re very pregnant, and you get tired easily. A medical certificate is generally required if you are flying within four weeks of your due date, and domestic travel is generally not permitted within seven days before and after your due date. Even though traveling by train, bus, or car is easily possible in the month before your due date, small aisles, cramped bathrooms, and tiny seats can make travel an uncomfortable experience while you’re pregnant.
Traveling After Giving Birth
Childbirth is an intense physical process, and after giving birth you’ll need to rest for a time. You will likely be sore and tired after having your baby, and you’ll want to rest. If you need to have a cesarean section, you’ll need to have extra time recuperating from surgery as well. Traveling immediately after you give birth can be exhausting, and it’s good to give birth in a place where you can easily get home to relax and have family and friends support you until you’re ready to get up and walk around and cook and care for yourself again.
Finding Emotional Support
When you’re pregnant you’ll have many strong emotions, and when you’re pregnant with a child who will be adopted, giving birth is an even more emotional moment. You’re saying hello to your child and you’re introducing this child to a new adoptive family. This entire process is quite emotional, especially for you, the birth mother. Traveling out of state to deliver means that you will likely be far from your support systems. While you may feel now that you want to go through the delivery alone, you need to consider the possibility that this will change. If you travel out of state to deliver, you limit your options if you change your mind about having a friend or family with you at the hospital.
Think About the Financial Implications
There are also financial considerations when you’re giving birth outside of your home state. If you have insurance to cover the delivery, your insurance may not cover the birth if you travel outside the state. If you’re on state aid for pregnant mothers and decide to travel to another state for a while before you give birth, you may not be eligible for aid programs in that state since you are not a resident. Most important, the hospital bills will be in your name. Adopting parents can cover the costs for this in most states, but if you change your mind and choose to parent your child, you will then be looking at high medical bills not covered by insurance.
When you’re thinking about where to give birth, the choice might seem to be all about your baby’s well-being and the welfare of your child’s adoptive family. However, it’s also important to support yourself during this process, so that you have help before, during, and after childbirth.
Senior staff at Family Formation includes a birth mother, an adoptive mother, an adoptive sibling and a surrogate mother. We have been in your shoes and we understand. Contact us today with any lingering questions you may have. There is never any obligation.
American Airlines Traveling While Pregnant – https://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/specialAssistance/travelingWhilePregnant.jsp
You have an adoption plan, and you want your baby to be healthy and happy with his or her adoptive family. You know that breast milk is a wonderful food for a newborn. However, it’s important to know that it is very uncommon for a birth mother to breastfeed. Breastfeeding can cause significant emotional challenges for the birth mother who is preparing to detach from the baby and for the adoptive parents who are preparing to bond with the baby.
The desire to breastfeed might also be an indicator that in your heart you want to parent. If you’re seriously thinking about breastfeeding the baby, this would be a good time to talk with an experienced counselor to make sure adoption is right for you and your baby. Here are some things to think about with respect to breastfeeding, and of course, you should consult with your doctor.
The Physical Process of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is an activity that helps a mother bond with her new baby. When a mother breastfeeds, her body releases oxytocin and prolactin, two hormones that help her bond with her new baby. While breastfeeding immediately after birth does give your baby the antibodies present in the first milk, or colostrum and helps your body release the placenta, it’s important to consider both the benefits and drawbacks of breastfeeding your newborn.
Some birth mothers choose to breastfeed immediately after birth or may breastfeed the baby for the first week or two of the child’s life, while the adoptive family is present in the state. However, the bonding process that happens between mother and newborn while breastfeeding could make your eventual separation from the baby more emotionally challenging. If you’re concerned that your baby will not have access to breast milk, know that there are human milk banks available to adoptive families as well, should they choose to go that route.
Choosing to Pump
Pumping milk is a way to reduce engorgement after having a baby. Engorgement happens when your breasts produce more milk than is required for your baby. If you are not breastfeeding, you could be uncomfortable during this time and need to pump or hand-express milk to relieve the soreness. You can pump simply to relieve some of the pressure on your breasts, although it is good to taper off so that your breasts gradually reduce the amount of milk you are making.
Some birth mothers have a very open relationship with the adoptive family and choose to pump milk for their baby so that the child can have the benefit of drinking breast milk. Others might choose to pump and donate to a milk bank that gives milk to premature, sick, or adopted babies.
Choosing to Bottle Feed
Both pumping and breastfeeding will encourage your body to continue to make milk for the baby, so you will have the hormones and milk flow connected to breastfeeding for a longer time than if you and the adoptive parents decide to bottle feed the child from the beginning.
Bottle feeding is a way to feed and nurture a newborn baby, but since it doesn’t trigger hormones in the same way that breastfeeding does, if you choose to hold and connect with your baby, bottle feeding may feel emotionally less challenging. This is also the way that the adoptive parents will likely feed your baby. However, holding your baby will still make you feel connected to the baby, and so you need to decide how comfortable you are holding and feeding the baby.
Different birth mothers make different choices when it comes to feeding the new baby. You may choose to have the adoptive family take over feeding of your newborn from the very beginning, you might choose to nurse the baby once or twice, or you might choose to have an ongoing and open relationship with the family and pump milk for the baby. The choices you make depend on what you and the adoptive family think is the best choice for you, your baby, and the baby’s adoptive family.
Having an adoption plan is a great start to ensuring your baby will have the future you want for him/her. But you will be required to make lots of important decisions that can have long-lasting effects. Senior staff at Family Formation includes a birth mother, an adoptive mother, an adoptive sibling and a surrogate mother. We have been in your shoes and we understand. Contact us today with any lingering questions you may have. There is never any obligation.
Breastfeeding Basics: http://www.breastfeedingbasics.org/cgi-bin/deliver.cgi/content/Anatomy/physiology.html
Mothers Milk Bank: http://mothersmilk.org/milk-recipients/
If you’re thinking about adoption, learn who will be involved.
What is Child Protective Services?
Child Protective Services or CPS is the nationwide government agency that is responsible for ensuring that children are physically and emotionally safe and well. Depending on the situation of a child’s birth family, CPS may become involved in an adoption to help safeguard the wellbeing of that child. Sometimes families adopt a newborn or an older child who is in the care of CPS, while other families would like to create an adoption plan with a birth mother whose circumstances might lead to CPS involvement.
When Could CPS Become Involved in an Adoption?
Sometimes, the birth mother’s life circumstances have been challenging. She may decide to make an adoption plan because she knows that her difficulties with substances such as drugs and alcohol make her life challenging, and she’s looking for a safe, stable, and loving home for her baby. Since the use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy can pose health risks for children, child protective services may get involved in adoption when a birth mother tests positive for drugs, when a birth mother reports drug or alcohol use during pregnancy, or when a newborn is tested for or receives a medical diagnosis that is related to drug or alcohol use during pregnancy. Most states mandate that the hospital report positive test results to CPS. California mandates this reporting.
What Happens If Other Children Are In CPS Care?
If other children in the family are in the care of CPS and the situation in the home has not changed, then a new baby may also be placed into the care of the state. For example, if a child is born into a situation where other children in the family have experienced neglect or physical or sexual abuse, Child Protective Services may become involved in the newborn’s case as well.
Making a strong adoption plan can help adoption proceed more smoothly.
If you would like to make an adoption plan to adopt from a friend, family member, or other birth mother whose situation may lead to the involvement of Child Protective Services, it is important to make a strong adoption plan before the child is born. In California, if a plan is in place for adoption, it’s less likely that a newborn will pass into the care of Child Protective Services. An adoption plan shows that you and the child’s birth family are willing to transition the child into a stable home and support that child’s physical and emotional needs.
If you have adoption questions about children who may be in a situation where child protective services will be involved, we can help. We’ve been there, and we can help you with your questions about the adoption process. Call us at (925) 945-1880 for a free phone consultation.
California Child Protective Services: http://www.dss.cahwnet.gov/cdssweb/pg93.htm
Sacramento County Adoptions: http://www.dhhs.saccounty.net/CPS/Pages/Adoptions/SP-Adoptions.aspx
US Department of Health Child Welfare Gateway: https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/drugexposed.pdf
Many different women choose adoption for their baby.
Who is a birth mother? As a prospective adoptive parent, you might be surprised by the diversity of mothers who decide that adoption is the right future for their child. Birth mothers are women who’ve given birth to a child who’s being raised by adoptive parents who love them, and although there can be similarities in birth mothers’ reasons for making an adoption plan, every birth mother’s situation is unique.
Seeking a Stable and Loving Home for a Child
Birth mothers come from all different walks of life, but they’re united in their desire to give their child a wonderful life. A birth mother may be a student who’s pursuing her dream of a career and looking to her future. At the same time, she looks to her child’s future and knows that making an adoption plan is the right thing to do, since she’s not able to make a family work under her current circumstances.
A birth mother may not be able or willing to parent with the child’s father. Without the emotional and financial support of a partner, she feels that the most supportive family for her child is a family that’s ready and eager to parent right now.
While many birth mothers are young women, many are older as well. Older birth mothers may already have a family, and this pregnancy comes as a surprise, perhaps this baby has a different father than her other children. These birth mothers may feel like they’re unable to financially or emotionally support a new baby. Adoption is also a path for women who feel like this new child needs a family who can support the physical, emotional, and financial needs of a newborn.
Birth mothers want to place their child in a stable and loving family.
Looking for a Safe and Stable Family
Women in crisis are also birth mothers. When a woman is experiencing abuse or homelessness, she may not feel like she’s able to give her child the safe and stable home that the child needs. She may decide to create a plan to help another family adopt this child.
Sometimes, women are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and they realize that they are not able to provide a healthy environment for their child. In this case, Child Protective Services may become involved after the baby is born. These birth mothers may choose to create an adoption plan for the child before that child is born, so that they can ensure that the child goes to a family or to an agency of their choosing. They might also know that the child could have medical issues as a result of the prenatal environment, and the birth mother doesn’t feel she can give the child the care and access to services the child will need now or in the future.
Making a Plan
What is an adoption plan? For birth mothers who are considering adoption, an adoption plan helps spell out the steps that will take place when the child is born. An adoption plan helps create a smooth transition between the birth mother and the adoptive family, helping to ensure that the child is placed with an agency or a family that the birth mother has chosen specifically for her child.
Are you pregnant and considering adoption? We can help you create an adoption plan to place your child with a loving family. If you’re a family looking to adopt, we can help you find your future child. If you have adoption questions, we’re here to help. Give us a call at (925) 945-1880 for a free phone consultation.
Adoption.com – Birth Mother Stories: http://adoption.com/birth-family/birth-family-birth-mother-stories/
When you’re having a baby, you know that you need to stay healthy. After all, you are the person who is caring for that baby until you give birth. Two common adoption questions that birth mothers have are how to be well during pregnancy and how to get ready for childbirth.
Prenatal Help for Pregnant Women
Once you know you’re pregnant, it’s important to get support to take care of yourself. That way, you’ll know about problems like low iron or gestational diabetes, and you’ll get checkups to make sure that your baby is developing normally. If you need help getting prenatal appointments, you may qualify for Medicaid. If you don’t qualify, look at the Children’s Health Insurance Program to see if you can find low cost insurance during your pregnancy.
Maintain or adopt healthy habits during your pregnancy. Take a vitamin with folic acid to prevent neural tube defects and other birth defects such as a cleft palate, and seek support if you currently drink, smoke, or use other substances. The Smokefree web site has both online and live help for you if you need support to quit smoking.
Make sure that your diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy sources of protein, and whole grain carbohydrates. This can be hard to achieve when you’re on a limited budget. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides pregnant and postpartum mothers with supplemental food, nutrition education, and health care referrals.
Getting Ready for Labor
Taking a prenatal class will help you understand the changes in your body and will help you get ready for labor. It’s good to invite a partner, family member, or friend to these classes as well, so that your support person also understands what might happen during labor. Take a look at the hospitals or other birthing facilities in your area. Imagine yourself giving birth there. Walk through and tour the facility so that you know what will happen when you go. Preparing well for childbirth can help you make a birth plan and help with your adoption planning.
Caring For Yourself After Delivery
When you are choosing adoption, it’s still important to have good post-natal care. Childbirth involves a lot of physical work and it’s important to have a good medical team and a group of friends or family who can help you recover. You may experience complications such as stitches or a cracked tailbone or you may need to recover from a cesarean section. You’ll need to check in with a medical professional for follow up care if you experience complications.
If you are not pumping milk, you will need to relieve engorgement and gradually reduce your milk supply so that you are not uncomfortable. A lactation consultant can help with engorgement and strategies for pumping or reducing your milk supply. Sometimes, women experience sadness after adoption or simply after giving birth. To help avoid or relieve postpartum depression, it is important to have a good support system and consistent check-ins with medical professionals or counselors.
Planning for a healthy pregnancy and postpartum time will help you and your baby stay well during this time.
Working with a legal firm that assists birth mothers can help ensure that you will have the care you need, before and after the baby is born. Call us today at (925) 945 1880 or (800) 877-1880 with questions or comments. We look forward to providing the answers you need.
BabyCenter: Help for Low Income Pregnant Women: http://www.babycenter.com/0_help-for-low-income-pregnant-women-and-families_10320594.bc
Women, Infants and Children: http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/women-infants-and-children-wic
What Is Surrogacy?
A surrogate is a woman who is able to carry a baby for that child’s future family. Families are involved from the beginning. Surrogates carry children for couples or for single parents. The surrogate relationship is a very special one. A surrogate mother becomes part of your child’s village, giving life to your child and helping you create your family.
What Is Traditional Surrogacy?
There are two main types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. A traditional or classic surrogate not only carries a child, she is also the child’s biological mother. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate becomes pregnant through IVF, IUI, or insemination. The child she carries may be related to the father or may be unrelated to the future parents.
Are you investigating traditional surrogacy? This method of creating a family can be less physically complicated and costly than gestational surrogacy. Since traditional surrogates can become pregnant through insemination, they may not need to go through costly and complicated IVF procedures. While IVF involves waiting time if a surrogate does not become pregnant, insemination can occur every month. This process is often easier on the surrogate, and it can be a faster way to start a family.
Traditional surrogates may be family members or friends who want to help you have a child. Even so, the process can be emotionally challenging for the surrogate mother. It’s important to set up a surrogacy agreement that works for and supports all of those involved.
In gestational surrogacy, the child is not related to the surrogate. Gestational surrogacy is diverse. In some cases, the mother may be able to produce eggs but unable to carry a child. IVF brings sperm from the father and an egg from the mother together to create an embryo that is then implanted into the surrogate. The baby is genetically related to both of its parents. In other cases, an embryo is created using a donor egg or donor sperm, or an adopted embryo may be implanted into the surrogate mother.
Gestational surrogacy gives you the ability to create a family that is genetically connected to one or both of you. You may also be able to adopt an embryo that was not used in another couple’s fertility procedure. Since the gestational surrogate is not biologically related to the child, the legal process can be simpler than that of traditional surrogacy.
Why Choose Surrogacy?
Adoption and surrogacy are different pathways to the same destination: creating a thriving, happy family. Many different people choose surrogacy to grow their family. You may be single and yearning for a family. You may want a biological child but be unable to carry that child yourself. Surrogacy gives you the option of creating a genetic bond with your child and being involved in the process
Surrogacy is a journey to parenthood, and it is one that takes careful planning and consideration. This journey requires support from a medical team who will oversee the process from beginning to end. The journey begins when you work with legal counsel to consider your options and decide to choose a surrogate as the person who carries your child.
As families who’ve been part of the adoption and surrogacy process ourselves, our legal team can help you determine whether surrogacy is right for you. If you’d like to explore surrogacy as an option for growing your family, call us at (925) 945-1880.
Categories: Intended Parent
You’d love to add to your family, and you’re excited that you believe you’ve found the perfect surrogacy program. But wait: before you leap into a surrogacy agreement, make sure that your excitement hasn’t led you astray. When you’re considering surrogacy as a way to grow your family, it’s important that you choose the right program to help your family get a good start.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a way to grow your family by having a surrogate mother carry your child. In traditional surrogacy, a surrogate mother not only carries the child for that child’s future family, she also provides the eggs to create the child. In gestational surrogacy, parents’ eggs or sperm may be used to create an embryo that’s implanted into the surrogate, or the surrogate may carry a donated embryo.
Avoiding Surrogacy Scams
In order to avoid surrogacy scams you will need to do your due diligence. You should only work with dedicated and experienced professionals that will guide you through the process. Choose a team that is caring and compassionate, but also one that is experienced and that can take care of necessary legal paperwork and other details. Remember, too, that the term “agency” doesn’t necessarily mean that the “agency” is licensed. There is not state entity that licenses or regulates surrogacy “agencies.” That said, an attorney-run surrogacy program is regulated to the extent that an attorney is licensed by the state bar.
Unfortunately, where there is a deep desire for a family, there are also people who’d like to take advantage of that desire. Surrogacy scams have been in the news in the past few years. Experiences such as the ones at Planet Hospital have led to painful losses of funds and hopes for families who’d decided to pursue surrogacy. When you’re considering a surrogacy program, keep in mind that a program or agency that promises cut-rate costs and a speedy path to surrogacy might be completely fraudulent, or it may not support surrogate mothers and families in a way that leads to a healthy child and a well-supported surrogate mother and family. How can you avoid surrogacy scams?
Look at the Program’s Track Record
Surrogacy agencies can help you achieve your dream, but it’s important to take a serious look at the track record of the program you choose. Ask good questions.
Where is the program or agency located? Connecting with a local program or agency will help you get an in-person understanding of the people behind the program.
What is the program or agency’s history? Look for one that’s licensed and that has an established and visible track record. Speak with people who’ve been through the program – ask the program for references.
Who will be your surrogate mother, and what do you know about her background, health, and the support that the program provides? A surrogacy is a partnership, and helps solidify this relationship if you and the surrogate mother can choose to work together.
How will they help you create a plan to ensure that transitioning your child to your future family goes smoothly? Make sure that the program has the background and legal experience to facilitate surrogacy.
Choosing a Surrogate
Why are these questions important? They not only protect you financially, they also protect your child. Many legal issues should be considered.
When you choose surrogacy, you invite another partner into your child’s life: the woman who gives birth to that child. You want to make sure that your surrogate mother is healthy and supported during this special time. Working with established legal professionals can help you ensure that you’re working with a mother who’s interested in helping you build a healthy family, someone who will make healthy choices throughout her pregnancy.
Smoothing the Transition
You and your surrogate need support during the surrogacy process to help make the process easy for everyone. Like adoption, surrogacy is a choice that is full of emotion. It’s amazing and challenging to see someone giving life to your child. Surrogacy is also an emotionally-moving process for the surrogate mother, who can feel a wide range of emotions as she grows a new family. It’s important to have clear support for your surrogate mother, good communication and a well-thought-out transition plan for the time when the baby is born. A high quality firm will have high standards, they will provide extensive information and support to both the surrogate mother and prospective parents.
You want to create a family, and surrogacy is one way to achieve your dream. Look for a superior program that will work with you and the surrogate mother to help you have a healthy child and a smooth transition into parenthood. If you sign up for a surrogacy scam, your arms may be empty, and so will your bank account. You need good advice and an agency with a solid reputation. Contact us at (925) 945-1880 to talk about your desire to build a family and we’ll help you decide if surrogacy is right for you.
Categories: Intended Parent
Do you want to bring a child into your life? If you live in California, you’re in good company. California is our country’s adoption capital, with the most adoptions of any state. If you’d like to adopt, how do you embark on the California adoption process?
Many Roads to Adoption
Just as every child is unique, so is every adoption situation. Some birth parents want to choose the child’s adoptive parents, while others place the child in the care of an agency that will match the child with adoptive parents. Some families wish to adopt internationally, while others adopt older children from the foster care system. There are many ways to adopt a child and many organizations that can be involved.
Pursuing Domestic Adoption
If you’d like to adopt within the USA, licensed private or public agencies help parents adopt, as does the California Department of Social Services (DSS). Every adoption requires a home study which can be completed by DSS or a private agency. A home study a criminal record check, reference letters, and a history that shows that your family can provide a safe and loving home for a child. After the child is placed, DSS or the private agency will supervise the adoption placement. After the supervision is complete, usually about six months, the supervising agency will prepare a final report for the court, and the court will set a hearing date to meet with you and then grant the adoption.
Maintaining a Connection
Sometimes, birth parents want to maintain a relationship with the child and the child’s adoptive family or simply get information about the child. In that case, they may enter into a Post-Adoption Contact Agreement that may be filed with the court and enforceable by that court. This agreement sets out parameters for information-sharing and future contact with the child and the adoptive family. These agreements can be really helpful in setting everyone’s expectations and in creating the building blocks to a positive and trusting relationship with the birth family.
Whatever pathway to adoption that you choose, it’s important to have a guide through the legalities of the adoption process. We’re not only legal professionals – we’ve also experienced the adoption journey. Are you considering adoption in California? Call us at (925) 945-1880 for a free consultation and learn how we can help.