What is the Process for an Independent Adoption?

When seeking to adopt a child, there are several different routes that an adoptive parent could go. These various routes include different levels of help and support through the adoption process. An Independent Adoption places much of the responsibility on the adoptive parents to make sure that forms are filed on time and correctly. Although requirements may vary between states and even counties, this article will give you a brief look into what can be expected.

Q. What is an Independent Adoption?

An Independent Adoption is when an adoption is arranged between the birth parents and the adoptive parents, without the help or involvement of an adoption agency. These types of adoptions are also sometimes referred to as an “open adoption” or a “private adoption.”

Q. What is the Process for an Independent Adoption?

When a birth parent decides that they want their child to be adopted, they can contact an Adoptive Service Provider. A list of these providers is available from the California Department of Social Services (510) 622-2650. An Adoptive Service Provider can further discuss the procedure of the adoption including an Adoption Placement Agreement.

An Adoption Placement Agreement will give the birth parent or parents 30 days from the date of signing to change their mind and reclaim the child. Under this agreement, the adoptive parents would agree to return the child. Immediately after this 30 day period the adoption is final. Any time during the 30 day period the birth parents may choose to waive this right and make the adoption final.

Q. What Other forms need to be filed?

After the Adoption Placement Agreement is signed, the next step is to file the Petition for Adoption. This Petition is filed with the Superior court of the county where you live. A blank Adoption Petition form can be purchased at a bookstore or a stationary store.

The Department of Social Services may need other documents such as a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate, a certified copy of your marriage license (if applicable), and a certified copy of your divorce decree (if applicable). The department of Social Services may be able to inform you of any other forms necessary in your circumstance.

Q. What else should I be aware of in the adoption process?

After filing your Adoption Petition there will be a Home Study where a social worker visits you in your home. Following this home study the social worker will write a report to the judge where they will make a recommendation on whether or not the judge should approve the Adoption Petition.

A typical Home Study involves:
• At least two visits to your home to meet with you and the child
• Letters of reference from people who know you
• A letter from your doctor to confirm you do not have any life-threatening or life-shortening illnesses
• Confirmation of your marriage (if you are married), employment status and income, and
• Finger printing to check if you have ever been convicted of a child abuse or other crime.

Once everything has been approved and finalized, you will have a short hearing with a Judge. At this hearing both the adoptive parents and the judge will sign the Adoption Agreement, the adoptive parents will sign the Adoption Expense form, and the Judge will sign the Order of Adoption. These forms will then all need to be filed.

If you choose to pursue an Independent Adoption, finding an experienced family law attorney, such as David Knecht, may be able to offer you the best support to navigate through the adoption process. Although an attorney may not be required, David Knecht’s experience in matters of family law can save you time and head aches, so that you can get back to focusing on your family. Please feel free to reach out to David Knecht at DavidKnechtlaw.com.