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Types of Adoption

Adoption is a difficult decision to make after several considerations and consultations with experts and family members. People adopt for all manner of reasons, including infertility, to help a child, or to help a family member or friend. Whatever reason you have for adopting, it helps to know that the process is not always as straightforward as it sounds. First, you must choose the type of adoption you wish to go through and then meet all its requirements.

It is advisable to go through the process with the assistance and support of a skilled divorce lawyer if you wish to adopt in Los Angeles. We can help you at Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer explore different types of adoption and choose your preference. We can also make the process seamless and prosperous for you and your family.

Different Adoption Types in California

Adoption is a significant decision to make for individuals and families. You have to ensure your reasons for adoption are right before choosing the legal process to follow. Fortunately, you have various adoption options to choose from. You can do it independently or through an agency. There are public and private agencies that help with adoption. You must carefully think about the process you wish to go through.

A skilled divorce attorney can help you explore your options to make the best decision. Your adoption type will depend on several factors, including your location and reason for adopting. Here are the different adoption types and their pros and cons:

Domestic Adoptions

Domestic adoption occurs when you adopt within your own country. Thus, all the parties involved are within one country, and the legal processes you follow are from that country. The opposite of domestic adoption is international adoption, whereby you adopt a child from another country. Domestic adoptions are easy, straightforward, and inexpensive for all parties. If you want to adopt within the country, you will do it in one of these two ways:

  • Through an agency (public or private) or
  • Privately, as an independent adoption.

Each way is unique, with unique features, including the processes, costs, pros, and cons.

Private Adoption

This type of adoption is also referred to as independent or infant adoption. It occurs after a parent voluntarily surrenders their parental rights, placing their child (mainly an infant) up for adoption. This process becomes a private adoption because you (the adopting parent) do not involve any agency in the adoption process. Instead, the child’s parent finds you through an adoption network, advertisement, or a private party.

Typically, private adoptions start when a pregnant mother connects with a potential adoptive parent personally or through another person. When a girl falls pregnant and does not wish to raise the child because of their financial situation or any other reason, they can find a potential adopter through friends or family or online. Once the child is born, the mother relinquishes their parental rights and surrenders their child to the adopting family. Both parties sign an adoption declaration.

Although California mainly advocates for closed adoptions, independent adoptions are also legal. However, the birth and adoptive parent must go through all the legal processes, including termination of parental rights, preparing and filing legal documents, and filing petitions.

The advantage of private adoptions is that they are straightforward and inexpensive. You do not go through an intermediary to adopt, making it the cheapest legal adoption process to choose. Also, dealing directly with the birth parents enables you to understand the child’s background better.

The money you pay for a private adoption will cover home studies, legal procedures (including adoption hearings), and adoption consultancy (if you need a consultant). If the birth parent placed an advertisement to find you, you could incur that cost as well.

Agency Adoptions

An agency adoption occurs when you involve a third party in the adoption process. The third-party helps you find a suitable child to adopt and the legal processes. There are mainly two types of agencies that help with adoptions:

  • Private agencies.
  • Public agencies.

Private agencies are independent, meaning they have their license and use personal resources to help individuals and families seeking to adopt. They handle domestic and international adoptions.

Public agencies operate under the state social service program. They mainly deal with domestic adoptions.

If you choose to go through an agency adoption, the agency you contact will act as a professional link between you and the birth family. A private agency can act as a guardian over the minor, with parental consent from the child’s birth parents. When an adopter shows interest in the child, the agency hands parental rights over to them after verifying their credibility.

When a public agency is involved, the birth parent loses their parental rights for a particular reason, like abuse or child abandonment. The child is then placed for adoption. The agency will verify your credibility and take you through the required legal processes before handing the child over to you.

Agency adoptions can be more expensive than independent adoptions. However, the exact cost will depend on whether you use a private or public agency. Private agencies charge more than public agencies. You must pay an adoption fee and other adoption-related charges to the agency.

Public agencies do not have an adoption charge, which makes them the least costly adoption type. But you must still pay for some requirements, like attorney services and home studies. If the government is desperate to place a child up for adoption, and you are not financially able to pay for all the legal requirements, the government can reimburse the fees.

Step-parent, Relative, or Kinship Adoption

This is a type of domestic adoption involving family members. A step-parent adoption occurs when a step-parent wishes to obtain full parental rights for a child. A relative adoption occurs when a relative wishes to obtain full parental rights for a relative’s child. Though kinship adoptions are not very common, they are legal. The process you go through will depend on whether you are doing an independent or agency adoption.

However, there are other processes you must go through to adopt a relative or stepchild. For example, if the child is old enough to consent, they must complete the adoption process. If the child is young, the birth parent must consent to the adoption.

The cost of adopting a relative or stepchild is low because some steps can be waived in the process. However, you must still pay for legal requirements, including attorney fees and court hearings. However, the judge can waive some fees if you meet a particular financial criteria provided under the adoption law.

International Adoptions

An international or intercountry adoption occurs when you seek to adopt a child from a different country from yours legally. In the United States, you can adopt a child from another country, like Australia or Canada. The adoption remains international even if the country is correct from where you reside. In this case, international adoption laws will apply.

The process can be complex, long, and tedious. However, you will need the assistance of professionals like adoption facilitators and adoption specialists to navigate successfully. Remember that this type of adoption impacts two countries with separate adoption laws. Thus, you must familiarize yourself with the adoption laws of your country and the other country to navigate the process successfully. You must also understand the laws of other countries that could affect your wish to adopt, including wars, travel bans, and any other complications that could affect the adoption process.

When adopting a child from another country, you will have to deal with a child-placing agency. These are adoption agencies that connect you to the child and the family of the child you wish to adopt. They charge a fee for their services. You must also sign agreements with these agencies to start and complete the process. The many processes involved and the documents you must sign can increase the overall adoption cost for international adoption. However, you can explore other options with the adoption country to determine the most affordable and favorable process.

Typically, international adoptions are expensive. The cost varies from one country to another. You must also consider adoption and travel expenses from the adoption country when determining how much money it could cost you. An experienced divorce attorney can help you choose the approximate costs and prepare you before you start the adoption process. Also, take into account other unforeseen expenses.

Open and Closed Adoptions

An adoption can be open or closed, depending on how much the birth parent is involved in the process. In some cases, the birth parents initiate the adoption, while in other cases, the birth parent’s relatives or an adoption agency (whether public or private). In some adoption cases, there are ties between the birth parent and the adoptive parent that you can maintain throughout the adoption process and beyond.

In an open adoption, the birth parent and adoptive parent have established contact and share an identity that they maintain during and sometimes after the adoption process. It means that the birth mother is well aware of the adoptive parent and can communicate with their child’s new family even after the adoption. However, open adoption does not mean that the birth parent cooperates with the adoptive parent. Adoptive parents can set limits to ensure they remain the primary guardians of the adopted child, even as the birth parents maintain communication with the child.

In a closed adoption, the birth and adopting parents do not have any contact or share an identity. California only advocates for closed adoptions, whereby the adoption records remain sealed. However, it does not mean that the two parties cannot opt for open adoption if they feel that it will serve the child’s best interests.

Any type of adoption you choose can be open or closed. Adoptive parents who choose independent adoptions will most likely have an open adoption. Remember that in independent adoptions, the birth parent seeks adoptive parents on their own. They go through the entire process with the adoptive parent. However, you can choose to end communication with the birth parents after successfully going through an independent adoption.

Some private agencies also offer open adoptions, whereby they link the birth parents with the adoptive parents. However, most public adoptions are closed adoptions. The birth parents do not find out who has adopted their child, and it could remain so until the child is old enough to look for their birth parents.

Whether you want an open or closed adoption will depend on your personal preference and the wishes of the birth family. Your attorney can explain the benefits and disadvantages of the two options to enable you to make an informed decision for your family and the child you are adopting.

What an Attorney Can Do For You

Adoption is not an easy decision to make as an individual or family. It takes families a long time to think and decide whether to adopt a new family member. It helps to speak to a professional for their opinion and to understand how complex or otherwise the process is before making the final decision. Attorneys also play a crucial role in helping you decide on the best adoption type. Your attorney will take you through the adoption process, prepare and file documents on your behalf, and fight with you in court to ensure a favorable outcome for your case. Here are some ways an attorney can help you in your adoption journey:

Conducting Background Checks on Your Behalf

Before starting the adoption process, learning as much as possible about the family you are adopting from is necessary. Your attorney can conduct background checks on your behalf. Attorneys have the skills, experience, and resources to conduct such processes efficiently and effectively. Your attorney will do home visits and obtain crucial information to help you make an informed decision, including the legal situation of the family you are adopting from and their criminal background. Remember that these processes are necessary to start an adoption process. It ensures you have complete information about the child and their family before the adoption.

Finding the Right Agency For You

The kind of agency you choose, whether public or private, will determine how seamless your adoption journey will be. An experienced attorney will take time to understand your needs and concerns before recommending an agency. Since they work in this industry and have dealt with all kinds of agencies in the past, your attorney will know which agency is reputable, skilled, affordable, and reliable to work with. They will remove the struggle of choosing the best agency from hundreds of agencies by pointing you to an agency that will care for your needs.

Negotiating Adoption Terms on Your Behalf

Adoption involves so many legal processes. It is challenging to keep up with all of them, especially if it is your first time engaging in them. An attorney will handle all the negotiations and legal matters on your behalf. They will determine the costs, processes to go through, and anything else needed to help you adopt the child of your choice.

Your attorney will also consider your exact wishes to ensure you are satisfied. For example, they will do everything possible to grant your wishes if you want your adoption to be open or closed. Remember that an open adoption means establishing contact with the family you are adopting from.

Your Attorney Will Explain and Protect Your Rights

Adoption processes are complex. Your rights can easily be violated if you are not careful enough. Your attorney must ensure you understand your adoptive parent's rights. They will also fight to protect those rights. For example, you can change your mind about adoption after starting the process. The birth parents can also change their minds about giving up their children for adoption. Your attorney will prepare you for any eventualities as they protect your rights.

Handling Disputes on your Behalf

Your attorney will also prepare you for common disputes during the adoption process. They will also handle those disputes on your behalf. For example, a third party can contest the adoption. Your attorney will know how to handle the issue and protect your rights. They will also advocate for your wishes in court to compel the judge to rule in your favor.

Find a Competent Divorce Lawyer Near Me

Do you or someone you know wish to adopt a child in Los Angeles?

Although the adoption process in California is complex, you can navigate it with the help of an experienced attorney. You can enjoy successful results that way. But first, you must understand the different types of adoption available to you and be helped to choose the most appropriate one for your needs.

At Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer, we can also help you through the adoption process and beyond to make the process smooth and protect your rights. Our team has extensive skills and experience handling all adoption cases. Call us at 310-695-5212 to learn more about adoption and our services.



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