California Adoption Lawyers

Adoption Lawyers Serving California

Growing a family through having children is quite the journey and for many families, an extraordinary journey. Some families find themselves expanding through matching with a child that needs a forever home. Others have a pre-existing relationship with a stepchild, minor relative, or adult relative and wish to legally formalize the parent child relationship that has formed. Some families adopt children internationally and then undergo a US re-adoption to finalize their journey. While other families find themselves expanding their family through assisted reproduction and utilize parent confirmation adoptions to protect their parental rights in light of their same sex parentage. Whether a family adopts via a stepparent adoption, second parent adoption, adult adoption, US re-adoption, or through assisted reproductive technology, an important aspect of the journey is finding the right support system.
Some parents are facing an unexpected pregnancy and a situation that leads to the difficult decision to make an adoption plan. It is crucial for a birth mother looking to make an adoption plan to have an ethical, empathetic, and helpful support system.
Whatever your family circumstances in adoption, you should hire an experienced Orange County adoption lawyer to help you every step of the way. Whether you are hopeful parents or an expectant mother, our attorneys will advocate for your interests during the adoption process.

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The California Adoption Process

Adoption is the legal process when one assumes parental rights and responsibility for another. Usually, the process involves a child, but it can also involve an adult. Adoption is a serious and formal process because legal relationships are being permanently changed. There are many steps to the process, and it can be complicated to navigate them on your own. Prospective adoptive parents want to put their best foot forward when they are trying to stand out in the eyes of an adoption agency, while expectant mothers want to know that their needs are being met and advocated for and that child will be placed with a family that they feel is the best placement for their child.
An experienced and knowledgeable adoption attorney can represent and help you.

The attorneys at Moore Law for Children work with both prospective adoptive parents and expectant mothers. Our attorneys understand what you are dealing with because many of them have been personally affected by adoption, allowing us to provide effective and compassionate legal representation. We represent both birth mothers and adopting parents as we feel we are able to provide the best representation by understanding the complexities of both a birth mother’s journey through adoption as well as an adopting parent’s journey. We will not however represent both a birth mother and adopting parent(s) from the same adoption plan to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

Types of Adoption

International Adoptions


An international adoption takes place when parents adopt a child from overseas or relatives adopt a child who was born outside of the country. There are complex procedures that need to be followed under The Hague Convention and the laws of the foreign country before you can even formalize the adoption in the United States. Although we do help families with U.S. readoption (which since 2020 is required in California and is the process of formalizing an international adoption in the United States enabling the adoptee to receive a US birth certificate) Moore Law For Children does not currently assist with the adoption process that occurs prior to the adoptee being adopted in the international nation.

International Relative Adoption

An adoption of an internationally-born child by a relative is possible when both the child and the adopting relative live in the United States. A consultation with an immigration attorney is required before our attorneys will proceed, as this type of adoption does not guarantee citizenship, and if not done properly, can bar citizenship in the future. We can refer you to a reputable immigration attorney for the consultation. Once we ensure the timing is appropriate in relation to you and your family’s goals for adoption and citizenship, we would be happy to assist you with the adoption of your internationally-born relative.

Domestic Adoptions

Domestic adoptions are all types of adoptions that occur in the United States. There are many forms of these adoptions and Moore Law For Children can assist you with the legal procedures and provide you with advice.

Adult Adoption

Adult adoptions are between two people who are at least ten years of age apart and who wish to formalize a parent-child relationship and to create inheritance rights. Adult adoptions are often contemplated by stepparents who wish to formally adopt an adult stepchild. In some cases, an adult adoption can additionally be the result of an adopted child who reconnects with their own family of origin. Adult adoptions can also result from the desire to form a parent-child relationship between unrelated adults who have fulfilled the position of parent or child in their lives (mentors and mentees for example). Adult adoptions include the right of inheritance.

Agency Adoptions

An agency adoption involves placing or adopting a child through a licensed child-placing agency. These agencies are licensed by the state of California and can provide options for a birth mother to match with and facilitate the adoption process by providing adoption classes for the hopeful adoptive parents and assisting the birth mother with her needs during her pregnancy and the match.

Independent Adoption

An independent adoption involves a direct placement between the birth mother and the prospective adoptive parent(s), without the use of an agency. An attorney can prepare and file the legal paperwork with the court.

Interstate Adoption

Interstate adoptions involve birth parents and adopting parents who live in different states. Our firm can assist California individuals who are adopting an out-of-state child, or an out-of-state individual adopting a California child. Interstate adoptions are generally governed by the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children or “ICPC”. The ICPC is an agreement between all US states which governs the interstate placement of adopted children and requires extensive paperwork. Both the state of the child’s present residence and the state in which the adopting individual or family reside must approve the adoption. Moore Law for Children works with the ICPC Administrator for California and the other state to draft and file all paperwork required for ICPC for speedy and seamless approval so the child can go home with the adopting family as soon as possible. In most newborn cases, the adoptive family typically must remain in the state where the child was born for 10 to 14 days before retiring home with their child. Each state and adoption is different.

Foster Adoption

A foster adoption occurs when foster parents, other relatives, or adults wish to adopt a child who is in the foster care system after the biological parents’ rights have been terminated by the Court.

Stepparent Adoption

A stepparent adoption occurs when a child’s custodial parent remarries, and his or her spouse (the stepparent) wishes to formalize the relationship between the stepparent and the stepchild. The child’s non-custodial, biological parent must relinquish parental rights, or their rights may be terminated by the Court for legal abandonment. California law additionally allows for a three-parent adoption where the stepparent obtains parental rights to the child with both birth parents retaining their own rights.

Same Sex Confirmation of Parentage Adoption

Confirmation of parentage cases are a form of stepparent adoption cases. Confirmation of parentage can occur when the adopting parent is in a legal union with the birth parent at the time the child is born. These types of cases apply to same sex couples who use assisted reproduction technology to have a child. Individuals seeking confirmation of parent benefit from a simplified adoption process that does not require a court investigation.

What to Expect from an Adoption Lawyer

Adoption involves a number of complicated legal processes. As such, it is wise to hire an experienced adoption attorney to help guide you through your adoption.
An adoption attorney will be your legal representative throughout the process. There are many parts of the process where an adoption attorney will assist you. If you are dealing with an agency, you may need a representative. An attorney can help you locate an agency, and then they can communicate with the agency on your behalf.
Since California law provides for open adoptions, there may be some conditions and obligations for your adoption plan, especially with regard to the birth mother or adoption parents. An attorney can help determine the appropriate terms in light of your adoption plan for a contact after adoption contract and then formalize them in an agreement that is filed with the court.
Adoption also involves court paperwork that needs to be done correctly. Our attorneys work with you to make sure that you have provided all the necessary information and documentation and that there are no errors. A mistake can hold up or complicate the adoption process.
In addition, adoption finalizations and termination of parental rights may also require you to appear in court. An adoption lawyer will accompany you to court and represent you in front of the judge.
Most of all, what adoptive parents need are answers and advice. At Moore Law for Children, our attorneys keep abreast of all the laws and we are here to answer all your questions. We understand that the adoption process can be stressful, and we aim to make your life easier. We focus on the law and process so you can focus on becoming a family.

The Steps to Complete an Adoption

There are numerous steps to take to complete an adoption. How long the process takes depends on the type of adoption at issue. If you already have a relationship with the person or child to be adopted (stepparent adoption and foster adoption), the process can be easier and take less time, but each case is fact specific and therefore each case has a unique timeline. Here is some of what you can expect during the adoption process:
  • The first step is to complete a home study.  That can be done through a private agency or through the Department of Social Services.  Our attorneys can locate an agency or agencies to work with for the adoption.
  • The home study involves an extensive investigation into your fitness to be parents that will include interviews and a home visit. The agency wants to be absolutely certain that they are placing a child in a safe environment.
  • Then, depending on the terms of your adoption match and needs of the birth mother, you may need to come to an agreement for the terms of a post-adoption contact agreement and charitable giving for pregnancy related birth mother expenses
  • The second step is to obtain consent to the adoption and/or terminate birth parent rights.  This will differ based on the type of adoption.
  • Finally, once the home study agency approves the adoption, your hearing to finalize the adoption in court will be scheduled.
The attorneys at Moore Law for Children are here for you at every step of the way to handle the legal process and make this all less stressful for you. We are effective and supportive.

Contact an Orange County Adoption Lawyer Today

The attorneys at Moore Law for Children are passionate about helping people. Given the backgrounds of many of our attorneys, adoption is personal for us. We pride ourselves in providing the best possible service to hopeful parents and expectant mothers. Our lawyers are extremely familiar with the process, and we have connections with numerous adoption agencies. You can schedule an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys by sending us a message online or by calling us today at (949) 336-7711. 


An adoption can fail for a number of reasons. One common cause of a failed adoption is incorrect paperwork (our attorneys can help you avoid that problem). In other cases, the hopeful parents or the expectant mother can change their minds. A failed adoption can be devastating for hopeful parents. You should invest in an experienced adoption attorney for a successful process to reduce the chances of a failed adoption.
There are often far more hopeful parents than there are children with which to match them. In addition, there are very strict requirements on who may adopt a child. Agencies want to know that the child will be in a stable situation, both physically and financially. There is a very rigorous application process and extremely strict eligibility requirements. Having said that, it may still be possible to adopt a child. You just need the right help in the process.
Agencies consider numerous factors that might be disqualifying, including:
  • being too young or too old
  • having a criminal record
  • not being financially stable enough
  • your marital situation
  • the environment in which you live

Contact an Experienced Orange County Adoption Attorney

Knowledge gives peace of mind. Talking with our team provides insight, options, and peace of mind. If you are considering adoption, we invite you to review the recommendations of our former clients and contact Moore Law for Children by calling (949) 336-7711 for a complimentary consultation.

If you are pregnant and considering an adoption plan for your unborn child, we are here to help answer your questions, provide access to the resources you will need, and support you with sound counsel through this life-changing journey. And there is absolutely no cost to you for legal representation in making or exploring an adoption plan, as the costs are covered by the chosen adopting family. Find out more here.

Let our family help yours.