For parents considering or undergoing the adoption process, there are so many questions, concerns, and emotions involved that it can be hard to know where to turn. At Moore Law for Children, we don’t just understand adoption from the legal perspective, but from personal experience as well. We’re here to answer all of your questions and guide you as you build your family through adoption.
What are the types of adoptions, and what are the primary differences between each option? There are several ways to adopt a child and all fall under either international adoption or domestic adoption.
International adoptions involve children who are citizens of a foreign nation. Many American individuals and families adopt children from around the world each year. Often a family is drawn to international adoption due to concerns about humanitarian conditions and opportunities for children in a specific area of the world. Other times, the adopting family is seeking a closed adoption. Thousands of international adoptions occur in the US each year. How does an international adoption process work?
One simply can’t go to a foreign country, adopt a child, and then seek a visa at the local US embassy. The adopting parent(s) must be in compliance with United States immigration laws and procedures, as well as the other country’s laws. The Hague convention is adopted by many countries and must be complied with in those adoptions. At this time, Moore Law for Children does not engage in international adoptions. For families interested in international adoption, we recommend you consult with a reputable international adoption agency. We are happy to make a referral.
At Moore Law for Children, we can assist with filing two types of adoption that are closely related to international adoptions: relative adoptions of an internationally-born child and US-re-adoptions.
Relative Adoption of An Internationally-Born Child – 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.
US Readoption – A United States readoption is a process occurring under US law that formalizes an international adoption that occurred outside of the United States and its territories and allows the child to receive a United States birth certificate. At Moore Law for Children, we often assist families with this process.
All other adoptions in the United States are called domestic adoptions. There are many different types of domestic adoption. Moore Law for Children provides legal services and counseling for all types of domestic adoptions.
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, but there does not need to be a stepparent relationship. In some cases, an adult adoption can actually be the result of an adopted child who reconnects with their own family of origin or even an unrelated adult who wants to legalize the parent-child relationship they feel towards an individual who has fulfilled the position of parent or child in their lives.
Agencies licensed by the state can match and facilitate adoptions. Historically, agency adoptions were closed (private and confidential), and the agency selected the adopting family. However, it has become the preferred trend for agency adoptions to be more open, and the birth parent selects the adopting parents from profiles with photos and self-descriptions.
In an independent adoption, attorneys rather than an agency facilitate the match and adoption. In an open adoption, the birth parent(s) know the identity of, and in some cases, may have contact with the adopting family. In California, the law requires that the adopting parent and birth parent know each other’s identities. Most adoptions today are therefore considered to be “open” adoptions where the birth mother participates in the selection of the family who will adopt her child, and there may be an agreement for some contact between the birth mother and the adopted child going forward. Some birth parents may wish to remain in contact with their child, including visits, while others may simply opt for cards or emails from the adopting family containing updates and pictures periodically. Ongoing contact is optional and on a case-by-case basis.
In California, an independent closed adoption is through attorneys rather than an agency. California law does not provide for “closed” adoptions as in complete anonymity. Under California law, the birth parents will be provided the adopting parents’ identities and vice versa. A closed adoption simply means there will be no further contact between the birth parents and the adoptive parents after the adoption is completed.
Interstate adoptions involve 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.
A foster adoption occurs when foster parents or 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.
A stepparent adoption occurs when the 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.
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.
Only a birth mother in an independent adoption or a licensed agency in an agency adoption may place a child for adoption. Moore Law for Children is a law firm, not an adoption agency. Moore Law for Children does not place children for adoption or accept, supply, provide, or obtain children for adoption. Nor do we advertise, solicit, request, or ask for any child or children for adoption. Moore Law for Children invites birth parents to meet hopeful adoptive parents. We can assist in an introduction, but it is the birth mother’s decision to place any child for adoption. (California Family Law Section 8609.)