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How to Finalize Your Adoption in California

Steps for the Finalization Process

Although your child has now been placed in your care, there are still a few more steps to the California adoption process before your adoption is officially complete. These California adoption finalization steps are vital and truly determine the final say of your adoption.

We understand the adoption process can be a lengthy and detailed process, and, of course, there is good reason for that. You want to make sure you are completing an ethical and legal adoption, and California is especially particular about all laws and proceedings being completed accurately.

Our team at American Adoptions knows the time and detailed-specifics that all go into making an adoption final in California. Because our goal is to help bring more families together, we’ve helped bring the information you need to finalize your adoption in California to you in this guide. You can also visit our website to find more information about how an adoption in California is finalized.

California Adoption Post-Placement Visits

Just like the adoption home study earlier in this process, post-placement visits take place after your child has been placed in your care. The social worker you worked with during your home study will continue to visit and evaluate you, your family, and your home.

California adoption post-placement visits typically take place over a period of about six months. These visits, just like the home study, are designed to help you and your family. They are a good time to talk openly and honestly with your social worker about how everyone is adjusting.

If needed, the social worker can help you find the right resources and services to help meet the child’s specific needs to help make your California adoption successful.

The main areas the social worker will be assessing during your post-placement visits include:

  • You, your family’s, and the child’s adjustment

  • The child’s rate of healthy development

  • Your home continuing to maintain the same standards to meet the needs of the child

  • Making sure you are fully prepared for the adoption finalization process

Post-placement visits are not meant to cause stress or worry. Your social worker is there to guide and support you to make sure you are moving forward successfully in your adoption.

Other California Adoption Finalization Steps

Aside from working through the post-placement visits with your social worker, there are a few other procedures you need to complete before going into the last step to finalizing your adoption:

  • Termination of Parental Rights: This step must be fully completed before your child can be adopted into your family. Termination of parental rights takes place either by the birth parent voluntarily consenting to the adoption, or by a court that will terminate their rights in the best interest of the child.

  • The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA): If you proceed with an adoption of a child from a federally recognized tribe, you will need to complete your adoption in accordance with this federal law. An adoption attorney will work with you through this, in order to make sure the law is followed completely.

  • The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC): If you are a California family adopting a child from another state, or are a family from another state looking to adopt a child from the state of California, you are required to comply with ICPC. This legal agreement facilitates cooperation between all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to ensure all adoptions between states are ethical and legal. For more on ICPC, click here.

The California Adoption Finalization Hearing [In 4 Steps]

Once all other steps have been completed in the adoption process, it’s time for the final step — the finalization hearing.

The hearing is where you will meet with a judge in your specific county on the appointed day for the brief proceeding. This proceeding usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour, and there are several steps that take place in the California adoption finalization process:

Step 1: You, as the adoptive parents, your adopted child, your attorney, and your social worker will all stand before the judge.

Step 2: Your attorney will ask you to introduce yourselves, and then you will provide a short testimony on why the adoption should move forward and be approved.

Step 3: During this step, the judge may ask you some questions. This is where you will also confirm to the judge that you, as the adoptive parents, will provide the child with love, support, care, and a safe home.

Step 4: The judge will sign the adoption decree at the end of the hearing. Any other orders that need to take place, including any further termination of rights, will happen at the end of the hearing, as well.

After the adoption hearing is complete, you will receive a birth certificate with your name(s) showing you are now the parent(s), and your adoption proceedings are complete. Congratulations, and welcome to this new and exciting chapter in your life!

Of course, it’s important to remember that your adoption journey never truly ends. As an adoptive parent, it’s always important to remember to have those important conversations with your child as they grow and ask questions. But, for now, it’s your turn to embrace this new moment and start an exciting journey with your family.

If you’d like more info about how to complete your California adoption finalization, or you’d like to learn more about starting your California adoption process today, you can click here to get free information.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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