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Adoption is a life-changing milestone that leads to loving and strong families. It is the only way for adults to become parents of children who are not their biological offspring.

However, the adoption process is long, complicated, and sometimes challenging.

If the process completes successfully, the adoptive parent will assume the responsibilities and duties of biological parents.California adoption laws have changed over the past several years.

If you want to adopt a child in California in 2021, here is what you need to know.

Adoption Process in California

Each adoption case is unique, but all adoptive parents must follow specific steps. To begin with, the adoptive parents should get the necessary required court forms and complete them accurately. Once the adoption is filed with the court, the adoptive parents  will serve the same documents to the birth parents. This process cannot go on if the birth parents fail to provide consent. 

Interviews and investigations by the adoptive parents and the courts will then follow. Finally, there shall be a court hearing during which the adoption will be finalized. California’s adoption law dictates that the court hearing is only valid if the child is present in court.

Not everybody can adopt a child in California. You cannot adopt a child who is less than ten years younger than you. The only exception to this rule is if you are the child’s first cousin, uncle, aunt, sibling, or stepparent.

Consent Regulations in California

Nearly all adoptions cannot go forward if the adoptive parents don’t receive permission from the child’s parents or guardians. Some of the people who can permit a child’s adoption in California include:

  • The child can give consent if they are at least 13 years old.
  • The child’s living biological parents provided that their names appear on the birth certificate. Moreover, any man who potentially is the child’s father must receive notification before the adoption takes place.
  • It’s also possible for the custodial parent to provide consent. This can only happen if the child’s other parent hasn’t communicated to the child or offered any support for at least 12 months. This can also occur if the other parent ignores the adoption submissions and doesn’t send any answer.

It’s also important to know that the child’s birth mother can’t consent if she is still held in the hospital after delivery. She will be able to provide the consent once she leaves.

Can Consent Be Revoked?

The parents have the right to change their minds and revoke their consent. In most cases, this revocation is invalid if delivered more than 30 days from when it was granted. However, this revocation duration is flexible and depends on the adoption type.

If an agency is handling the adoption, then the maximum revocation period is ten days. The parent can also revoke the consent if the concerned department has not acknowledged receipt of the permission. There is also an option where the birth parents give away their right to change their minds once they have relinquished parental duties. This means that if the parents want to change their mind, they must do it before the end of the next business day.

Native American parents in California have an extended period to revoke their consent. They can do this anytime as long as the adoption has not been fully and legally finalized.

Adopting a child is the first step towards creating a solid and loving family. California law gives people the right to adopt children as long as they get consent and follow the stipulated guidelines. You must, however, be prepared that this will be a long process that may take a lot of time. 

How Long Does It Take to Finalize an Adoption in California?

Adoptions can be emotional but are legal processes that must follow set laws.

To adopt a child, you must be matched with the right child and complete termination of parental rights. Every situation is different, so there’s no standard adoption timeline that everyone can follow. Whether you choose private domestic infant, foster care, or international adoption, each option has unique merits, drawbacks, and timelines. 

Why Isn’t a Timeline One Size Fits All?

Known and unknown factors influence adoption timelines. Since each process is unique, you can’t expect one size to fit all. Most adoptions take six months to two years, but you can take more or less time. Your preferences and child availability are the key factors that determine how long you’ll wait.

In addition, race, gender, and budget preferences vary from family to family, so don’t worry if it’s taking longer to finalize your adoption.

What Are Common Scenarios and Typical Times 

Adoptions can take several months, especially when you have rigid preferences. California also imposes strict legal requirements to ensure adoptions are according to the law. The biological parents may need financial support or request specific family setups. If you’re looking to adopt a child, we recommend contacting their biological parents. Private domestic infant adoption is the best fit for many families and results in up to 84% matching within two years. International adoptions take much longer, while foster care adoptions are the fastest.

What Legally Takes the Most Time/Should People Prepare For

The adoption timeline is governed by strict laws from the government and adoption agencies. If you’re adopting from outside the country, expect even more requirements and rules. Fortunately, you don’t need to go through this process alone. Working with trustworthy companies like Minella Law Group can help you handle everything.

We can find matching children and complete the paperwork, allowing you to wait patiently for your newest family member.


From finding a match for your preferences to representing you in court hearings, Minella Law Group is ready to help you shorten the adoption time. We know what it takes to adopt a child in California, including all the stipulations and steps. Our team can finalize your adoption within the shortest time possible.

Contact us for your complimentary consultation (619) 289-7948.

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