If you’re an adult with much younger siblings, what happens if your siblings need a better living situation than they currently have? You may wonder, “Can I adopt my siblings in California?” The answer is yes! Not every adoption involves adoption service providers and strangers meeting to hand over a newborn. Under the right circumstances, you can literally become a parent to your sister or brother.
Most people think an adoptive parent needs to be unrelated third parties or grandparents; nobody ever talks about adopting their six-year-old sister or brother. Nonetheless, an adoption opportunity can arise within a family. Sibling-to-sibling adoption is usually a byproduct of tragic situations such as the death of a biological parent, but many other conditions might lead to you adopting your siblings. Read on to explore the answer to the question, “Can I adopt my siblings in California?” and much more.
Can I Adopt My Siblings in California? Yes, Under These Circumstances
Adopting your siblings is a form of relative adoption (or kinship adoption). Kinship adoption is when you decide to adopt a family member.
Generally, there are some specific circumstances under which you can become an adoptive parent to your siblings. You can get custody rights and take over for your siblings’ biological parent if their circumstances fit these criteria:
- Parents are unable to provide basic physical health, mental health, and emotional health needs for your siblings. This can include health services, food, clothing, and shelter.
- Parents are incapacitated based on alcohol abuse or drug abuse.
- There have been allegations of abuse and/or domestic violence toward your siblings.
- Parents are ill and unable to care for your siblings.
- Parents have been incarcerated.
- Parents have abandoned their kids.
- Parents have died.
If one or both parents are alive, you have to seek formal consent from them or sever right as a legal parent over your sibling(s). Apart from the grounds mentioned above, you need to meet specific requirements to adopt your sibling.
Requirements to Adopt Siblings in California
Before California’s government decides you can perform this type of adoption, you have to meet their criteria to avoid legal issues. The one that concerns many siblings who want to adopt brothers or sisters who are minor children is age.
Indeed, California’s criteria for becoming an adoptive family normally requires you to be ten years older than the child they wish to adopt. However, there’s an exception to the adoption age limit in the case of adopting a family member. If you want to adopt a sibling, you must be 18 years old or older.
The remaining eligibility criteria to qualify for an adoption decree as a sibling are:
- You must be a citizen of California.
- You have to prove that you can provide for your sibling emotionally, physically, and financially.
- It helps if you had a dwelling place—an apartment or home—where you can care for your siblings
Keep in mind that if you work full time, it is usually integral to point out how you’ll handle the affairs of the intended adoptee when you are not around. For instance, who will the child meet after they leave school? Explaining this can help you avoid potential issues with your application. Many factors, including this, depending on the intended adoptee’s age.
Can I Adopt My Siblings in California If I’m Single?
If you’re single, don’t worry. Your marital status doesn’t affect things. Whether you are single, married, divorced, or living with domestic partners or roommates doesn’t restrict you from taking in your sibling. However, if you are married, your spouse must also adopt your sibling. You can also have your own children; it doesn’t affect the process.
Can I Adopt My Siblings in California through a Kinship Adoption Process?
The court might waive some processes aside since you are adopting your sibling in California. However, depending on several factors, the adoption journey for kinship care families often follows this route:
1. Parental Consent
If your parents are still alive, you have to seek consent from them or appeal to the court to relinquish their parental rights. If your parents are still alive, consent to adoption can be hard to acquire.
When this happens, the court may assign a family law facilitator or an adoption attorney to the objecting parents and put out a date for the trials (also known as the contested consent hearing.) When the hearing is over, if the courts deem the objection unworthy, the adoption can go as intended.
If dragged on and on, a parental objection can lengthen the process of adoption. Nonetheless, in most cases, objections from birth parents can be resolved without a contested consent hearing.
2. Petition and Adoption Assessment
Next, you’ll tender a petition to the court to adopt your sibling. In your petition, it’s critical that you highlight how adopting your sibling would benefit them. The court may investigate your individual situation and eligibility requirements. This may include visiting the home you want your sibling to stay in, performing a criminal background check, and other forms of investigation.
Also, this is when you have to prove you are stable and capable financially, mentally, and emotionally and that the adoption is in your sibling’s best interest. After all of this is confirmed, the court may choose to award you custody.
Moreover, if the sibling you want to adopt is old enough to make a choice, their preference is considered. Hence, your sibling’s rejection or refusal can impede the whole process. For large families with lots of children (in other words, siblings in your case), you have to ensure that adopting a sibling doesn’t affect the family. When you can’t adopt all your siblings, adopting in a way that separates your siblings is not beneficial.
3: Home Study and Paperwork
Take all of the required home studies and submit all the documents necessary verifying you are ready to have custody of your sibling. As with other forms of adoption, ensuring you complete your adoption paperwork correctly is vital. A People’s Choice can help in document sorting and giving legal advice.
4. Supervision Period
Your sibling gets admitted into your custody, and a post-placement supervision period begins for your legal adoption. This period of time usually lasts several months.
5. Legal Adoption Hearing and Completion
After the waiting period, assuming everything goes well, you get legal rights as a parent via a hearing. Your adoption records will then be updated, and you and your siblings can enjoy life as an adoptive family.
How Much Does a Kinship Adoption Cost?
Many common types of American adoptions—private adoption, independent adoption, international adoptions, and foster care adoptions—can really add up. Kinship adoption is much more affordable. It helps that you don’t need to involve a private adoption agency or public agency adoption services, which normally ups the cost of adoption.
The adoption fees for a sibling adoption normally add up to $4,500. Services such as that of an attorney, adoption home study, submitting a petition, post-placement reports, counseling, and processing all the adoption process sum up that amount. However, the California government might reduce the fee to about $500 for low-income families after investigating their needs and income. If your siblings are interstate or international or you’re performing an intercounty adoption, costs can escalate as well.
Can I Adopt My Siblings in California without a Lawyer?
If your parents contest your adoption and family lawyers get involved, you might need an adoption lawyer. However, normally, you can prove your qualifications for adoption and get child custody without paying pricey attorney fees. That being said, kinship adoption needs to be done with care and scrutiny.
As the adoption petitioner, you have to make sure to fill out quite a bit of paperwork correctly and completely. Many hopeful parents find it nearly impossible to do this well with no help. More so, there are some vital steps you are likely to miss while trying to adopt your sister or brother in California if you attempt a fully DIY legal process. That’s why, although you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for an attorney, you must have some form of legal help while you start this process.
Adopt Your Siblings in California with A People’s Choice
Compared to the traditional adoption process, kinship adoption (adopting your siblings or other family members) is quite straightforward. However, filling out your paperwork completely and correctly is vital to the process. A People’s Choice can help with affordable, careful, and dedicated legal assistance. We can help you fill out paperwork pertaining to adoption requirements, your adoption request, an intercounty adoption, uncontested adoptions, and more for far less than adoption attorney fees.
Your sibling adoption petition and adoption procedures will be no stress at all with our help! With our help, you’ll have the best chance of getting the adoption decision you need to care for your siblings. Contact us today to get started.