If you’ve decided to adopt, congratulations! It’s time to look at the various types of adoptions available. Adoption isn’t just an adoption; you can do everything from adopting a child from foster care to adopting directly from a biological parent giving birth at the hospital. The types of adoption in California cover every scenario.

This article will usher you through the different types of adoption in California, their costs, and what they entail. This way, you are better suited to make a good decision for yourself and your future adopted child.

What Are the Types of Adoption in California?

There are various ways for adoption. You can submit an adoption petition independently, through private agencies, or through public agencies. However, everyone has their preferences, and every situation is different.

Which of the various types of adoption in California is right for you? It depends on where you are adopting from and how. As an adoptive parent, you can choose any adoption type. Here’s an explanation of each of the adoption procedures you can take in California.

Domestic Adoption

Types of adoption

If you plan to adopt a child within your country, you’re opting for domestic adoption proceedings. Domestic adoption is a type of adoption with all involved parties within your country. Hence, you and your intended adoptee reside in the same country, unlike its opposite—international adoption. This tends to make things easier and cheaper for everyone involved.

Domestic adoption is done in two ways:

  • Private adoption (also known as independent adoption)
  • Agency adoption

These ways have their unique costs and are different based on the parties involved. Let’s take a closer look.

Private Adoption (also known as Infant Adoption or Independent Adoption)

Private domestic adoption occurs when a birth parent voluntarily places their child, usually an infant, for adoption. Independent adoption gets its name because you embark on the process without a private adoption agency. Instead, the birth parents find their desired adopter through a private party or the adopter’s networking/advertisement.

A private adoption often plays out like this: A pregnant woman connects with the proposed adopter of her choice either through a third party or personally. She may know this person (a friend or relative), or she may find someone who wants a child through a website or other means. After giving birth, she relinquishes her parental rights and hands the child over to the adopters through an adoption decree.

Although California is a closed adoption state, they approve of independent adoption. The legal process involves terminating parental rights, processing court documents, and filing a petition.

Private Adoption Cost

Independent adoption is not as expensive as private agency adoption since there are no middlemen. It is often the cheapest because the legal arrangement doesn’t involve a private adoption agency that needs to be paid. Instead, you are linked directly to the biological parent.

The cost of private adoption/independent adoption arises from home study, the legal processes (including your adoption hearing), medical examinations, and an adoption consultant if needed. It may also include advertising (as this is how the adoptee’s biological parent or parents get to know you, the adopter.)

Altogether, independent adoption costs are between $15,000 and 45,000. That being said, fees can vary. For instance, advertising might cost less or more depending on its medium, or you might not need an advertisement at all if you know the parents or are connected through an acquaintance. Find out more on independent adoption here on the official California adoption site.

Agency Adoption

An agency adoption is of two types: private and public agency adoption. A private agency runs on private funding and owns a license where they function. However, the public agency adoption is a branch of the state’s social service program. Note that private agencies can help with domestic and international adoption, while public agencies are limited to domestic adoption.

In California’s agency adoption, an agency acts as the adoption professional, the link between the birth family and the adoptive parent. For instance, in a private agency adoption, the agency has guardianship over the child or baby for adoption via the child’s birth parents’ consent. When an interested adopter comes forward, the agency, after clarifying their credibility, hands guardianship over to the adoptive parents.

For public agency adoption, the government strips birth parents of their parental legal rights due to one reason or the other. After that, the child is open for adoption.

Agency Adoption Costs

Private agencies in California charge hopeful parents about $15,000 – $25,000 per adoption. However, this is just what the agency charges and might not include the other expenses attached to adoption. All in all, private agency adoption costs between $20,000 – $40,000.

That being said, public adoption agencies offer the least expensive type of adoption in California. Most public agency adoptions are close to free. Some fees might arise from legal requirements like home study and attorney hiring. More so, some agencies might require a little pay.

However, California might reimburse all the fees you incurred during the adoption process. This depends on your financial situation. Here is a look at the fees for public agency adoption.

Relative and Stepparent Adoption

Types of adoption

Domestic adoption includes stepparent and relative adoption, also known as kinship adoption. Each of them means what their names imply. For stepparent adoption, a stepparent adopts their new child. While in relative/kinship adoption, an adopter, usually a family member of the adoptee, steps in as a parent to someone related to them. They are not the most common types of adoption, but a kinship adoption legal proceeding is also not unheard of in the Golden State.

There are criteria for these forms of adoption. For the most part, the child’s consent is critical. You can check here for more information on stepparent adoption. And you can check here for more info on relative adoption, including sibling adoption.

The cost of both adoptions is cheaper than their counterparts, as some steps are waived during the adoption process. Nonetheless, you still have to pay something. Keep in mind that you can get fees waived on your adoption journey if you meet certain financial criteria by adoption law. For more information on stepparent/relative adoption, click here for the state website.

International Adoption 

International adoption, also known as intercountry adoption, entails legally adopting a child from a country that’s not yours. Say you are a US citizen; adopting a child from Canada is intercountry adoption. No matter how close the country is, if it is not where you live, it falls under international adoption law.

The process of international adoption is usually done with the aid of professionals such as an adoption specialist or adoption facilitator. Since it is a commune between two countries, you must be apprised of what’s happening in both countries. Issues like travel bans, wars, and other complications can hamper your adoption process. Here is a post that helps to expand on what international adoption is like.

International Adoption Cost

Child placing agencies have varying costs for this form of adoption, which is more complicated and requires more adoption paperwork than other forms of child adoption. This can raise the total cost you will have to pay. However, the adoption’s country fees and travel costs can also vary apart from the cost of the child-placing agencies.

Regardless, if you want to pursue your goal to its end, you have to prepare for a cost of up to $60,000. In most cases, it is less, but many unforeseen expenses often ensue.

Open and Closed Adoption

Whether your adoption is considered an open adoption or a closed adoption depends on the level of involvement with the birth parents. It stems from if ties exist during the adoption and are maintained with either family through adoption.

Open Adoption

This is when the birth mothers (or both birth parents) and adoptive parents have contact and share their identity with the other during and after adoption. Although most people misconstrue open adoption as constant contact, that’s not necessarily the case. Open adoption isn’t co-parenting! You can set your limits as adoptive parents.

Closed Adoption

Closed adoption is the opposite of open adoption. Here, the two parties (birth parents and adoptive parents) share no contact or identity. California is a closed adoption state by default, meaning adoption records are sealed. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t opt for an option adoption.

The Relationship Between Open and Closed Adoption with Other Types of Adoptions

Types of adoption

Based on the different types of adoption above, you can easily spot open or closed adoption. For instance, there is a direct link between adoptive and birth parents with independent adoption and at least a sort of communion. Hence, most independent/private adoption arrangements tend to be open adoption.

However, for the rest, there is little or no link between the birth parents and adoptive parents. Instead, agency services organize the whole thing and transfer eligible children from one family to the other. The birth parents might not know their child’s adoptive parents and vice versa.

Do You Need an Adoption Lawyer?

You may need a complicated process for international adoption, in which case an adoption attorney. However, if your adoption is domestic and relatively straightforward, you can likely use A People’s Choice instead. A People’s Choice is a legal document sorting platform, and adoption is a legal process with many documents.  We can help you fill out documents to adopt a foster child, work with a legal parent, organize your study process, legalize your adoptive placement, and much more.

A People’s Choice is affordable and ensures professional scrutiny when handling your papers. A stress-free adoption process awaits! Learn more about A People’s Choice here.