There’s a lot of factors that go into meeting the legal requirements for adopting a child. Below we detail a behind the scenes look at how the process actually works.
Preparing for any type of interview or review can be nerve wracking. But one that involves welcoming a new family member through adoption may seem especially daunting.
If you’re nervous about how the eligibility is determined, or what kind of questions you may be asked, we’re here to help clear things up.
For starters, the process generally requires the following things to decide eligibility:
- Individual interviews with potential adoptive parents
- A home visit that all household members attend
- Fingerprint and background checks
- Documentation including birth certificates, marriage certificates and/or divorce decrees
- Financial paperwork including employer information
A criminal background check is also required for potential adoptive parents and all adults who reside in the home. If any of the residents of the home have a felony conviction the prospective parents won’t be approved for adoption.
In the United States, any prospective adoptive families are required to complete a home study as part of the adoption process – there are different home study requirements and they all vary by state.
These processes are standard procedures to ensure that the home is a safe environment for the child before and after the adoption takes place.
In California, the Department of Social Services (DSS) or a delegated county adoption agency will conduct the study. They will complete the assessment and report to the court with a recommendation within 180 days of the filing of the adoption petition, unless there’s an extension granted by the court for more time.
Some of the questions during the interview process may inquire about:
- Your reasons for adopting and knowledge about adoption issues
- Your attitudes toward adoption and adopted children
- Your family background and childhood
- Your current family dynamics
- Your experience with children and your parenting style
- Your lifestyle, neighborhood and community
- Your career, education and any interests you may have
Adoptive parents will also need to undergo a post-placement assessment once the child has been placed in their home.
This is usually referred to as a “supervisory period” and lasts at least 6 months unless certain exceptions apply. These exceptions include whether the adoptive parent successfully adopted another child in California within the last 5 years, or if the adoptive parent is in the military or employed by American Red Cross, and the 6 month period would delay the completion of the adoption.
Interviews are also part of the supervisory period. There’s at least one interview in the home with the prospective parent and the adoptive child. The agency will then coordinate three more interviews with the prospective adoptive parent, unless the duration of the supervisory period has been reduced to less than 6 months.
If the eligibility requirements and interviews described seem overwhelming, that’s because they can be.
But an attorney with expertise in family formation and adoption can help alleviate that pressure. Our firm offers advice and assistance to clients to help navigate home studies and prepare for interviews.
Set up a consultation today to discuss any eligibility concerns you might have with an attorney who specializes in the adoption process.