All forms mentioned in the instructions below are available online through the Judicial Council of California. To obtain a free copy online, visit the Judicial Council’s website under the Adoptions menu.
Complete and file the ADOPT-200
If you are filing an independent, agency or inter-country adoption, you must complete an Adoption Request (ADOPT-200). This form is available online through the Judicial Council Website.
Once the Adoption Request has been completed, it must be filed in the Family Law and Adoptions Division of the Clerk’s office. The filing fee for an adoption is $20.00 per child.
Contact the State Department of Social Services
The California State Department of Social Services will perform the background investigation and home study for the adoption. After the initial Adoption Request is filed with the Court, you should contact the State Department of Social services to make arrangements and provide the necessary information for the home study.
Terminating The Natural Parent’s Rights
If the natural parent of the child refuses to sign a consent to the adoption, cannot be located, or cannot be identified, a petition to terminate the natural parents’ rights must be filed. Generally, the issue of termination of parental rights and the home study are combined into one report and submitted to the Court. The investigator will include in his/her report a recommendation as to whether the natural parent’s rights should be terminated.
Once the home study has been filed and all other matters have been completed, contact the Clerk’s office to arrange for a court date for the adoption. If the judge determines that the natural parents’ rights will not be terminated, your Adoption Request should be dismissed. If the judge rules that the natural parents’ rights are terminated, the judge will probably grant your Adoption Request.
The Court requires the petitioner(s) and the child to be adopted attend the hearing. The following forms must be submitted:
Adoption Expenses form (ADOPT-230), which is current as of the date of the adoption.
Adoption Agreement (ADOPT-210) to be signed in the presence of the judge. If the child is 12 years or older, the child must also sign the consent in the judge’s presence.
Adoption Order (ADOPT-215) with the name the child will now use inserted where indicated.
The signing of the order is usually a memorable occasion for the participants. Most judges will not object if you wish to take photographs, please ask permission in advance.
Issuing A New Birth Certificate
Once the adoption has been approved and the Adoption Order has been signed and filed, the Clerk of the Court shall submit the Court Report of Adoption (VS44) to the Office of the State Registrar. The State Registrar will mail a certified copy of the new birth certificate to the petitioner(s).
For further information concerning adoption proceedings, please contact an attorney.