Adoption Finalization in California

The last step of your adoption journey will always be adoption finalization. This is when a local court issues a decree and makes everything official. We can walk you through your adoption process from start to finish, including your finalization.

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Adoption finalization in California is the last step on your journey to becoming a family.

Building a family through adoption is an exciting, emotional process. But, it is also a legal one. There are many adoption laws that every family must follow for their adoption to be legally finalized.

Although the legal process can be stressful, we can help you complete your adoption finalization in California. You can also get more free information now when you contact us online. We’d love to hear from you!

How to Complete Adoption Finalization in California

One significant part of adoption finalization in California is the termination of parental rights. Before a judge issues an adoption decree, the birth family’s parental rights must be terminated either voluntarily or by the court. This is often referred to as “TPR” as a shorthand for “termination of parental rights.”

After placement and TPR, you must complete at least six months of post-placement supervision before your adoption can be finalized. During this time, your FCCA social worker will visit with you to confirm that you and the child are adjusting well. They can also provide any additional support or services you may need.

Post-placement visits are a lot like the adoption home study. The worker must complete at least four visits, at least one of which is conducted in your home with all household members present. Following each visit, your social worker will write a post-placement report that discusses the adjustment and notes whether the placement appears to be in the child’s best interest.

What to Expect at an Adoption Finalization Hearing in California

When it’s time for the adoption finalization court hearing, FCCA will file the necessary paperwork with the court to arrange a final adoption hearing for you.

The adoption finalization day is an exciting milestone. Many adoptive families invite friends and family members to celebrate the official completion of their adoption.

Common Questions about Adoption Finalization

It's normal to have questions about this part of the adoption process. Here are a few of the most common:

How Long Does an Adoption Take to be Finalized in California?

As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to complete at least six months of post-placement supervision. But, because most of the legal work is completed before the hearing, the proceedings themselves are typically brief. Although finalization proceedings may vary based on your unique circumstances, you can generally expect the following: 

  • You will be sworn in before the judge
  • Your attorney or the judge will ask you to introduce yourself and the child
  • The judge may ask a few questions before signing the final adoption decree, granting you permanent legal custody of your child

Most judges will invite everyone to take pictures, and many judges will join the family for this picture, too. You’re officially a parent now, so you’ll want to commemorate the occasion!

Can a Finalized Adoption Be Reversed in California?

This is one of the most common adoption finalization questions that we receive. Although a birth mother can change their mind about the adoption during the revocation period according to her state’s laws, the adoption is permanent after legal finalization. When a birth mother chooses private adoption, meaning adoption with an agency, each state has a different revocation period during which they can change their mind.

In the case of independent adoption, meaning adoption without an agency, the revocation period may be different. Still, this is before adoption finalization. Once the adoption decree is issued to you, the adoption is permanent.

What Happens After Adoption Finalization in California?

Now, you can adjust to your life as an official adoptive parent. After adoption finalization, you can stay in touch with the birth mother and send them updates through:

  • Photographs
  • Emails
  • Handwritten letters
  • In-person visits
  • Text messages
  • Zoom or Skype chats
  • Or whatever the birth mother feels comfortable with

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Although legal adoption requirements may seem overwhelming at times, they are a necessary step toward realizing your dreams of parenthood. FCCA provides all the services you need to safely complete your adoption in California, so you will not need to hire outside legal counsel to complete your adoption.

For more information about adoption finalization in California or the adoption services FCCA offers, please contact us online to get free adoption information now. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!