Adopting a child is big responsibility, so government authorities like to make sure that the people who are granted permission to adopt are responsible people. For that reason, there is a formal application process that you need to go through, and in general it is strongly recommended to have a lawyer to help you with this process.
The first thing you’ll need to be sure of is that you really want a full legal adoption and not simply a legal guardianship. Sometimes the difference between these is not easily understood, but there is a clear distinction between them, and it’s an important one.
When you adopt a child, this is a permanent arrangement and you assume full and total responsibility for the child until they reach the age of 18 years. Most importantly, the natural parents and/or any existing family relatives forfeit all responsibility for the child and any kind of say they would have in the raising of the child. The natural parents of the child also do not have to provide any kind of financial support for a child who is adopted by somebody else.
When it is a guardianship, this is not always permanent and the natural parents do not forfeit any of their parental rights or responsibilities. They may also have to provide financial support for the child, although there are potentially some situations where that may not be the case.
A guardianship can be terminated if the natural parents apply to the court to have it terminated and the court agrees that it is in the best interest of the child to be returned to the natural parents. This isn’t normally possible when a child is adopted.
Oceanside adoption lawyers Fischer & Van Thiel are very experienced in helping with adoption applications, and can advise you about all the potential obstacles you could face, including what to do about them.
While the adoption process can sometimes seem a little intimidating, it really doesn’t have to be. The first step is that you normally have to show that you can provide as suitable environment for raising a child. Some of the factors that would be examined include your income, marital status, character (including a background check to make sure you haven’t been convicted of any major crimes or had any domestic violence incidents in the past), and other miscellaneous things such as how many hours you work or whether you have any other children.
No single factor will necessarily rule you out, but if there are any matters that may raise a concern, you will definitely need a lawyer to help you smooth out those issues and create a convincing argument for why the adoption should proceed.
The final thing that can sometimes come into play, if the child is old enough, is to consider their opinion on the matter as well. Even if all the adult parties to the adoption process are in agreement, if the child expresses any dissent, that can have a major influence on the outcome.