Adoption is a legal arrangement in which parental rights are transferred from a birth family to the adoptive family. In an adoption, adoptive parents become legally responsible for the child they adopt and get all the legal parental rights to the child. Adoption differs from fostering children in that you do not have get permission from birth parents to cut an adopted child’s hair or enroll the child in a particular school. In an adoption, parents do not have to work with a team of individuals to determine a child’s fate. Indeed, while foster care often involves a great deal of support and the team effort of several members with a variety of expertise, adopting a child (once the legalities have been sorted out) usually involves, the parent, the child, and only one other person, the adoption worker.
In California, there are essentially four types of adoptions that can take place: relinquishment or agency adoptions, independent, intercountry, and stepparent adoptions. Foster parents in California will be primarily concerned about relinquishment adoptions. Relinquishment adoptions take place through a licensed county or private adoption agency. In California, all of these agencies are licensed by the Department of Social Services.
If you are going to adopt a foster child, you will be assigned an adoption worker who will assist you through the adoption process.
are similar to social workers, but they are not concerned about reunifying families. Instead, they are concerned about the process involved in creating new ones. Adoptions workers in many ways may have a happier job because they tend to be working with people who are on the periphery of turmoil rather than being in the midst of it. There may be a lot of paper work or other administrative tasks that you’ll need to do with an adoption worker depending on your situation. Try to be jovial about it. Adoption workers have to deal with a lot of red tape at times and your cooperation definitely makes their lives much easier.
Before adoption in finalized, children are typically placed in a home tentatively and the adoption worker is responsible for evaluating the goodness of fit between the parents and the children and making sure that the home is safe and the child will be adequately provided for. Adoption workers may have experience with failed adoptions and their behavior toward you may reflect these negative experiences as they evaluate your home. Try to be understanding with your adoption worker. Their job is on the line if they don’t find a suitable placement for a child that will result in a long-term relationship.
Adoption workers may be working with families that are experiencing less conflict than county social workers who are definitely in the thick of it, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still have a difficult job to do. Be patient with adoption workers as they guide you through the process of adopting your child. Once the adoption is complete, it will be time to celebrate!