Who can adopt?
An adoptive parent can be a stepparent, domestic partner of one of the birth parents, a grandparent, a relative who has cared for the child, or someone entirely new who is not related to the child by blood.
Generally, there is no limitation on who can adopt. However, a minor’s power to adopt is limited to: (1) one who is married, and (2) to the adoption of the minor’s own child or the child of the minor’s spouse. Aside from that limitation, the age of the prospective adoptive parent is only one factor to consider in determining the best interests of the child who is to be adopted. The same holds true if the potential adopting parent is not married.
Types of Adoptions
Stepparent/domestic partner adoption. These types of adoptions are simpler than others because one of the child’s birth parents remains the child’s parent. These types of adoptions include a legal spouse or registered domestic partner of the child’s parent
Agency, independent, or international adoptions. In agency adoptions, the biological parents have already relinquished their rights or have been relieved of their parental rights through a court order. Either the California Department of Social Services or a licensed adoption agency is part of the adoption case. It is the agency’s responsibility to determine whether the intended adoptive parents are suitable.
In an independent adoption, there is no Department of Social Services or other adoption agency as part of the adoption case. Biological parents may maintain their parental rights and play a role in deciding who adopts their children. Once the adoption is granted through a legal process, then the adoptive parents become the only parents with rights and responsibilities for the child.
International adoption is when the child to be adopted was born and resides in another country, prior to their adoption.
In all these different types of adoption cases, even though the process may differ the result is the same. The birth parent’s parental rights are terminated. The legal relationship with the adoptive parents is permanent and has the same legal significance as that typically held by biological parents. An adopted child inherits from his or her adoptive parents, just as a birth child would. In the end, the court terminates the parental rights of the child’s two birth parents and the adoptive parents become the adopted child’s legal parents.