Becoming a guardian is an admirable thing to do. Guardianship protects children but does not strip away the rights of the biological parents. In other words, once the parents are again able to provide the child a safe environment, the child may return to them safely.
However, there may be occasions when the biological parents are never able to properly care for their child. When this happens, it may be time to sever all rights the biological parents may have by officially adopting the child.
Below are five steps to adopting a ward currently under your guardianship.
1. Ask the child if they would like to live with you permanently
Depending on their age, the court may ask the child directly if they would like to be adopted.
Talking to the child about what adoption would mean and why you would like to adopt them makes sure they are mentally ready for the next steps, and that it is the right course of action.
If the child is younger, having this conversation with them will ensure that what you are doing doesn’t frighten them or cause friction later. If the child is closer to 18, it may be best to remain a guardian.
2. Contact an adoption lawyer
If both the guardian and the child are in agreement that adoption is appropriate, the next step is to hire an adoption lawyer. This will help ensure the process runs smooth and that all paperwork is done correctly. A good adoption attorney will also walk you through the process with ease and help fight for you when it comes to objections from the biological parents.
3. Obtain a home study
In California, the guardian must first obtain a home study to adopt a child. A home study helps the state verify that the home is stable, answers any questions you may have, and helps you understand all adoption opportunities. The process may feel overwhelming at first, as it requires individual interviews, home visits, background checks, physical exams, and the verification of financial and employment records, but it’s the best, most thorough way to verify the adoption is in the best interest of the child.
4. Finalize the process in court
Whether the biological parents voluntarily agree to terminate their parental rights or the court mandates such termination, the final step for adoption is getting a judge to finalize the adoption.
Contact King Law Firm Attorneys at Law, Inc. for more information and a complimentary consultation.