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Recognize the Warning Signs

Nervousness around adults
Aggression toward adults or other children
Sudden, dramatic changes in personality or activities
Frequent or unexplained bruises or injuries
Low self-esteem

If you see these signs in any children you know, offer your help.

 

 

Adoption Questions & Answers

About the children!


Foster Children of all ages who have been in the child welfare system waiting for permanent homes are selected by the county for adoptive placement. Potential adoptive parents are informed of special needs or significant problems which the child may have or encounter. Information provided by the child's caseworker depicts the child and describes the adjustments and challenges the children have to overcome once placed with an adoptive family.

What is adoption?
Adoption is a legal process which permanently gives parental rights to adoptive parents. Adoption means taking a child into your home as a permanent family member. It means caring for and guiding children through their growing years and giving them the love and understanding they need to develop their full potential.

Is there financial assistance?
The Adoption Assistance Program can provide financial assistance and some medical coverage for many of today's waiting foster children. This assistance may continue until the child is 18 or, in certain circumstances, age 21.

Both of us work. Will I have to quit my job if I want to adopt or be a foster parent?
NO. Both parents can be working as long as appropriate childcare arrangements are made. However, if you are adopting, you will be asked to take some time off from your job for the time it takes to have a child placed in your home and for you and your child to begin the process of emotional attachment. Ask your employer now what benefit packages are available to you as an adoptive parent that includes financial support and leave time.

I don't own my own home or I live in an apartment. Can I adopt?
YES. You don't have to own a house to give a home. You can rent or own as long as your home is safe and has enough room for family members. What is most important is the love, understanding and guidance you can offer a child.

Can single parents adopt?
Yes, single men and women can also adopt. In fact, approximately one-fourth of the children adopted from the public foster care system are adopted by single individuals.

I'm over forty. Am I too old?
NOT NECESSARILY, As long as you are in good health and have the energy and desire to be a parent; age is not a decisive factor. A 50-or-55 year-old person or couple may be perfect for the adoption of an older child.

What ages of children are available--do you have any babies?
Most children waiting to be adopted are school-aged or brothers and sisters who need to stay together. Many have emotional disabilities; others have physical, mental or developmental disabilities. More than half of the children come from minority cultures.
Caucasian children under five years old may have severe medical disabilities or have older brothers and sisters. African American children, Latino children, and children of mixed heritage cover a wider age range and include healthy infants. The majority are boys.


Most children waiting for adoption live in foster or group homes because their parents were unable to care for them. Often, personal and family problems made it impossible for the parents to maintain a home for their children. Some of these children have been abused, neglected or abandoned. All need the love of a permanent family.

How do I adopt a child?
Contact San Bernardino County Adoption and Foster Care for an orientation schedule. After you attend the orientation and pick-up an application, you will be invited to the P.R.I.D.E. Training and your homestudy will begin. A homestudy is a series of meetings with a social worker to provide more in-depth information about adoption and help prepare an applicant for parenting an adopted child. The homestudy process consists of individual and joint interviews with both members of a couple or individual interviews with a single person. Applicants will be asked to provide written information about themselves and their life experiences.
Certain documents will also be required: a marriage license, birth certificate, medical report, criminal check and child abuse clearance. Personal character references are also required. The homestudy includes at least one visit to your home by your social worker. The time it takes to complete the homestudy will vary but families who are interested in children with special needs are usually given prompt attention.

How much will it cost to adopt? Do we need an attorney?
At the County of San Bernardino, there is no fee to adopt. Adoptive families may qualify for the Non-recurring Adoption Expense Program. The program reimburses families for possible adoption related expenses that they incur during the adoption process. The amount of reimbursement is limited to $400 per child.

 
Adoptive parents may also qualify for a federal tax credit for certain expenses paid to adopt an eligible child with special needs and a State tax credit for adopting a child who was in the custody of a California public child welfare agency. For further information about the federal adoption tax benefit, contact the Internal Revenue Services at www.irs.gov or 1-800-829-1040 and request Publication 968. For further information about the State tax benefit, contact the California Franchise Tax Board at www.ftb.ca.gov or 1-800-852-5711 and request information on Credit for Child Adoption Costs - Tax Credit Code 197.
Services of an attorney are not necessary in a County of San Bernardino adoption.

How long will it take to adopt a child?
The time it takes to complete the homestudy will vary between six to nine months but families who are interested in children with special needs are usually given prompt attention and will be placed with adoptive children in a matter of months.


What is a stepparent adoption?
A stepparent adoption occurs when a stepparent petitions the court for adoption of his/her spouse's child (current spouse of stepparent) from a former marriage/relationship. In order to petition the court for a stepparent adoption, you must be married and living together as a family. The rights of the non-custodial parent must be terminated before the minor can be adopted. Termination of parental rights can be achieved through various methods, one of those is consent. Consents are signed before a county clerk, a probation officer or, if designated by the county board of supervisors, or an employee of the county welfare department.

County government handles these requests exclusively, investigations are handled by the Department of Children and Family Services, and all legal issue are handled by the court. For information regarding stepparent adoption, contact the probate department of the Superior Court nearest you..


What is the difference between adoption and guardianship?
Adoption is the permanent legal assumption of all parental rights and responsibilities for a child. Adoptive parents have the same legal rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them. Guardianship establishes responsibility, which is not permanent, for caring for and financially supporting a child and may be subject to ongoing supervision of the court.

I was adopted. How do I get information about my adoption and about my birth parents?
The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) or the licensed public or private adoption agency which handled the adoption can provide nonidentifying background information on birth parents to adoptees. This information includes general facts about the birth parents, and their medical history. This service is only for adoptions finalized in California. You must request this information by writing to the below address. This service is not available through email requests.


California Department of Social Services
744 P Street, M/S 19-67
Sacramento, CA 95814


or by writing directly to the licensed adoption agency (if known). Your letter must include your name, birth date, and the full names of both of your adoptive parents. Also, your signature must be notarized by a notary public. Some licensed private adoption agencies charge a fee for this service. If you do not know the name of the licensed adoption agency, you may request the name from the CDSS at the above address.

I am a birth parent. I would like information on the child I placed for adoption years ago and on the family that adopted the child. What kind of information am I entitled to?
CDSS or the licensed public or private adoption agency which handled the adoption can give birth parents information on the status of the adoption and general non-identifying background information regarding the adoptive parents including information on the progress of the child at the time of the adoption. This service is only for adoptions finalized in California. You must request this information by writing to the below address. This service is not available through email requests.


California Department of Social Services
744 P Street, M/S 19-67
Sacramento, CA 95814

 
or by writing directly to the licensed adoption agency (if known). Your letter must include the name you used at the time of the adoption, and the child's name (if named) and date of birth. Your signature must be notarized by a notary public. If you do not know the name of the licensed adoption agency, you may request the name from the CDSS at the above address.
I am an adoptee. I would like to know if California has a mutual consent registry and how it works.


California does not have a mutual consent registry. However, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) operates a statewide Consent Program for adoptees (age 18 and over), birth parents, and siblings of adoptees who are 21 years of age or older. The Program is only for adoptions finalized in California and the specified parties may participate by submitting a Consent For Contact form (for adoptees and birth parents), or a Waiver of Rights to Confidentiality of Adoption Records For Siblings. You may obtain these forms by contacting CDSS at (916) 322-3778, or by contacting your local licensed public or private adoption agency. Upon receipt of a notarized consent form from an adoptee and a birth parent, or a notarized waiver form from an adoptee and a sibling, CDSS or the licensed adoption agency which handled the adoption can disclose the names and last known addresses of both parties so they may directly contact each other. CDSS and adoption agencies are prohibited by law from soliciting consents or waivers, and do not provide search services to adoptees, birth parents or siblings.

 


FORMS
Consent for Contact (AD 904) Form (English)

 
Waiver of Rights to Confidentiality for Siblings (AD 904A) Form (English)









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