Friday, August 18, 2017

General Information

Adoption Definitions:

Adoptive Parent(s):
means a person who has obtained an order of adoption of a minor child or, in the case of an adult adoption, an adult.
Adoption Agency:
means the adoption of a minor, other than an intercountry adoption, in which the California Department of Social Services or a licensed adoption agency is a party to, or joins in, the adoption request.
Birth Parent:
means the biological parent, or in the case of a person previously adopted, the adoptive parent.
Independent Adoption:
means the adoption of a child in which the California Department of Social Services is neither a party to or joins in the adoption request.
Intercountry Adoption:
means the adoption of a foreign-born child for whom federal law makes a special immigration visa available. Intercountry adoption includes completion of the adoption in the child's native country or completion of the adoption in the state of residency of the petitioner(s)/adopting parent(s).
Stepparent/Domestic Partner Adoption:
stepparent/domestic partner adoption means an adoption of a child by a stepparent or domestic partner where one birth parent retains custody and control of the child.
Adoption of Adults and Married Minors:
adoption of adults and married minors means an adult may be adopted by another adult, including a stepparent and a married minor may be adopted in the same manner as adult. (There are no Judicial Council Forms available for these types of adoptions).

Forms and Filing

All adoptions require the use of mandatory forms with the exception of adult adoptions as there are no mandatory forms developed by Judicial Council. Please go to the   California Courts self-help website - external link for reference materials regarding adult adoptions.

If you are seeking an Independent, Agency, or Intercountry adoption:

A hearing can be scheduled after the following documents have been filed with the court:

  • Adoption Request;
  • Adoption Report;
  • Accounting Reports; and
  • Consents, Relinquishments, or Termination of Parental Rights

To request a hearing, submit two (2) copies of the previously filed Adoption Request (unless you are filing it and requesting a hearing) along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Adoption hearings are scheduled on Monday mornings at 8:30 a.m. If you have dates where you are unavailable you may include them with your paperwork.

If you are a stepparent or a domestic partner seeking adoption of a Spouse's/Domestic Partner's child:


When you file your petition for adoption, you must pay a filing fee and an investigation fee. Check our Fees page for further information.

Adoption Records

Due to the strict laws regarding the confidentiality of adoption files, individuals who have been adopted are not permitted to see their adoption records without an order of the court. The following forms packet is used to request an order:

Further, if the court grants an adopted person the right to inspect or have copies of their adoption record, court staff are not permitted to provide documents for inspection or for copying to any person other than the adopting parent(s) and their attorney of record, unless the name of the child's birth parents or any other information tending to identify the child's birth parents is deleted from the documents or copies. Adoption requests can only be processed if the signature of the adoptive parent or parents is notarized. Adoption records are not on the court's public access site.