Law & Mediation Office of Jessica Watson
Attorney at Law

Adoption Law

Adoption laws allow individuals to legally define, create, and publicly sanction their own families. These laws allow individuals to solidify bonds between themselves and the children they love. Most importantly, they provide innocent children with a second opportunity for a loving family. Generally, adoption statutes come under state law and we are fortunate that California's adoption laws do not discriminate, allowing any suitable adult individual to adopt a child at least ten years younger than themselves.

There are many types of adoption, including step-parent adoptions, domestic partnership adoptions, relative or kinship adoptions, international adoptions, independent adoptions, and agency adoptions. The type of adoption depends on the relationship between the prospective parent and the child. However, in each case, the prospective adoptive parent acts affirmatively to secure a parent-child relationship and he or she becomes the child's legal parent in every possible way. In most cases, the birth parents' rights are terminated and the adoptive parent assumes all of the rights and responsibilities associated with being a parent. In fact, new birth certificates are often issued listing the adoptive parents as the mother and/or father. However, adoptions may be open or closed depending on the needs and wishes of the family.

No matter what kind of adoption is being facilitated, the procedures and the applicable law are analogous. A child becomes available for adoption and the prospective parent works with the assistance of an agency, doctor, clergy member, social worker, and/or an attorney.* Providing such discretion allows each family to decide who will be involved in this most intimate act. In most cases, a home study is completed to ensure that the prospective parent is capable of meeting the child's needs. Ideally, so long as the individual is believed to be an appropriate and capable parent for the child, the adoption is completed.

Unlike most aspects of family law, when facilitating an adoption, the attorney has the privilege of being party to the creation of a new family. For this reason, I believe that it is one of the most exciting and magical acts a family law attorney will experience in his or her career.

*In accordance with California Family Code Sections 8623 - 8638: I must inform you that I am a licensed attorney and not a licensed adoption agency. I can assist birth parents and adoptive parents with the placement of a child in an Independent Adoption.


Law & Mediation Office of Jessica Watson
Attorney at Law
291 Geary Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94102