What is adoption? It is a procedure in which a person or a couple establishes a legal parent/child relationship with someone, usually a child. However, adoption is really so much more than this simple definition allows. Adoption means becoming a parent, experiencing the joys of loving someone, having that love returned and making the lives of all involved better.

All states have enacted laws that identify whether a couple or an individual can adopt a child. Many states, including California, try to make it as easy as possible for qualified and responsible people to adopt a child in need of a home and lots of love. While it is an emotional and sometimes lengthy endeavor, the rewards of adoption make it all worthwhile.

There is more than one way to adopt a child. Learning these ways can make the process easier for you, especially if you elect to work with a family law attorney. The following list includes the different methods of adoption available in California.

Independent adoption: In this method, prospective adoptive parents work directly with the child’s biological parent or parents, but a court will decide on the matter in the end.

Agency adoption: Many people choose this method of adoption because it is a formal and regulated process, which may make prospective parents feel more secure about the procedure.

International adoption: By far the most complicated manner of adoption, prospective parents must abide by the laws in California as well as the laws in the child’s origin country. Many parents find that an attorney knowledgeable in guardianship and adoption law fills a crucial role in international adoptions.

However you choose to adopt, it is always important to make sure your rights and the rights of the child remain protected throughout the process. A legal professional can help you meet this and any other adoption goals you may have.