Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption - California

Date: January 2020

Who May Adopt

Citation: Family Code §§ 8600; 8601; 9000; 9326

A child may be adopted by an adult who is at least 10 years older than the child. An exception to this requirement may be made if the adoptive parent is a stepparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, or first cousin of the child and, if that person is married, is adopting jointly with his or her spouse.

A stepparent may adopt the child of the stepparent's spouse, and a domestic partner may adopt the child of the other domestic partner.

The provider of board and care, treatment, habilitation, or other services to persons with developmental disabilities of a spouse or employee of a provider may adopt.

Who May Be Adopted

Citation: Family Code §§ 8600; 9300; 9326

The following adoptions are permitted:

  • An unmarried minor may be adopted by an adult.
  • An adult may be adopted by another adult, including a stepparent.
  • A married minor may be adopted in the same manner as an adult.
  • A developmentally disabled adult may be adopted.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption

Citation: Family Code §§ 8801; 8700; 8900

In an independent adoption, the selection of a prospective adoptive parent or parents shall be made personally by the child's birth parent or parents and may not be delegated to an agent. The act of selection by the birth parent or parents shall be based upon personal knowledge of the prospective adoptive parent or parents.

Either birth parent may relinquish a child to the Department of Social Services, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency for adoption. The relinquishing parent may name in the relinquishment the person or persons with whom the relinquishing parent intends that placement of the child for adoption be made by the department, county adoption agency, or licensed adoption agency.

Intercountry adoption services shall be exclusively provided by private adoption agencies licensed by the department specifically to provide these services.