Kinship/Relative Adoptions

Relatives are the first people who come to the rescue and take on the responsibility of taking care of children whose parent(s) have either lost their parental rights or have voluntarily given up their parental rights.  Reasons for losing parental rights may include: abuse, domestic violence, adoption, divorce, incapability of taking care of the child, and other reasons that are usually decided by the courts. The Department of Social Services and the courts may decide that in the best interests of the child, adoption is the key.

The courts usually favor kinship adoptions because it is deemed that it will have the least disruptive impact on the child. Living with relatives allows the child to still have a sense of familiarity and be able to continue family ties. For relatives who are willing to take the responsibility of raising the child of their kin, adoption is a more permanent action since it aims to give legal permanency in the custody of the child.

Here are some guidelines for people who are interested to undergo the Kinship/ Relative Adoption Process:

–          Relatives are given the right to adopt children that had been declared by the juvenile court cleared for adoption . The petitioner may file it in county of residence or the county where child to be adopted resides.

–          All actions and proceedings are reported to the Social Services Department in Sacramento.

–          The Agreement to Kinship Agreement (acknowledged by the petitioning relative and the birth parent/s) shall be attached on the filed petition. This is applicable if the petitioning relative had entered into an agreement with the parent(s).

–          The child’s name, gender, date of birth will be stated in the petition. The name of the petitioner will be indicated on the caption of the petition.

–          If the petitioner is seeking guardianship, the docket number and caption, copies of guardianship or temporary guardianship letters must be included in the adoption petition. The court shall be notified of the petition for guardianship or short-term guardianship by the petitioner after the adoption petition. The proceedings to secure guardianship are usually merged with the adoption procedure.

–          The adopted name shall be indicated on the order of adoption. The birth name can also be indicated in the event that the petitioning relative or the adopted child (must be 12 years or older) requests for it. Visitation rights and information sharing maybe included in the Agreement to Kinship Adoption  between the petitioning relative and the parent(s). Bear in mind that for children 12 years and older are considered one of the parties involved in the Agreement to Kinship Adoption  and their consent is required by law and must be represented by a lawyer.


There maybe times that the stipulations on the Agreement to Kinship Adoption  are not followed or is not valid anymore and may require modification or termination. Here are some reminders:

1)       Modifying or terminating the Agreement to Kinship Adoption  cannot affect the Adoption once the petition has been granted.

2)       If a Agreement to Kinship Adoption has been modified or terminated, the Adoption is still considered valid once granted.

3)       Modification or termination of the Agreement to Kinship Adoption will only be handled by the court after the petitioner has exhausted or shown effort to resolve amicably any dispute through mediation.

Adoption and the Agreement to Kinship Adoption are 2 different things. But the moment that the adoption is granted, it is permanent. Overturning the adoption is very difficult and has to be supported with evidence. Rarely does a court overturn adoption orders. It is best to consult a good adoption lawyer for further advice on issues regarding ADOPTION.

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