Code Section Group

Family Code - FAM

DIVISION 13. ADOPTION [8500 - 9340]

  ( Division 13 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

PART 2. ADOPTION OF UNMARRIED MINORS [8600 - 9213]

  ( Part 2 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

CHAPTER 3. Independent Adoptions [8800 - 8823]
  ( Chapter 3 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

8800.
  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that an attorney’s ability to effectively represent his or her client may be seriously impaired when conflict of interest deprives the client of the attorney’s undivided loyalty and effort. The Legislature further finds and declares that the relation between attorney and client is a fiduciary relation of the very highest character, and binds the attorney to the most conscientious fidelity.

(b) The Legislature finds that Rule 2-111(A)(2) of the State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct provides that an attorney shall not withdraw from employment until the attorney has taken reasonable steps to avoid foreseeable prejudice to the rights of the client, including giving due notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, delivering to the client all papers and property to which the client is entitled, and complying with applicable laws and rules.

(c) The Legislature declares that in an independent adoption proceeding, whether or not written consent is obtained, multiple representation by an attorney should be avoided whenever a birth parent displays the slightest reason for the attorney to believe any controversy might arise. The Legislature finds and declares that it is the duty of the attorney when a conflict of interest occurs to withdraw promptly from any case, advise the parties to retain independent counsel, refrain from taking positions in opposition to any of these former clients, and thereafter maintain an impartial, fair, and open attitude toward the new attorneys.

(d) Notwithstanding any other law, it is unethical for an attorney to undertake the representation of both the prospective adoptive parents and the birth parents of a child in any negotiations or proceedings in connection with an adoption unless a written consent is obtained from both parties. The written consent shall include all of the following:

(1) A notice to the birth parents, in the form specified in this section, of their right to have an independent attorney advise and represent them in the adoption proceeding and that the prospective adoptive parents may be required to pay the reasonable attorney’s fees up to a maximum of five hundred dollars ($500) for that representation, unless a higher fee is agreed to by the parties.

(2) A notice to the birth parents that they may waive their right to an independent attorney and may be represented by the attorney representing the prospective adoptive parents.

(3) A waiver by the birth parents of representation by an independent attorney.

(4) An agreement that the attorney representing the prospective adoptive parents shall represent the birth parents.

(e) Upon the petition or motion of any party, or upon motion of the court, the court may appoint an attorney to represent a child’s birth parent or parents in negotiations or proceedings in connection with the child’s adoption.

(f) The birth parent or parents may have an attorney, other than the attorney representing the interests of the prospective adoptive parents, to advise them fully of the adoption procedures and of their legal rights. The birth parent or parents also may retain an attorney to represent them in negotiations or proceedings in connection with the child’s adoption. The court may award attorney’s fees and costs for just cause and based upon the ability of the parties to pay those fees and costs.

(g) In the initial communication between the attorney retained by or representing the prospective adoptive parents and the birth parents, or as soon thereafter as reasonable, but before any written consent for dual representation, the attorney shall advise the birth parents of their rights regarding an independent attorney and that it is possible to waive the independent attorney.

(h) The attorney retained by or representing the prospective adoptive parents shall inform the prospective adoptive parents in writing that the birth parent or parents can revoke consent to the adoption pursuant to Section 8814.5 and that any moneys expended in negotiations or proceedings in connection with the child’s adoption are not reimbursable. The prospective adoptive parents shall sign a statement to indicate their understanding of this information.

(i) Any written consent to dual representation shall be filed with the court before the filing of the birth parent’s consent to adoption.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 450, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1994. Operative, by Sec. 4 of Ch. 450, on the operative date of Stats. 1993, Ch. 758 (SB 792), which was no later than Jan. 1, 1995.)

8801.
  

(a) The selection of a prospective adoptive parent or parents shall be personally made 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 his, her, or their personal knowledge of the prospective adoptive parent or parents.

(b) “Personal knowledge” as used in this section includes, but is not limited to, substantially correct knowledge of all of the following regarding the prospective adoptive parents: their full legal names, ages, religion, race or ethnicity, length of current marriage and number of previous marriages, employment, whether other children or adults reside in their home, whether there are other children who do not reside in their home and the child support obligation for these children and any failure to meet these obligations, any health conditions curtailing their normal daily activities or reducing their normal life expectancies, any convictions for crimes other than minor traffic violations, any removals of children from their care due to child abuse or neglect, and their general area of residence or, upon request, their address.

(c) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.

(Repealed (in Sec. 6.3) and added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 758, Sec. 6.4. Effective January 1, 1994. Section operative January 1, 1995, by its own provisions.)

8801.3.
  

A child shall not be considered to have been placed for adoption unless each of the following is true:

(a) Each birth parent placing the child for adoption has been advised of his or her rights, and if desired, has been counseled pursuant to Section 8801.5.

(b) The adoption service provider, each prospective adoptive parent, and each birth parent placing the child have signed an adoption placement agreement on a form prescribed by the department. The signing of the agreement shall satisfy all of the following requirements:

(1) Each birth parent shall have been advised of his or her rights pursuant to Section 8801.5 at least 10 days before signing the agreement, unless the adoption service provider finds exigent circumstances that shall be set forth in the adoption placement agreement.

(2) The agreement may not be signed by either the birth parents or the prospective adoptive parents until the time of discharge of the birth mother from the hospital. However, if the birth mother remains hospitalized for a period longer than the hospitalization of the child, the agreement may be signed by all parties at the time of or after the child’s discharge from the hospital but prior to the birth mother’s discharge from the hospital if her competency to sign is verified by her attending physician and surgeon before she signs the agreement.

(3) The birth parents and prospective adoptive parents shall sign the agreement in the presence of an adoption service provider.

(4) The adoption service provider who witnesses the signatures shall keep the original of the adoption placement agreement and immediately forward it and supporting documentation as required by the department to the department or delegated county adoption agency.

(5) The child is not deemed to be placed for adoption with the prospective adoptive parents until the adoption placement agreement has been signed and witnessed.

(6) If the birth parent is not located in this state or country, the adoption placement agreement shall be signed before an adoption service provider or, for purposes of identification of the birth parent only, before a notary or other person authorized to perform notarial acts in the state or country in which the birth parent is located. This paragraph is not applicable to intercountry adoptions, as defined in Section 8527, which shall be governed by Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 8900).

(c) The adoption placement agreement form shall include all of the following:

(1) A statement that the birth parent received the advisement of rights and the date upon which it was received.

(2) A statement that the birth parent understands that the placement is for the purpose of adoption and that if the birth parent takes no further action, on the 31st day after signing the adoption placement agreement, the agreement shall become a permanent and irrevocable consent to the adoption.

(3) A statement that the birth parent signs the agreement having personal knowledge of certain facts regarding the prospective adoptive parents as provided in Section 8801.

(4) A statement that the adoptive parents have been informed of the basic health and social history of the birth parents.

(5) A consent to the adoption that may be revoked as provided by Section 8814.5.

(d) The adoption placement agreement shall also meet the requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children in Section 7901.

(e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 688, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2002.)

8801.5.
  

(a) Each birth parent placing a child for adoption shall be advised of his or her rights by an adoption service provider.

(b) The birth parent shall be advised of his or her rights in a face-to-face meeting in which the birth parent may ask questions and have questions answered, as provided by Section 8801.3.

(c) The department shall prescribe the format and process for advising birth parents of their rights, the content of which shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) The alternatives to adoption.

(2) The alternative types of adoption, including a description of the full procedures and timeframes involved in each type.

(3) The full rights and responsibilities of the birth parent with respect to adoption, including the need to keep the department informed of his or her current address in case of a medical emergency requiring contact and of providing a full health history.

(4) The right to separate legal counsel paid for by the prospective adoptive parents upon the request of the birth parent, as provided for by Section 8800.

(5) The right to a minimum of three separate counseling sessions, each to be held on different days, to be paid for by the prospective adoptive parents upon the request of the birth parents, as provided for by subdivision (d).

(d) Each person advised pursuant to this section shall be offered at least three separate counseling sessions, to be held on different days. Each counseling session shall be not less than 50 minutes in duration. The counseling may be provided by the adoption service provider who informs the birth parent of his or her rights, or by another adoption service provider, or by a licensed psychotherapist, as defined by Section 1010 of the Evidence Code, as elected by the person, and after having been informed of these choices.

(e) The counselor owes a duty of care to the birth parent being counseled, similar to the duty of care established by a psychotherapist-patient relationship, regardless of who pays the fees of the counselor. No counselor shall have a contractual relationship with the adoptive parents, an attorney for the adoptive parents, or any other individual or an organization performing any type of services for the adoptive parents and for which the adoptive parents are paying a fee, except as relates to payment of the birth parents’ fee.

(f) The advisement and counseling fees shall be paid by the prospective adoptive parents at the request of the birth parent.

(g) Failure to fulfill the duties specified in this section shall not be construed as a basis for setting aside the consent or the adoption, but may give rise to a cause of action for malpractice or negligence against those professionals or agencies serving as adoption service providers that are responsible for fulfilling the duties.

(Amended by Stats. 1997, Ch. 559, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1998.)

8801.7.
  

(a) An adoption service provider shall also witness the signature of the adoption placement agreement and offer to interview the birth parent after the placement of the child with prospective adoptive parents. The interview shall occur within 10 working days after the placement of the child for adoption and shall include a consideration of any concerns or problems the birth parent has with the placement, a readvisement of the rights of the birth parent, and the taking of the health and social history of the birth parent, if not taken previously.

(b) The adoption service provider shall immediately notify the department or delegated county adoption agency if the birth parent is not interviewed as provided in subdivision (a) or if there are any concerns regarding the placement. If the birth parent wishes to revoke the consent, the adoption service provider shall assist the birth parent in obtaining the return of the child.

(c) The adoption service provider owes a very high duty of care to the birth parent being advised, regardless of who pays the provider’s fees. The duty of care specifically does not include a duty to investigate information provided by the birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, or their attorneys or agents. No adoption service provider shall have a contractual relationship with prospective adoptive parents, an attorney or representative for prospective adoptive parents, or any individual or organization providing services of any type to prospective adoptive parents for which the adoptive parents are paying a fee, except as relates to the payment of the fees for the advising and counseling of the birth parents.

(d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1995.

(Repealed (Jan. 1, 1994) and added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 758, Sec. 9. Effective January 1, 1994. Section operative January 1, 1995, by its own provisions.)

8802.
  

(a) (1) Any of the following persons who desire to adopt a child may, for that purpose, file an adoption request in a county authorized by Section 8609.5:

(A) An adult who is related to the child or the child’s half sibling by blood or affinity, including all relatives whose status is preceded by the words “step,” “great,” “great-great,” or “grand,” or the spouse of any of these persons, even if the marriage was terminated by death or dissolution.

(B) A person named in the will of a deceased parent as an intended adoptive parent where the child has no other parent.

(C) A person with whom a child has been placed for adoption.

(D) (i) A legal guardian who has been the child’s legal guardian for more than one year.

(ii) If the child is alleged to have been abandoned pursuant to Section 7822, a legal guardian who has been the child’s legal guardian for more than six months. The legal guardian may file a petition pursuant to Section 7822 in the same court and concurrently with a petition under this section.

(iii) However, if the parent nominated the guardian for a purpose other than adoption for a specified time period, or if the guardianship was established pursuant to Section 360 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the guardianship shall have been in existence for not less than three years.

(2) If the child has been placed for adoption, a copy of the adoptive placement agreement shall be attached to the petition. The court clerk shall immediately notify the department at Sacramento in writing of the pendency of the proceeding and of any subsequent action taken.

(3) If the petitioner has entered into a postadoption contact agreement with the birth parent as set forth in Section 8616.5, the agreement, signed by the participating parties, shall be attached to and filed with the petition for adoption.

(b) The petition shall contain an allegation that the petitioners will file promptly with the department or delegated county adoption agency information required by the department in the investigation of the proposed adoption. The omission of the allegation from a petition does not affect the jurisdiction of the court to proceed or the validity of an adoption order or other order based on the petition.

(c) The caption of the adoption petition shall contain the names of the petitioners, but not the child’s name. The petition shall state the child’s sex and date of birth and the name the child had before adoption.

(d) If the child is the subject of a guardianship petition, the adoption petition shall so state and shall include the caption and docket number or have attached a copy of the letters of the guardianship or temporary guardianship. The petitioners shall notify the court of any petition for guardianship or temporary guardianship filed after the adoption petition. The guardianship proceeding shall be consolidated with the adoption proceeding, and the consolidated case shall be heard and decided in the court in which the adoption is pending.

(e) The order of adoption shall contain the child’s adopted name, but not the name the child had before adoption.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 638, Sec. 10. (AB 1757) Effective January 1, 2013.)

8803.
  

(a) During the pendency of an adoption proceeding:

(1) The child proposed to be adopted may not be concealed within the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending.

(2) The child may not be removed from the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending unless the petitioners or other interested persons first obtain permission for the removal from the court, after giving advance written notice of intent to obtain the court’s permission to the department or delegated county adoption agency responsible for the investigation of the proposed adoption. Upon proof of giving notice, permission may be granted by the court if, within a period of 15 days after the date of giving notice, no objections are filed with the court by the department or delegated county adoption agency. If the department or delegated county adoption agency files objections within the 15-day period, upon the request of the petitioners the court shall immediately set the matter for hearing and give to the objector, the petitioners, and the party or parties requesting permission for the removal reasonable notice of the hearing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in the records of the adoption proceeding. Upon a finding that the objections are without good cause, the court may grant the requested permission for removal of the child, subject to any limitations that appear to be in the child’s best interest.

(b) This section does not apply in any of the following situations:

(1) Where the child is absent for a period of not more than 30 days from the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending, unless a notice of recommendation of denial of petition has been personally served on the petitioners or the court has issued an order prohibiting the child’s removal from the county pending consideration of any of the following:

(A) The suitability of the petitioners.

(B) The care provided the child.

(C) The availability of the legally required consents to the adoption.

(2) Where the child has been returned to and remains in the custody and control of the child’s birth parent or parents.

(c) A violation of this section is a violation of Section 280 of the Penal Code.

(d) Neither this section nor Section 280 of the Penal Code may be construed to render lawful any act that is unlawful under any other applicable law.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8804.
  

(a) Whenever the petitioners move to withdraw the petition for the adoption or to dismiss the proceeding, the clerk of the court in which the proceeding is pending shall immediately notify the department at Sacramento of the action. The department or the delegated county adoption agency shall file a full report with the court recommending a suitable plan for the child in every case where the petitioners move to withdraw the petition for the adoption or where the department or delegated county adoption agency recommends that the petition for adoption be denied and shall appear before the court for the purpose of representing the child.

(b) Notwithstanding the withdrawal or dismissal of the petition, the court may retain jurisdiction over the child for the purposes of making any order for the child’s custody that the court deems to be in the child’s best interest.

(c) If a birth parent who did not place a child for adoption as specified in Section 8801.3 has refused to give the required consent, or a birth parent revokes consent as specified in Section 8814.5, the child shall be restored to the care and custody of the birth parent or parents, unless the court orders otherwise, subject to Section 3041.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 763, Sec. 11. (AB 1701) Effective January 1, 2015.)

8805.
  

At the hearing, if the court sustains the recommendation of the department or delegated county adoption agency that the child be removed from the home of the petitioners because the department or agency recommends denial or if the petitioners move to withdraw the petition or if the court dismisses the petition and does not return the child to the birth parents, the court shall commit the child to the care of the department or delegated county adoption agency, whichever made the recommendation, for the department or agency to arrange adoptive placement or to make a suitable plan. In those counties not served by a delegated county adoption agency, the county welfare department shall act as the agent of the department and shall provide care for the child in accordance with rules and regulations established by the department.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8806.
  

The department or delegated county adoption agency shall accept the consent of the birth parents to the adoption of the child by the petitioners and, before filing its report with the court, shall ascertain whether the child is a proper subject for adoption and whether the proposed home is suitable for the child.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8807.
  

(a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), within 180 days after receiving 50 percent of the fee, the department or delegated county adoption agency shall investigate the proposed independent adoption and, after the remaining balance of the fee is paid, submit to the court a full report of the facts disclosed by its inquiry with a recommendation regarding the granting of the petition. If the petitioners have a valid preplacement evaluation or a valid private agency adoption home study, as described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 8810, and no new information has been discovered and no new event has occurred subsequent to the approval of the evaluation or home study that creates a reasonable belief that further investigation is necessary, the department or delegated county adoption agency may elect not to reinvestigate any matters covered in the evaluation or home study, except that the department shall complete all background clearances required by law.

(b) If the investigation establishes that there is a serious question concerning the suitability of the petitioners, the care provided to the child, or the availability of the consent to adoption, the report shall be filed immediately.

(c) In its discretion, the court may allow additional time for the filing of the report, after at least five days’ notice to the petitioner or petitioners and an opportunity for the petitioner or petitioners to be heard with respect to the request for additional time.

(d) If a petitioner is a resident of a state other than California, an updated and current home study report, conducted and approved by a licensed adoption agency or other authorized resource in the state in which the petitioner resides, shall be reviewed and endorsed by the department or delegated county adoption agency, if the standards and criteria established for a home study report in the other state are substantially commensurate with the home study standards and criteria established in California adoption regulations.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 763, Sec. 12. (AB 1701) Effective January 1, 2015.)

8808.
  

(a) The department or delegated county adoption agency shall interview the petitioners within 45 working days, excluding legal holidays, after the department or delegated county adoption agency receives 50 percent of the investigation fee together with a stamped file copy of the adoption petition.

(b) The department or delegated county adoption agency shall interview all persons from whom consent is required and whose addresses are known. The interview with the placing parent or parents shall include, but not be limited to, discussion of any concerns or problems that the parent has with the placement and, if the placing parent was not interviewed as provided in Section 8801.7, the content required in that interview. At the interview, the agency shall give the parent an opportunity to sign either a statement revoking the consent, or a waiver of the right to revoke consent, as provided in Section 8814.5, unless the parent has already signed a waiver or the time period allowed to revoke consent has expired.

(c) In order to facilitate the interview described in this section, within five business days of filing the petition, the petitioners shall provide the department or delegated county adoption agency a stamped file copy of the petition together with 50 percent of the fee, a copy of any valid preplacement evaluation or any valid private agency adoption home study, as described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 8810, and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all parties to be interviewed, if known.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 763, Sec. 13. (AB 1701) Effective January 1, 2015.)

8810.
  

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whenever a petition is filed under this chapter for the adoption of a child, the petitioner shall pay a nonrefundable fee to the department or to the delegated county adoption agency for the cost of investigating the adoption petition. Fifty percent of the payment shall be made to the department or delegated county adoption agency at the time the adoption petition is filed, and the remaining balance shall be paid no later than the date determined by the department or the delegated county adoption agency in an amount as follows:

(1) For petitions filed on and after October 1, 2008, four thousand five hundred dollars ($4,500).

(2) For petitioners who have a valid preplacement evaluation less than one year old pursuant to Section 8811.5, or a valid private agency adoption home study less than two years old at the time of filing a petition, one thousand five hundred fifty dollars ($1,550) for a postplacement evaluation pursuant to Sections 8806 and 8807.

(b) Revenues produced by fees collected by the department pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be used, when appropriated by the Legislature, to fund only the direct costs associated with the state program for independent adoptions. Revenues produced by fees collected by the delegated county adoption agency pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be used by the county to fund the county program for independent adoptions.

(c) The department or delegated county adoption agency may reduce the fee to no less than five hundred dollars ($500) when the prospective adoptive parents are lower income, according to the income limits published by the Department of Housing and Community Development, and when making the required payment would be detrimental to the welfare of an adopted child. The department shall develop additional guidelines regarding income and assets to determine the financial criteria for reduction of the fee under this subdivision.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 743, Sec. 3. (AB 848) Effective January 1, 2014.)

8811.
  

(a) The department or delegated county adoption agency shall require each person who files an adoption petition to be fingerprinted and shall secure from an appropriate law enforcement agency any criminal record of that person to determine if the person has ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation. The department or delegated county adoption agency may also secure the person’s full criminal record, if any, with the exception of any convictions for which relief has been granted pursuant to Section 1203.49 of the Penal Code. Any federal-level criminal offender record requests to the Department of Justice shall be submitted with fingerprint images and related information required by the Department of Justice for the purposes of obtaining information as to the existence and content of a record of an out-of-state or federal conviction or arrest of a person or information regarding any out-of-state or federal crimes or arrests for which the Department of Justice establishes that the person is free on bail, or on his or her own recognizance pending trial or appeal. The Department of Justice shall forward to the Federal Bureau of Investigation any requests for federal summary criminal history information received pursuant to this section. The Department of Justice shall review the information returned from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and shall compile and disseminate a response to the department or delegated county adoption agency.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), the criminal record, if any, shall be taken into consideration when evaluating the prospective adoptive parent, and an assessment of the effects of any criminal history on the ability of the prospective adoptive parent to provide adequate and proper care and guidance to the child shall be included in the report to the court.

(c) (1) The department or a delegated county adoption agency shall not give final approval for an adoptive placement in any home in which the prospective adoptive parent or any adult living in the prospective adoptive home has either of the following:

(A) A felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, crimes against a child, including child pornography, or for a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault and battery. For purposes of this subdivision, crimes involving violence means those violent crimes contained in clause (i) of subparagraph (A), and subparagraph (B), of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) of Section 1522 of the Health and Safety Code.

(B) A felony conviction that occurred within the last five years for physical assault, battery, or a drug- or alcohol-related offense.

(2) This subdivision shall become operative on October 1, 2008, and shall remain operative only to the extent that compliance with its provisions is required by federal law as a condition of receiving funding under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 670 et seq.).

(d) Any fee charged by a law enforcement agency for fingerprinting or for checking or obtaining the criminal record of the petitioner shall be paid by the petitioner. The department or delegated county adoption agency may defer, waive, or reduce the fee if its payment would cause economic hardship to the prospective adoptive parents detrimental to the welfare of the adopted child, if the child has been in the foster care of the prospective adoptive parents for at least one year, or if necessary for the placement of a special-needs child.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 86, Sec. 131. (SB 1171) Effective January 1, 2017.)

8811.5.
  

(a) A licensed private or public adoption agency of the state of the petitioners’ residency may certify prospective adoptive parents by a preplacement evaluation that contains a finding that an individual is suited to be an adoptive parent.

(b) The preplacement evaluation shall include an investigation pursuant to standards included in the regulations governing independent adoption investigations established by the department. Fees for the investigation shall be commensurate with those fees charged for a comparable investigation conducted by the department or by a delegated licensed county adoption agency.

(c) The preplacement evaluation, whether it is conducted for the purpose of initially certifying prospective adoptive parents or for renewing that certification, shall be completed no more than one year prior to the signing of an adoption placement agreement. The cost for renewal of that certification shall be in proportion to the extent of the work required to prepare the renewal that is attributable to changes in family circumstances.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 128, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2005.)

8812.
  

Any request by a birth parent or birth parents for payment by the prospective adoptive parents of attorney’s fees, medical fees and expenses, counseling fees, or living expenses of the birth mother shall be in writing. The birth parent or parents shall, by first-class mail or other agreed upon means to ensure receipt, provide the prospective adoptive parents written receipts for any money provided to the birth parent or birth parents. The prospective adoptive parents shall provide the receipts to the court when the accounting report required pursuant to Section 8610 is filed.

(Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 450, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1994.)

8813.
  

At or before the time a consent to adoption is signed, the department or delegated county adoption agency shall advise the birth parent signing the consent, verbally and in writing, that the birth parent may, at any time in the future, request from the department or agency, all known information about the status of the child’s adoption, except for personal, identifying information about the adoptive family. The birth parent shall be advised that this information includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:

(a) Whether the child has been placed for adoption.

(b) The approximate date that an adoption was completed.

(c) If the adoption was not completed or was vacated, for any reason, whether adoptive placement of the child is again being considered.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8814.
  

(a) Except as provided in Section 7662, the consent of the birth parent or parents who did not place the child for adoption, as described in Section 8801.3, to the adoption shall be signed in the presence of an agent of the department or of a delegated county adoption agency on a form prescribed by the department. The consent shall be filed with the clerk of the appropriate superior court.

(b) The consent described in subdivision (a), when reciting that the person giving it is entitled to the sole custody of the child and when acknowledged before that agent, is prima facie evidence of the right of the person making it to the sole custody of the child and that person’s sole right to consent.

(c) If the birth parent described in subdivision (a) is located outside this state for an extended period of time unrelated to the adoption at the time of signing the consent, the consent may be signed before a notary or other person authorized to perform notarial acts, and in that case the consent of the department or of the delegated county adoption agency is also necessary.

(d) A birth parent who is a minor has the right to sign a consent for the adoption of the birth parent’s child and the consent is not subject to revocation by the birth parent by reason of minority, or because the parent or guardian of the consenting minor parent was not served with notice that the minor parent consented to the adoption, unless the minor parent has previously provided written authorization to serve his or her parent or guardian with that notice.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 763, Sec. 14. (AB 1701) Effective January 1, 2015.)

8814.5.
  

(a) After a consent to the adoption is signed by the birth parent or parents pursuant to Section 8801.3 or 8814, the birth parent or parents signing the consent shall have 30 days to take one of the following actions:

(1) Sign and deliver to the department or delegated county adoption agency a written statement revoking the consent and requesting the child to be returned to the birth parent or parents. After revoking consent, in cases where the birth parent or parents have not regained custody, or the birth parent or parents have failed to make efforts to exercise their rights under subdivision (b) of Section 8815, a written notarized statement reinstating the original consent may be signed and delivered to the department or delegated county adoption agency, in which case the revocation of consent shall be void and the remainder of the original 30-day period shall commence. After revoking consent, in cases in which the birth parent or parents have regained custody or made efforts to exercise their rights under subdivision (b) of Section 8815 by requesting the return of the child, upon the delivery of a written notarized statement reinstating the original consent to the department or delegated county adoption agency, the revocation of consent shall be void and a new 30-day period shall commence. The birth mother shall be informed of the operational timelines associated with this section at the time of signing of the statement reinstating the original consent.

(2) (A) Sign a waiver of the right to revoke consent on a form prescribed by the department in the presence of any of the following:

(i) A representative of the department or delegated county adoption agency.

(ii) A judicial officer of a court of record if the birth parent is represented by independent legal counsel.

(iii) An adoption service provider, including, but not limited to, the adoption service provider who advised the birth mother and witnessed the signing of the consent, if the birth parent or parents are represented by independent legal counsel. The adoption service provider shall ensure that the waiver is delivered to the department, the petitioners, or their counsel no earlier than the end of the business day following the signing of the waiver. The adoption service provider shall inform the birth parent that during this time period he or she may request that the waiver be withdrawn and that, if he or she makes that request, the waiver shall be withdrawn.

(B) An adoption service provider may assist the birth parent or parents in any activity where the primary purpose of that activity is to facilitate the signing of the waiver with the department, a delegated county agency, or a judicial officer. The adoption service provider or another person designated by the birth parent or parents may also be present at any interview conducted pursuant to this section to provide support to the birth parent or parents, except when the interview is conducted by independent legal counsel for the birth parent or parents.

(C) The waiver of the right to revoke consent may not be signed until an interview has been completed by the department or delegated county adoption agency unless the waiver of the right to revoke consent is signed in the presence of a judicial officer of a court of record or an adoption service provider as specified in this section. If the waiver is signed in the presence of a judicial officer, the interview and the witnessing of the signing of the waiver shall be conducted by the judicial officer. If the waiver is signed in the presence of an adoption service provider, the interview shall be conducted by the independent legal counsel for the birth parent or parents. If the waiver is to be signed in the presence of an adoption service provider, prior to the waiver being signed the waiver shall be reviewed by the independent legal counsel who (i) counsels the birth parent or parents about the nature of his or her intended waiver and (ii) signs and delivers to the birth parent or parents and the department a certificate in substantially the following form:

I, (name of attorney), have counseled my client, (name of client), on the nature and legal effect of the waiver of right to revoke consent to adoption. I am so disassociated from the interest of the petitioner(s)/prospective adoptive parent(s) as to be in a position to advise my client impartially and confidentially as to the consequences of the waiver. (Name of client) is aware that California law provides for a 30-day period during which a birth parent may revoke consent to adoption. On the basis of this counsel, I conclude that it is the intent of (name of client) to waive the right to revoke, and make a permanent and irrevocable consent to adoption. (Name of client) understands that he/she will not be able to regain custody of the child unless the petitioner(s)/prospective adoptive parent(s) agree(s) to withdraw their petition for adoption or the court denies the adoption petition.

(D)  Within 10 working days of a request made after the department or the delegated county adoption agency has received a copy of the petition for the adoption and the names and addresses of the persons to be interviewed, the department or the delegated county adoption agency shall interview, at the department or agency office, any birth parent requesting to be interviewed.

(E) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (C), the interview, and the witnessing of the signing of a waiver of the right to revoke consent of a birth parent residing outside of California or located outside of California for an extended period of time unrelated to the adoption may be conducted in the state where the birth parent is located, by any of the following:

(i) A representative of a public adoption agency in that state.

(ii) A judicial officer in that state where the birth parent is represented by independent legal counsel.

(iii) An adoption service provider.

(3) Allow the consent to become a permanent consent on the 31st day after signing.

(b) The consent may not be revoked after a waiver of the right to revoke consent has been signed or after 30 days, beginning on the date the consent was signed or as provided in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), whichever occurs first.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 588, Sec. 7. (AB 2020) Effective January 1, 2011.)

8815.
  

(a) Once the revocable consent to adoption has become permanent as provided in Section 8814.5, the consent to the adoption by the prospective adoptive parents may not be withdrawn.

(b) Before the time when the revocable consent becomes permanent as provided in Section 8814.5, the birth parent or parents may request return of the child. In that case the child shall immediately be returned to the requesting birth parent or parents, unless a court orders otherwise.

(c) If the person or persons with whom the child has been placed have concerns that the birth parent or parents requesting return of the child are unfit or present a danger of harm to the child, that person or those persons may report their concerns to the appropriate child welfare agency. These concerns shall not be a basis for failure to immediately return the child, unless a court orders otherwise.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 763, Sec. 15. (AB 1701) Effective January 1, 2015.)

8816.
  

In an independent adoption where the consent of the birth parent or parents is not necessary, the department or delegated county adoption agency shall, before the hearing of the petition, file its consent to the adoption with the clerk of the court in which the petition is filed. The consent may not be given unless the child’s welfare will be promoted by the adoption.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8817.
  

(a) A written report on the child’s medical background, and if available, the medical background of the child’s biological parents so far as ascertainable, shall be made by the department or delegated county adoption agency as part of the study required by Section 8806.

(b) The report on the child’s background shall contain all known diagnostic information, including current medical reports on the child, psychological evaluations, and scholastic information, as well as all known information regarding the child’s developmental history and family life.

(c) The report shall be submitted to the prospective adoptive parents who shall acknowledge its receipt in writing.

(d) (1) The biological parents may provide a blood sample at a clinic or hospital approved by the State Department of Health Services. The biological parents’ failure to provide a blood sample shall not affect the adoption of the child.

(2) The blood sample shall be stored at a laboratory under contract with the State Department of Health Services for a period of 30 years following the adoption of the child.

(3) The purpose of the stored sample of blood is to provide a blood sample from which DNA testing can be done at a later date after entry of the order of adoption at the request of the adoptive parents or the adopted child. The cost of drawing and storing the blood samples shall be paid for by a separate fee in addition to the fee required under Section 8810. The amount of this additional fee shall be based on the cost of drawing and storing the blood samples but at no time shall the additional fee be more than one hundred dollars ($100).

(e) (1) The blood sample shall be stored and released in such a manner as to not identify any party to the adoption.

(2) Any results of the DNA testing shall be stored and released in such a manner as to not identify any party to the adoption.

(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1053, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1997.)

8818.
  

(a) The department shall adopt a statement to be presented to the birth parents at the time the consent to adoption is signed and to prospective adoptive parents at the time of the home study. The statement shall, in a clear and concise manner and in words calculated to ensure the confidence of the birth parents in the integrity of the adoption process, communicate to the birth parent of a child who is the subject of an adoption petition all of the following facts:

(1) It is in the child’s best interest that the birth parents keep the department informed of any health problems that the parent develops that could affect the child.

(2) It is extremely important that the birth parent keep an address current with the department in order to permit a response to inquiries concerning medical or social history.

(3) Section 9203 of the Family Code authorizes a person who has been adopted and who attains the age of 21 years to request the department to disclose the name and address of the adoptee’s birth parents. Consequently, it is of the utmost importance that the birth parent indicate whether to allow this disclosure by checking the appropriate box provided on the form.

(4) The birth parent may change the decision whether to permit disclosure of the birth parent’s name and address, at any time, by sending a notarized letter to that effect, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the department.

(5) The consent will be filed in the office of the clerk of the court in which the adoption takes place. The file is not open to inspection by any persons other than the parties to the adoption proceeding, their attorneys, and the department, except upon order of a judge of the superior court.

(b) The department shall adopt a form to be signed by the birth parents at the time the consent to adoption is signed, which shall provide as follows:

“Section 9203 of the Family Code authorizes a person who has been adopted and who attains the age of 21 years to make a request to the State Department of Social Services, or the licensed adoption agency that joined in the adoption petition, for the name and address of the adoptee’s birth parents. Indicate by checking one of the boxes below whether or not you wish your name and address to be disclosed:

□YES

□NO

□UNCERTAIN AT THIS TIME; WILL NOTIFY

AGENCY AT LATER DATE.”

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 784, Sec. 113. Effective January 1, 2003.)

8819.
  

When the parental rights of a birth parent are terminated pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 7660) of Part 3 of Division 12 or Part 4 (commencing with Section 7800) of Division 12, the department or delegated county adoption agency shall send a written notice to the birth parent, if the birth parent’s address is known, that contains the following statement:

“You are encouraged to keep the department or this agency informed of your current address in order to permit a response to any inquiry concerning medical or social history made by or on behalf of the child who was the subject of the court action terminating parental rights.”

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8820.
  

(a) The birth parent or parents or the petitioner may appeal in either of the following cases:

(1) If for a period of 180 days from the date of paying 50 percent of the fee, or upon the expiration of any extension of the period granted by the court, the department or delegated county adoption agency fails or refuses to accept the consent of the birth parent or parents to the adoption.

(2) In a case where the consent of the department or delegated county adoption agency is required by this chapter, if the department or agency fails or refuses to file or give its consent to the adoption after full payment has been received.

(b) The appeal shall be filed in the court in which the adoption petition is filed. The court clerk shall immediately notify the department or delegated county adoption agency of the appeal and the department or agency shall, within 10 days, file a report of its findings and the reasons for its failure or refusal to consent to the adoption or to accept the consent of the birth parent or parents.

(c) After the filing of the report by the department or delegated county adoption agency, the court may, if it deems that the welfare of the child will be promoted by that adoption, allow the signing of the consent by the birth parent or parents in open court or, if the appeal is from the refusal of the department or delegated county adoption agency to consent thereto, grant the petition without the consent.

(d) This section shall become operative on October 1, 2008.

(Repealed (in Sec. 13) and added by Stats. 2008, Ch. 759, Sec. 14. Effective September 30, 2008. Section operative October 1, 2008, by its own provisions.)

8821.
  

When any report or findings are submitted to the court by the department or a delegated county adoption agency, a copy of the report or findings, whether favorable or unfavorable, shall be given to the petitioner’s attorney in the proceeding, if the petitioner has an attorney of record, or to the petitioner.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8822.
  

(a) If the findings of the department or delegated county adoption agency are that the home of the petitioners is not suitable for the child or that the required consents are not available and the department or agency recommends that the petition be denied, or if the petitioners desire to withdraw the petition and the department or agency recommends that the petition be denied, the clerk upon receipt of the report of the department or agency shall immediately refer it to the court for review.

(b) Upon receipt of the report, the court shall set a date for a hearing of the petition and shall give reasonable notice of the hearing to the department or delegated county adoption agency, the petitioners, and the birth parents by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in the proceeding.

(c) The department or delegated county adoption agency shall appear to represent the child.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8823.
  

The prospective adoptive parents and the child proposed to be adopted shall appear before the court pursuant to Sections 8612 and 8613.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

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