Chapter 4. Intercountry Adoptions of California Family Law Code >> Division 13. >> Part 2. >> Chapter 4.
(a) Intercountry adoption services described in this chapter
shall be exclusively provided by private adoption agencies licensed
by the department specifically to provide these services. As a
condition of licensure to provide intercountry adoption services, any
private full-service adoption agency and any noncustodial adoption
agency shall be accredited by the Council on Accreditation, or
supervised by an accredited primary provider, or acting as an
exempted provider, in compliance with Subpart F (commencing with
Section 96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal
(b) A private full-service adoption agency or a noncustodial
adoption agency, when acting as the primary provider and using a
supervised provider, shall ensure that each supervised provider
operates under a written agreement with the primary provider pursuant
to subdivision (b) of Section 96.45 of Title 22 of the Code of
(c) The primary provider shall provide to the department a copy of
the written agreement with each supervised provider containing all
provisions required pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 96.45 of
Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
As used in this chapter:
(a) "Accredited agency" means an agency that has been accredited
by an accrediting entity, in accordance with the standards in Subpart
F (commencing with Section 96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code
of Federal Regulations, to provide adoption services in the United
States in cases subject to the convention. Accredited agency does not
include a temporarily accredited agency.
(b) "Adoption service" means any of the following services:
(1) Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption.
(2) Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental
rights and to adoption.
(3) Performing a background study on a child or a home study on
any prospective adoptive parent, and reporting on the study.
(4) Making nonjudicial determinations of the best interests of a
child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child.
(5) Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with any
prospective adoptive parent until final adoption.
(6) If necessary because of a disruption before final adoption,
assuming custody and providing or facilitating child care or any
other social service pending an alternative placement.
(c) "Central authority" means the entity designated under
paragraph (1) of Article 6 of the convention by a convention country.
The United States Department of State is designated as the United
States Central Authority pursuant to the federal Intercountry
Adoption Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 14911).
(d) "Convention" means the Hague Convention on Protection of
Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, May
(e) "Convention adoption" means the adoption of a child resident
in a convention country by a United States citizen, or an adoption of
a child resident in the United States by an individual or
individuals residing in a convention country, if, in connection with
the adoption, the child has moved or will move between the United
States and the convention country.
(f) "Convention country" means a country that is party to the
convention and with which the convention is in force for the United
(g) "Exempted provider" means a social work professional or
organization that performs a home study on any prospective adoptive
parent, or a child background study, or both, in the United States in
connection with a convention adoption, and who is not currently
providing and has not previously provided any other adoption service
in the case.
(h) "Hague adoption certificate" means a certificate issued by the
secretary in an outgoing case (where the child is emigrating from
the United States to another convention country) certifying that a
child has been adopted in the United States in accordance with the
convention and, except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 97.4
of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the Intercountry
Adoption Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 14901 et seq.; the IAA).
(i) "Hague custody declaration" means a declaration issued by the
secretary in an outgoing case (where the child is emigrating from the
United States to another convention country) declaring that custody
of a child for purposes of adoption has been granted in the United
States in accordance with the convention and, except as provided in
subdivision (b) of Section 97.4 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal
Regulations, the IAA.
(j) "Legal service" means any service, other than those defined in
this section as an adoption service, that relates to the provision
of legal advice and information or to the drafting of legal
instruments. Legal service includes, but is not limited to, any of
the following services:
(1) Drafting contracts, powers of attorney, and other legal
(2) Providing advice and counsel to an adoptive parent on
completing forms for the State Department of Health Care Services or
the United States Department of State.
(3) Providing advice and counsel to accredited agencies,
temporarily accredited agencies, approved persons, or prospective
adoptive parents on how to comply with the convention, the IAA, and
any regulations implementing the IAA.
(k) "Primary provider" means the accredited agency that is
identified pursuant to Section 96.14 of Title 22 of the Code of
Federal Regulations as responsible for ensuring that all adoption
services are provided and responsible for supervising any supervised
providers when used.
(l) "Public domestic authority" means an authority operated by a
state, local, or tribal government.
(m) "Secretary" means the United States Secretary of State, and
includes any official of the United States Department of State
exercising the authority of the Secretary of State under the
convention, the IAA, or any regulations implementing the IAA,
pursuant to a delegation of authority.
(n) "Supervised provider" means any agency, person, or other
nongovernmental entity that is providing any adoption service in a
convention adoption under the supervision and responsibility of an
accredited agency that is acting as the primary provider in the case.
The department shall adopt regulations to administer the
intercountry adoption program.
For intercountry adoptions that will be finalized in this
state, the licensed adoption agency shall provide all of the
(a) Assessment of the suitability of the applicant's home.
(b) Placement of the foreign-born child in an approved home.
(c) Postplacement supervision.
(d) Submission to the court of a report on the intercountry
adoptive placement with a recommendation regarding the granting of
(e) Services to applicants seeking to adopt related children
living in foreign countries. The Legislature recognizes that these
children have an impelling need for adoptive placement with their
(a) For each intercountry adoption finalized in this state,
the licensed adoption agency shall assume all responsibilities for
the child including care, custody, and control as if the child had
been relinquished for adoption in this state from the time the child
left the child's native country.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), if the child's native country
requires and has given full guardianship to the prospective adoptive
parents, the prospective adoptive parents shall assume all
responsibilities for the child including care, custody, control, and
(c) If the licensed adoption agency or prospective adoptive
parents fail to meet the responsibilities under subdivision (a) or
(b) and the child becomes a dependent of the court pursuant to
Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the state shall
assume responsibility for the cost of care for the child. When the
child becomes a dependent of the court and if, for any reason, is
ineligible for AFDC under Section 14005.1 of the Welfare and
Institutions Code and loses Medi-Cal eligibility, the child shall be
deemed eligible for Medi-Cal under Section 14005.4 of the Welfare and
Institutions Code and the State Director of Health Services has
authority to provide payment for the medical services to the child
that are necessary to meet the child's needs.
For an intercountry adoption that will be finalized in a
foreign country, the licensed adoption agency shall provide all of
the following services:
(a) Assessment of the suitability of the applicant's home.
(b) Certification to the Immigration and Naturalization Service
that this state's intercountry adoption requirements have been met.
(c) Readoption services as required by the Immigration and
Licensed adoption agencies may work only with domestic and
foreign adoption agencies with whom they have written agreements that
specify the responsibilities of each. The agreements may not violate
any statute or regulation of the United States or of this state.
Nothing in this chapter may be construed to prohibit the
licensed adoption agency from entering into an agreement with the
prospective adoptive parents to share or transfer financial
responsibility for the child.
The costs incurred by a licensed adoption agency pursuant to
programs established by this chapter shall be funded by fees charged
by the agency for services required by this chapter. The agency's fee
schedule is required to be approved by the department initially and
whenever it is altered.
(a) A licensed adoption agency shall require each person
filing an application for adoption to be fingerprinted and shall
secure from an appropriate law enforcement agency any criminal record
of that person to determine whether the person has ever been
convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation. The
licensed 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
fitness determination to the licensed 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) A licensed 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 a felony conviction for either of the following:
(A) Any 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. 670 et seq.).
(d) Any fee charged by a law enforcement agency for fingerprinting
or for checking or obtaining the criminal record of the applicant
shall be paid by the applicant. The licensed adoption agency may
defer, waive, or reduce the fee when its payment would cause economic
hardship to the prospective adoptive parents detrimental to the
welfare of the adopted child.
(a) An agency may not place a child for adoption unless 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, has been submitted to the prospective adoptive parents
and they have acknowledged in writing the receipt of the report.
(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) (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 any
fee required under Section 8907. 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
(d) (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.
(a) In no event may a child who has been placed for adoption
be removed from the county in which the child was placed, by any
person who has not petitioned to adopt the child, without first
obtaining the written consent of the licensed adoption agency
responsible for the child.
(b) 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 licensed adoption agency responsible for
the child. 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 licensed
adoption agency responsible for the child. If the licensed 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.
(c) This section does not apply in any of the following
(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 removal of the child 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 agency consents to
(2) Where the child has been returned to and remains in the
custody and control of the child's birth parent or parents.
(3) Where written consent for the removal of the child is obtained
from the licensed adoption agency responsible for the child.
(d) A violation of this section is a violation of Section 280 of
the Penal Code.
(e) Neither this section nor Section 280 of the Penal Code may be
construed to render lawful any act that is unlawful under any other
As a condition of placement, the prospective adoptive parents
shall file a petition to adopt the child under Section 8912 within
30 days of placement.
(a) An international adoption or readoption request may be
filed by a resident of this state in a county authorized by Section
8609.5. The court clerk shall immediately notify the department at
Sacramento in writing of the pendency of the proceeding and of any
subsequent action taken.
(b) 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. The name the child had
before adoption shall appear in the joinder signed by the licensed
(c) 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.
(d) The order of adoption shall contain the child's adopted name,
but not the name the child had before adoption.
(e) 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.
The prospective adoptive parents and the child proposed to be
adopted shall appear before the court pursuant to Sections 8612 and
If the licensed adoption agency is a party to or joins in the
adoption petition, it shall submit a full report of the facts of the
case to the court. The department may also submit a report.
When any report or findings are submitted to the court by a
licensed 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.
(a) If the petitioners move to withdraw the adoption petition
or to dismiss the proceeding, the court clerk shall immediately
notify the department at Sacramento of the action. The licensed
adoption agency shall file a full report with the court recommending
a suitable plan for the child in every case where the petitioners
desire to withdraw the adoption petition or where the licensed
adoption agency recommends that the adoption petition be denied and
shall appear before the court for the purpose of representing the
(b) Notwithstanding the petitioners' withdrawal or dismissal, the
court may retain jurisdiction over the child for the purpose of
making any order for the child's custody that the court deems to be
in the child's best interest.
(a) If the licensed adoption agency finds that the home of
the petitioners is not suitable for the child or that the required
agency consents are not available and the agency recommends that the
petition be denied, or if the petitioners desire to withdraw the
petition and the agency recommends that the petition be denied, the
clerk upon receipt of the report of the licensed adoption 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 licensed adoption agency and the petitioners by
certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as
shown in the proceeding.
(c) The licensed adoption agency shall appear to represent the
At the hearing, if the court sustains the recommendation that
the child be removed from the home of the petitioners because the
licensed adoption agency has recommended denial or the petitioners
desire to withdraw the petition or the court dismisses the petition
and does not return the child to the child's parents, the court shall
commit the child to the care of the licensed adoption agency for the
agency to arrange adoptive placement or to make a suitable plan.
(a) Each state resident who adopts a child through an
intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country shall
readopt the child in this state if it is required by the Department
of Homeland Security. Except as provided in subdivision (c), the
readoption shall include, but is not limited to, at least one
postplacement in-home visit, the filing of the adoption petition, the
intercountry adoption court report, accounting reports, the home
study report, and the final adoption order. If the adoptive parents
have already completed a home study as part of their adoption
process, a copy of that study shall be submitted in lieu of a second
home study. No readoption order shall be granted unless the court
receives a copy of the home study report previously completed for the
international finalized adoption by an adoption agency authorized to
provide intercountry adoption services pursuant to Section 8900. The
court shall consider the postplacement visit or visits and the
previously completed home study when deciding whether to grant or
deny the petition for readoption.
(b) Each state resident who adopts a child through an intercountry
adoption that is finalized in a foreign country may readopt the
child in this state. Except as provided in subdivision (c), the
readoption shall meet the standards described in subdivision (a).
(c) (1) A state resident who adopts a child through an
intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country with
adoption standards that meet or exceed those of this state, as
certified by the State Department of Social Services, may readopt the
child in this state according to this subdivision. The readoption
shall include one postplacement in-home visit and the final adoption
(2) The petition to readopt may be granted if all of the following
(A) The adoption was finalized in accordance with the laws of the
(B) The resident has filed with the petition a copy of both of the
(i) The decree, order, or certificate of adoption that evidences
finalization of the adoption in the foreign country.
(ii) The child's birth certificate and visa.
(C) A certified translation is included of all documents described
in this paragraph that are not in English.
(3) If the court denies a petition for readoption, the court shall
summarize its reasons for the denial on the record.
(d) The State Department of Social Services shall certify whether
the adoption standards in the following countries meet or exceed
those of this state:
(5) South Korea
(e) In addition to the requirement or option of the readoption
process set forth in this section, each state resident who adopts a
child through an intercountry adoption which is finalized in a
foreign country may obtain a birth certificate in the State of
California in accordance with the provisions of Section 102635 or
103450 of the Health and Safety Code.
(a) A child who was adopted as part of a sibling group and
who has been separated from his or her sibling or siblings through
readoption by a resident of this state may petition the court to
enforce any agreement for visitation to which the separate adoptive
families of the siblings subscribed prior to the child's readoption
or to order visitation if no such agreement exists. The court may
order that the agreement be enforced or grant visitation rights upon
a finding that visitation is in the best interest of the child.
(b) In making a finding that enforcement of an existing agreement
or the granting of visitation rights is in the best interest of the
child under subdivision (a), the court shall take into consideration
the nature and extent of the child's sibling relationship, including,
but not limited to, whether the child was raised with a sibling in
the same home, whether the child shares significant common
experiences or has close and strong bonds with a sibling, and whether
ongoing contact with a sibling is in the child's best interest,
including the child's long-term interest.
(c) As used in this section, "sibling" means full-siblings or
(d) As used in this section, "readoption" means the process by
which a child who belongs to a foreign-born sibling group that was
adopted together through an intercountry adoption is subsequently
adopted by a different set of adoptive parents who are residents of
An adoption facilitator shall not offer, provide, or
facilitate any adoption service, as described in this chapter, in
connection with a convention adoption unless it is registered and
posts a bond pursuant to Section 8632.5, and is approved by the
accrediting entity pursuant to Subpart F (commencing with Section
96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(a) A complaint against an accredited agency or approved
person in connection with a convention adoption shall be filed
according to the procedures set forth in Subpart J (commencing with
Section 96.68) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal
(b) Each private full-service adoption agency and noncustodial
adoption agency licensed by the department under this chapter shall
notify the department of any complaint filed against it pursuant to
Subpart J (commencing with Section 96.68) of Part 96 of Title 22 of
the Code of Federal Regulations.
(c) The department may revoke the license of any agency that fails
to comply with the provisions of this chapter and Part 96 of Title
22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(a) For cases in which a child is emigrating from California
to a convention country, an accredited agency or approved person
providing any adoption service described in this chapter, shall
perform all of the following:
(1) A background study on the child prepared in accordance with
all requirements set forth in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section
96.53 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 8706,
and applicable state law.
(2) Consents are obtained in accordance with subdivision (c) of
Section 96.53 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations and
applicable state law.
(3) If the child is 12 years of age or older, the agency or person
has given due consideration to the child's wishes or opinions before
determining that an intercountry adoption is in the child's best
interests and in accordance with applicable state law.
(4) Transmission to the United States Department of State or other
competent authority, or accredited bodies of the convention country,
of the child background study, proof that the necessary consents
have been obtained, and the reasons for the determination that the
placement is in the child's best interests.
(b) The accredited agency shall comply with all placement
standards set forth in Section 96.54 of Title 22 of the Code of
Federal Regulations for children emigrating from California to a
(c) The accredited agency shall keep the central authority of the
convention country and the Secretary informed as necessary about the
adoption process and the measures taken to complete it for children
emigrating from California to a convention country, in accordance
with all communication and coordination functions set forth in
Section 96.55 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(d) For all convention and nonconvention adoption cases involving
children emigrating from California to a convention country, the
agency, person, or public domestic authority providing adoption
services shall report information to the Secretary in accordance with
Part 99 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
A Hague adoption certificate or, in outgoing cases, a Hague
custody declaration, obtained pursuant to Part 97 of Title 22 of the
Code of Federal Regulations shall be recognized as a final valid
adoption for purposes of all state and local laws.