If you know of a child in need of a better home life and you feel like you can make a difference in their upbringing, you may wish to bring them into your home. In doing so, you have three options: adopting the child, becoming a foster parent to the child, or becoming the child’s guardian. Each option is unique from a legal and practical standpoint.
All three require high levels of commitment, caring, and consideration for the child’s wellbeing. None of them should be entered into without preparation on many levels. This includes preparing your home for a child, preparing your life to accommodate their wants and needs, and preparing other members of your household for the arrival of a new person in your shared living spaces.
What to Know About Adoption
When you adopt a child, you take over all parental rights, which are relinquished by the child’s birth parents. Adopting a child gives you all of the same rights as the child’s birth parents, and it can occur at any point during a child’s life, including just after birth or well into a child’s teen years.
Both foster parents and guardians can adopt children already in their care or children who they aren’t fostering or acting as guardians of. Children who are adopted are no longer legally tied to their birth parents, but they can still maintain contact and relationships with them. This is common in many adoptive situations, including those where family members adopt children when their biological parents are unable to provide for them.
What to Know About Foster Parenting
Foster parenting is all about providing a safe, stable, but temporary home for children who were previously in the care of people who were deemed unfit to prove for them. This can include households where abuse or neglect took place, or homes where parents become incarcerated or abandon their families.
Like adoption, children in foster care may continue to have relationships with their biological parents, but they can’t live with them until their parents prove they are able to provide stable homes for them. Foster parents can be family members or unrelated adults, and many foster parents provide safe homes for children of different backgrounds at the same time.
What to Know About Legal Guardianships
Legal guardians are responsible for the wellbeing of children in their care and can make decisions concerning their medical care, education, and more. However, the parents of children in guardianships still retain some rights and access to their children. For example, they can visit their children, access information about them, and be notified of accidents, injuries, and illnesses involving them.
Like foster care, guardianships are often temporary. However, they can be permanent, although they don’t provide the same level of rights as adoption. In some cases, it can make sense for permanent guardianships to adopt children in their care, especially when it has become clear that reunification with their birth parents is no longer a possibility.
We Can Help You Become a Legal Guardian
Legal guardianship is unique in that it gives guardians every chance to provide stable and safe homes for the children in their care, but it’s not on the usual short timeline of foster care or has the permanent nature of adoption. In many cases, guardianships can last for years, as biological parents may not make much, if any, effort to regain permanent custody of their children due to life circumstances.
That said, legal guardians can make decisions on behalf of the children in their care, which gives them great power in shaping their lives and creating more stability and safety where none may have existed before. However, California family law is all about ensuring children end up in safe homes, and that can mean potential guardians have to jump through many hoops before they’re approved.
At the Law Office of André J. Ausseresses, APC, we understand the responsibility that this position has for people in California, and it’s our job to help them understand what it entails while also assisting them with every aspect of the application and approval process. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
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