A few years ago, I participated in an online interview about adult adoption. I’ve received a few email inquiries about the process of adult adoption, and I realize that a lot of people didn’t even know that it was a thing.
I was adopted at the age of 24, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Before I begin this story, I need to clarify a few terms. When I say “biological father” or “father”, I’m referring to my mom’s first husband. When I say “dad,” I’m talking about the man who adopted me.
Why I Chose Adult Adoption
My mother’s second husband essentially raised me. Even before my mother left, he’d accepted me as his daughter. It did not matter to him that I wasn’t biologically his child. It didn’t matter that my mother would go on to marry again and have more children. It didn’t matter that he had a biological child. I was his daughter.
Adoption wasn’t in the cards when I was a child because technically I did have biological parents. My mother divorced my dad, and you cannot be adopted by a dad if your mother is married to somebody else. And there was no way in hell that she would agree for him to adopt me if it meant she wasn’t on my birth certificate, even if she wasn’t really in the picture.
I never realized adoption would be an option for me, until one day I heard of legal adoption for adults. When I looked into the process, I realized that it would be relatively simple. In California, all I had to do was agree to be adopted, and he had to agree to adopt me.
The Process of Adult Adoption
I can’t speak for every state, but adult adoption in California is easy. The most difficult part was finding the right forms, and the clerk we filed the paperwork with was pretty unhelpful. We paid a filing fee, which I think was less than $50.
We received a court date, which was less than two weeks from the date we filed. All adoptions in Ventura County are apparently handled by the juvenile courts, so we showed up at court and waited with a bunch of other families. We saw families go in and out of the courtroom, many with balloons and stuffed animals and lines of family members.