Can You Adopt an Adult?
One question we’ve often heard over the years is, “Can you adopt an adult?” Let’s dig into this query further in the context of foster care.
Adoption Age from Foster Care
In short, yes, you can fost-adopt an adult in California. But this didn’t used to be the case.
In 2012, The California Fostering Connections to Success Act officially became law. One of the many changes instituted by this law is that foster youth can both extend legal emancipation to occur at 21 – as opposed to 18 as before – and receive additional benefits between 18 and 21. Thanks to this law, individuals who are technically adults can still remain in out-of-home care.
So, it’s possible to fost-adopt an adult who is in this situation. In fact, one of the original stated goals of the law is so that “foster youth will be able to maintain a safety net of support” beyond their 18th birthday, according to the California Department of Social Services.
“Most teenagers rely on their families not just for financial support but also for help planning their future and learning to be self-sufficient. Young people who are aging out of foster care, and who may have experienced years of instability and trauma, also need these things, and sometimes much more,” wrote Leecia Welch, a Senior Attorney at the National Center for Youth Law.
There are many youth who may find themselves in this situation. In California, more than one in four transition-aged foster youth is 18 – and another 16 percent is 19. And for transition-aged foster youth nationwide aged 16 and 17, one in 10 had adoption as their ultimate case goal.
Can An Adult Be Adopted Past 21?
What about other situations? What if someone wanted to adopt an individual they used to foster even if that person is, say, 22 or older?
In California, the answer is yes. In fact, it’s possible to adopt anyone of any age in the state.
But, there are stipulations. For the most part, unless you are a relative like a cousin or sibling, you need to be at least 10 years older than the person you are adopting. Also, while you don’t have to be married to adopt, someone who is married and looking to adopt will be able to joint adopt with their legal spouse.
Where Can I Go to Learn More About Adoption?
The requirements for adopting an adult are different than the ones for adopting a youth out of foster care. To learn more about the specifics of the fost-adopt process and to begin your application, head to www.afs4kids.org/services/adoption-services/.
We hope this post answered your questions! If you have any more general adoption questions, feel free to ask them on social media. You can always reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Interested in learning more about adoption, and want more information on the fost-adopt process? We’d love to hear from you! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (800) 300-1022.
Alternative Family Services (AFS) provides thoughtful, informed foster care, adoption and mental health services throughout California’s San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Sacramento region. Since 1978, the mission of AFS has been – and continues to be – to support vulnerable children and families in need of stability, safety and well-being in communities through foster care, adoption and mental health services.