Working near USMC Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, I sometimes receive questions from military families.  Here’s one I got today:

“My daughter has her biological father’s last name, but he isn’t on her birth certificate. He isn’t involved in her life. My husband wants to adopt her but we’re not sure what all we have to do in order to get it done. Also, my husband is in the military and we are currently living in California. My daughter, however, was born in Texas, which is also where her biological father is. Do we have to go by Texas laws? or California?”

And my answer:

“Unless your daughter is the subject of an ongoing family law case in Texas, jurisdiction in California is appropriate.  You will work with the Superior Court of the County in which you are living.  You will complete California mandatory forms Adopt-200 (to submit at hearing) Adopt-210 (to sign in court) and Adopt-215 (for the judge to sign).

You’ll take the forms to court and pay a filing fee. Soon thereafter, a social worker will meet with you and then write a report. When you receive a copy of the report, you’ll ask for a hearing date. Assuming all is well, you will bring the child with you to court on the hearing date, along with all of the forms, assorted friends/family, and at least one camera, and the three of you will leave court with a new familial relationship (and often with a new Teddy Bear for your daughter).

Best wishes to you.”

So you see… adoption can be a relatively straightforward and painless process, especially where one parent doesn’t need to be consulted – as he was left off the birth certificate!