How to Petition for Adoption for a Child Already in Foster Care

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“My husband and I are trying to adopt an 18 month old girl from my husband’s cousin who is Bipolar. CPS has taken the child away and placed her in foster care. One day the mother says that she wants us to adopt her, and the next day she isn’t sure. She has been bipolar for years. She is a mother that isn’t taking the proper steps to get her child back. Is there a point, if she doesn’t take the proper steps to get her child back, that they will make the decision for her? Can the baby stay in foster care until she is 18 if the mother doesn’t make up her mind? We want to know what we are getting into. We hate to see the baby sit in foster care, and at the same time we have a son to think about too. Any information you have would help, please!”

Question: In California, you are able to file a Petition to adopt the child in question once the child has been judged a dependent by the juvenile court (Family Code Section 8714.5; Dependent requirements in Welfare and Insitutions Code section 300). Such Petition can be filed earlier with the consent of the birth parents. If bipolar cousin is still attempting reunification, and not agreeing to let you and your husband adopt, it seemingly will take her failure to acheive reunification for you to be able to adopt. You may inquire from CPS if you would be able to serve as foster parent.