Adoptions in California are managed by the California Department of Social Services. An adoption agency, a public or private agency or a CDSS district office places children for adoption. The Superior Courts of each county makes the final determination of adoption. There are 58 counties in California that serve adoptees and their children. A good place to start when trying to find adoption documents is knowing the town and/or county the adoption took place.
Determine if your adoption was finalized in California. If you are unsure if your adoption was finalized in California you can write to California Department of Social Services. You must provide them with your full name, birthdate and full names of your adoptive parents. Your signature on the letter must be notarized. They will provide you with the agency that handled your adoption.
California Department of Social Services
Adoptions Support Unit
744 P Street, MS 8-12-31
Sacramento, CA 95814
Locate the county where your adoption was finalized. Call 1-800-807-6755 to speak with a state agent who can tell you the name of the county or visit the website http://www.ca.gov/About/Government/Local/Cities/index.html to search the city by name, and it will provide you the name of the county.
Contact the County Clerk's office in which your adoption was finalized.
File a petition under the Family Code Section 9200 in Superior Court. The petition must be filed in the county where your adoption was finalized.
Wait for a response from the court. The court is the deciding factor in whether adoption documents are released. Time frames vary from a few weeks to three months, based on county and if a court appearance is needed.