Start your research with this quick-reference, and confirm any updates with your local representation.
More in depth information is provided on our Adoption Laws By State page.
Our use of the terms “putting up” or “giving up” does not reflect how we feel about adoptive placement. These terms remain the most widely used search terms for those who are considering adoption for their baby, and we wish to reach all who seek this important information.
As a resident of the District of Columbia that is considering newborn adoption, you have many options. Whether you are a prospective Birth Mother or hopeful Adoptive Parent, your adoption process is governed by the domestic adoption policies of the District.
This page provides adoption information to those who live in Washington, D.C. If you are considering adoption for your baby, we have gathered information about Pregnancy Resource Centers/Crisis Pregnancy Centers to assist you to confirm your pregnancy, clinics where you may get prenatal care, and a list of hospitals with birthing centers.
What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Washington, D.C.
If you are considering placing your baby for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your baby in Washington, D.C.:
Who Must Consent to an Adoption in the Washington, D.C?
Consent to a proposed adoption of a person under age 18 is necessary from:
- Both parents, if they are both alive
- The living parent, if one of the parents is dead
- The court appointed guardian of the prospective adoptee
- A licensed childplacing agency or the Mayor, if the parental rights of the parent or parents have been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction or by a release of parental rights to the Mayor or licensed child placing agency
- The Mayor, in any situation not otherwise provided for by this subsection
Minority of a natural parent is not a bar to that parent’s consent to adoption.
When is consent not necessary for adoption in Washington, D.C.?
Consent to a proposed adoption of a person under age 18 is not necessary from:
- A person to whom notice is directed by the court, but cannot be located
- A person who has abandoned the prospective adoptee and voluntarily failed to contribute to his or her support for a period of at least 6 months prior to the filing of the petition for adoption
- When court finds, after a hearing, that the consent or consents are withheld contrary to the best interests of the child.
When may consent to adoption be given in Washington, D.C.?
Parental rights may be relinquished no sooner than 72 hours after birth, and prior to giving relinquishment, the placing parent must receive counseling from a professional social worker in compliance the district’s Code.
Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Washington, D.C.?
A placing parent that relinquishes parental rights to a licensed agency may revoke relinquishment until either 14 days after signing. In circumstances where the placement is a direct placement, the code section does not provide for a revocation period.
What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Washington, D.C.?
A birth father may consent to an adoption in the same manner as a birth mother. If a birth father does not agree with the adoption, and is not married to the baby’s mother, he will need to take court action to establish parental rights.
Pregnancy Resource Centers in Washington, D.C.
Pregnancy Resource Centers, sometimes also called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” are usually not-for-profit clinics where expectant parents may seek assistance to confirm a pregnancy and review and discuss available options. Most Pregnancy Resource Centers are not staffed by medical personnel, and do not distribute contraceptives. Many are affiliated with pro-life organizations, so encourage parenting or adoption, however not all have religious affiliation. There are several Pregnancy Resource Centers in Washington, D.C.:
- Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center
- DC Health and Wellness Center
- Latin American Youth Center
- The Northwest Center
Pregnancy Clinics and Low Cost Prenatal Care in Washington, D.C.
Clinics are staffed by medical personnel and can address most aspects of prenatal care and family planning. They are able to perform STD and cancer screenings (pap smears, and sometimes mammograms), and can prescribe and distribute contraceptives. Clinics in Washington, D.C. that provide prenatal care are:
- Community of Hope
- Unity Health Care School Based Health Centers /a>
- Unity Health Care Homeless Services
Hospitals in Washington, D.C.
Adoptive parents and expectant mothers should create a hospital plan to ensure that the desires and rights of all parties are respected. You will work with your adoption professional and your delivery hospital to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Here are some hospitals near you to contact and get started with.
- Medstar Washington Hospital Center
110 Irving St NW Washington DC 20010
- Johns Hopkins Medicine
5255 Loughboro Road, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20016
- Howard University
2041 Georgia Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20060
- The George Washington University Hospital
900 23rd Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20037
What you need to know about adopting a baby in Washington, D.C.
For those in Washington, D.C. who wish to adopt a baby, below you will find home study agency resources and helpful information to assist you with the adoption process.
To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked questions about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Washington, D.C.
What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Washington, D.C.?
The minimum age for prospective adoptive parents residing in Washington, D.C. is 21. There is no requirement that the adoptive parent(s) be married, however if married, both adoptive parents must adopt together.
How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Washington, D.C.?
Prospective adoptive parents are permitted to provide assistance to a birth mother for reasonable medical care, counseling, legal services and for transportation to appointments for those purposes. In some circumstances, assistance may be provided for housing, food, and clothing. The fees that a licensed adoption agency may charge for its services are limited in Washington, D.C. by legal statute.
How do you become a foster parent in Washington, D.C.?
If you are interested in becoming a Foster Parent in Washington, D.C., you first need to make sure you meet the minimum requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have financial stability and can provide for the child
- Complete 30 hours of foster care training
- Pass criminal background checks
- Submit a medical examination to determine physical and emotion ability to care for the child
- Obtain a child support clearance
- Agree not to use physical punishment
- Pass a home inspection
- Provide 3 references
- Two home visits to discuss the family’s lifestyle, sleeping space for the child, and types of children that will be the best fit for the foster parents
Applicant may be of any marital status and may live in an apartment or home.
Can you finalize an international adoption in Washington, D.C.?
Foreign adoptions may be finalized in Washington, D.C., but it is not required if the child was adopted in compliance with the laws of a foreign country and if the child is issued a visa verifying the validity of the adoption.
What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in Washington, D.C.?
An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated.
The law in Washington, D.C. states that no person other than the parent, guardian, or relative within the third degree, and no firm, corporation, association, or agency other than a licensed child-placing agency may place or arrange or assist in placing or arranging for the placement of a child under age 16 in a family home or for adoption.
Click here to read about the difference between adoption agencies, attorneys, and facilitators.
Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Washington, D.C.
As is the case throughout the United States, prospective adoptive families living in Washington, D.C. are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and also undergo post-placement assessment once a baby is placed in their home. The home study process confirms that the home will be a safe and stable environment for an adoptive placement.
What is the home study and what happens during the process?
In Washington, D.C., the home study is conducted by a social worker who works with a licensed child-placing agency. A criminal records check is required for prospective adoptive parents and all those living in the home. A person will not be approved as an adoptive parent if he or she or an adult residing in the adoptive parent’s home has a felony conviction for any of the following offenses or their equivalents:
- Child abuse, child neglect, or an intra-family offense
- A crime against children, including child pornography
- A crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including physical assault or battery
- Physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense, if committed within the past 5 years
Each home study report shall include an assessment of the adoptive applicants on the following:
- The motivation for adoption
- Readiness to parent a child not born to them
- The attitudes and feelings of the family and significant others involved with the family toward adoptive children
- The attitudes of the applicants toward birth parents and the reasons the children are in need of adoption
- Emotional stability and maturity, including the capacity to give and receive affection
- The ability to cope with problems, stress, crises, and losses including availability of formal and informal support systems
- The ability to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs
- The attitude toward discipline and child-rearing
What are the home study requirements for adopting a baby from another state?
Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the district is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
What is a post-placement requirement, and what happens during the process?
The law that in Washington, D.C. that governs adoptive placement requires that the child-placing agency shall provide post-placement services for at least 6 months from the date of the adoptive placement of a child. The agency shall conduct at least three interviews during the 6-month period with the child and the parent(s) and make at least one visit to the home. If a final decree of adoption has not been granted within 6 months of placement, the child-placing agency shall continue to provide services until the final decree is granted.
Home study providers serving Washington, D.C.:
- Adoptions Together
- Lutheran Social Services of the North Capitol Area
- The Datz Foundation
Every adoption is unique and most adoptions will transcend state boundaries requiring local representation. Adoption Network Law Center works with skilled and experienced professionals to handle all of the legal aspects of your adoption,providing quality adoption services to prospective Birth Mothers and Adoptive Parents nationwide.
Adoption requires significant coordination between the attorney, the home study agency and a licensed adoption agency. Adoption Network Law Center provides access to all necessary adoption services and will coordinate the execution of your Washington DC adoption plan.
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