Adoption By City

How to Adopt in Kentucky

Kentucky isn't just home to the famous Louisville Slugger and Kentucky Derby it’s also home to many families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in Kentucky.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Kentucky

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked question about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Kentucky.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Kentucky?

To become an Adoptive Parent in Kentucky, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a permanent resident of the State
  • Have lived in the State for at least 12 months prior to petitioning for adoption

A Prospective Adoptive Parent who has been a resident of any U.S. Army post, military reservation, or fort within Kentucky for 60 days may petition to adopt a child in any county adjacent to the military base they are residing.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Kentucky?

Expenses related to adoption in Kentucky range widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Are you looking to adopt internationally or domestically? Through a private agency or the foster care system? Depending on what you decide, Adoptive Parents may be asked to cover adoption-related expenses such as:

  • Legal and agency fees
  • Cost of placement services
  • Medical costs
  • Expenses of the Birth Parents

A Prospective Parent may not pay the attorney's fees of a Birth Parent for any purpose related to an adoption action, unless it is approved by the court.

How do you become a Foster Parent in Kentucky?

To become a Foster Parent in Kentucky, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Attend a Foster Care information meeting
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Live in a home that meets the safety and space requirements
  • Be financially stable and have enough income to support the child
  • Be able to provide a safe, secure and healthy home for a child
  • Complete 15 hours of preservice training
  • Be single or married
  • Pass criminal background checks

Foster Parent training may take four to six months before licensing approval.

What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in Kentucky?

An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated.

In Kentucky, it is illegal for any unlicensed person or entity to assist with the adoption process unless they are placing the child in the home of a stepparent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, or uncle. They may never accept a payment for their services.

Click here to read about the difference between adoption agencies, attorneys, and facilitators.

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Kentucky

If you are considering placing your child 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 child in Kentucky.

Who must consent to an adoption in Kentucky?

Consent to adoption in Kentucky must be given by the following:

  • The adoptee if they are at least 12 years old
  • The Birth Mom of a child born out of wedlock
  • The living parent or parents of a child born in lawful wedlock
  • The Father of the child born out of wedlock, if paternity is established in a legal action or in an affidavit acknowledging paternity of the child

A guardian ad litem will be appointed to a minor parent whose consent is required for adoption proceedings.

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Kentucky?

Consent to adoption in Kentucky will not be required from a parent who:

  • Has been declared mentally disabled
  • Has his or her parental rights terminated
  • Is a Birth Parent who has not established parental rights
  • Has abandoned the child for over a 90-day period of time
  • Is divorced from the other parent, his or her rights have been terminated, and consent has been given by the parent having custody and control of the child
  • Has intentionally caused or allowed another person to cause physical or mental harm to a child
  • Has been convicted of a felony that involved the infliction of serious physical injury to the child
  • Has caused or allowed the child to be sexually exploited
  • Has repeatedly failed to provide or is incapable of providing essential food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or education reasonably necessary and available for the child's well-being
  • Has had his or her parental rights to another child terminated previously
  • Has been convicted of having caused or contributed to the death of another child as a result of physical or sexual abuse or neglect

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Kentucky?

Consent to adoption may not be given prior to 72 hours after the child is born and must be filed in court in the county where the petitioner or child lives.

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, consent to adoption is final and cannot be revoked 20 days after the adoption placement approval or execution of the consent, whichever comes later.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Kentucky?

A ‘Parent’ is a Biological or Adoptive Mother, a Father of a child born in wedlock, or a Father of a child born out of wedlock if paternity has been established in a judicial proceeding or in any manner consistent with the laws of this or any other State.

In Kentucky, if a Birth Mother is married, it is assumed that her husband is the child’s Biological Father. If the Birth Mom is not married, paternity of the Birth Father can be established by Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or adjudication by a judge.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Kentucky

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Kentucky are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

The home study is a critical component to the adoption process. While it is to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support, it is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to asks questions and prepare for the adoption. A home study is ultimately a recommendation as to the fitness of the applicants to become Adoptive Parents.

In Kentucky, a home study should include the following elements:

  • A criminal background check
  • A child abuse and neglect check
  • At least 2 financial references
  • At least 3 references, 1 of which must come from a relative
  • A least one home visit and face-to-face interview
  • Each adult living in the home must submit to:
    • An in-State criminal records check
    • A child abuse or neglect check for each State of residence during the past 5 years
    • A fingerprint-based criminal records check from the National Crime Information Database
  • Each minor living in the home must submit to a child abuse and neglect check

Who oversees a home study in Kentucky and who is included in it?

A home study in Kentucky will assess everyone residing in the Prospective Adoptive home.

The cabinet will conduct the home study for an applicant whose total gross income is equal to or less than 250 percent of the Federal poverty level guidelines unless the applicant submits a written request for the home study to be conducted by a licensed child-placing agency.

A licensed child-placing agency will conduct the home study for an applicant whose gross total income is more than 250 percent of the Federal poverty level guidelines.

Why would my home study not be approved in Kentucky?

A home study will not be approved in Kentucky if the Prospective Parents or any adult living in the home has a criminal background check that reveals a:

  • Felony conviction involving:
    • A spouse, a child, sexual violence, or death
    • Physical abuse, battery, a drug, or alcohol within the 5-year period prior to the home study application
  • A conviction relating to child abuse or neglect

If any member of the household, including minors, have a child abuse and neglect check that reveals the following, the home study will not be approved:

  • Committed sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child
  • Been responsible for a child fatality related to abuse or neglect
  • Had parental rights terminated involuntarily

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Kentucky?

Home study approval is not required for a stepparent or relative adoption; however, the court may still require the person petitioning to adopt to complete a criminal background check.

What are the home study requirements for adopting a baby from another state?

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State 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?

Before the adoption has been finalized, a post placement assessment will take place to ensure the transition into adoption is going well and that the Adoptive Family's circumstances have not changed to no longer fit the child's best interest.

In Kentucky, the postplacement assessment will include an investigation and written report of the following:

  • Whether the content in the adoption petition are true of the Prospective Parents
  • Whether the Prospective Parents are financially able and morally fit to care for the child
  • Whether the adoption is in the best interest of the child

The report must be submitted within the first 90 days that the child has been placed in the Adoptive Home.

Kentucky Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Kentucky is home to some amazing adoption professionals who are ready to get your journey started. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or seeking resources to place your child for adoption, these professionals will guide you through the legal pathways and offer you support throughout your journey:

Kentucky Adoption Services

270-684-2598

Adoption Bridges of Kentuckiana

502-585-4369

Nightlight Christian Adoptions

859-263-9964

KY Adoptions

800-232-5437

Things to do in Kentucky

If your adoption journey brings you to Kentucky and you have some time while awaiting the process, visit some of the States most well-known and famous spots:

Mega Caverns in Louisville

Keeneland in Lexington

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville

Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington

Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort

A note from Adoption Network Law Center

No matter your decision, we appreciate the time you have taken to read about how to adopt in Kentucky. Adoption Network Law Center wishes you the best of luck and is available to answer any further questions you may have about the adoption process. Call 1-866-602-9541 to speak with one of our amazing team members or visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/ to read more about our services. Whether you’re a soon-to-be Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent, ANLC wishes you the best on your adoption journey.