How to Adopt in Utah

Utah isn't just home to the Great Salt Lake and beautiful rock formations; 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 Utah.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Utah

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 Utah.

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

In Utah, a child may be adopted by adults who are legally married, but not a couple that does not have a legally valid marriage under Utah law. You must also be at least 10 years older than the child you wish to adopt. For a married couple, at least one person must be 10 years older than the child.

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

Expenses related to adoption in Utah 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 expenses and agency fees
  • Maternity expenses
  • Medical and hospital bills
  • Counseling services
  • Temporary living expenses
  • Travel expenses related to the adoption

How do you become a Foster Parent in Utah?

To become a Foster Parent in Utah, you must be at least 21 years old. You may be single or married, but couples looking to become Foster Parents must be legally married. Other requirements include:

  • Being healthy enough to care for the child
  • Have the financial means to pay for the child
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Own or rent a clean home, free of fire and health hazards

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

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

In Utah, it is illegal to assist in placing a child for adoption if you do not have a license. A person may assist a parent in finding a person interested in adopting the parent’s child, or in locating a child to be adopted; however, no payment, charge, fee, reimbursement of expense, or exchange of value of any kind may be made for that assistance.

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 Utah

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 Utah.

Who must consent to an adoption in Utah?

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

  • The Birth Mother
  • A man who is the father of the child by previous adoption
  • The recognized Father or Mother of the adoptee
  • A man who has been adjudicated to be the child's Birth Father by a court prior to the Birth Mother's execution of consent to adoption
  • A Biological Father who has filed a voluntary declaration of paternity with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics prior to the Birth Mom's execution of consent
  • The person or agency having legal custody of the child
  • The adoptee if they are at least 12 years old

Consent to adoption will be implied by the following acts:

  • Abandonment of the child
  • Receiving notice of adoption proceedings and failing to respond
  • Leaving the child with a third party, without giving them identification, for 30 consecutive days
  • Knowingly leaving the child with another person, without providing for support, communicating, or maintaining a substantial relationship with the child, for 6 consecutive months

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Utah

Consent to adoption will not be required for the following reasons:

  • The adoptee is at least 18 years old
  • The parent of the child has had their parental rights terminated
  • From the Birth Father if it is found that the child was conceived by a sexual offense
  • From an unmarried Birth Father if:
    • He fails to comply with requirements to initiate and establish his paternity
    • The court decides his rights should be terminated
    • He rescinded his declaration of paternity

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

In Utah, a Birth Mom cannot give her consent to adoption until at least 24 hours after the child’s birth. Consent from another person may be given at any time.

It must be signed before one of the following:

  • A judge or a person appointed by a judge
  • A person who is authorized by a licensed child-placing agency to take consents

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

Once consent has been given, it is irrevocable in Utah. A minor parent who gives consent may not revoke their consent when they reach legal adulthood.

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

‘Adjudicated Father’ means a man who has been adjudicated by a tribunal to be the father of a child.

‘Alleged Father’ means a man who alleges himself to be, or is alleged to be, the Birth Bather or a possible Birth Father of a child, but whose paternity has not been determined.

‘Declarant Father’ means a male who, along with the Birth Mother, claims to be the Biological Father of a child, and signs a voluntary declaration of paternity to establish the man’s paternity.

‘Determination of parentage’ means the establishment of the parent-child relationship by the signing of a valid Voluntary Declaration of Paternity or adjudication by a tribunal.

Utah has established a Paternity Registry for unmarried Biological Fathers who wish to be notified of adoption proceeding of a child they may have fathered. For more information about the registry, click here.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Utah

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Utah 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 Utah, a home study evaluation will include:

  • A fingerprinted State and national criminal background check
  • An assessment of the home’s safety
  • A verification of financial stability
  • A report containing all information regarding reports and investigations of child abuse, neglect, and dependency for each State the person has lived in for the previous 5 years
  • An assessment of the Prospective Parent’s parenting skills
  • A behavioral assessment of the Prospective Adoptive Parents and children living at home
  • Interviews with the family
  • A declaration that applicants are not cohabiting in a relationship that is not a legal marriage
  • The health status of the applicants
  • A screening of all adults living in the home, against the child abuse data base

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

All adults living in the Prospective Adoptive Home will be included in the home study assessment and it will be conducted by one of the following:

  • A social worker
  • Marriage and family therapist
  • A psychologist
  • A professional counselor
  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • The Department of Human Services

Why would my home study not be approved in Utah?

A home study will not be approved in Utah if a Prospective Parent is convicted of any of the following crimes:

  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Aggravated arson, burglary or robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated murder, murder, manslaughter, child abuse homicide, or homicide by assault
  • A sexual offense
  • Child abuse, domestic violence committed in the presence of a child, abuse or neglect of a child with a disability, or endangerment of a child or vulnerable adult
  • Aggravated assault or a drug-related offense committed within the past 5 years

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

In the case of a stepparent or relative adoption, the court may waive the home study requirement, but a criminal background check and child abuse and neglect central registry check will still be required.

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 Utah, a post placement assessment will include:

  • Verification that the information on the adoption petition is true
  • An evaluation of the child’s adjustment to the Adoptive Home
  • A recommendation regarding whether the adoption is in the best interest of the child

Within 30 days of the child being placed in the home, the agency will develop a Child and Family plan to include frequent visits to the home for the first 6 months and until the adoption is finalized.

Utah Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Utah 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:

Heart to Heart Adoption

801-563-1000

Alternative Options Pregnancy Resources

844-757-8715

An Act of Love Adoption

1-800-835-6360

Heartstrings Adoption

1-855-902-5262

Things to do in Utah

If your adoption journey brings you to the State known for its unusual rock formations, see them by visiting some of Utah’s National Parks and other popular sites:

Arches National Park in Moab

The Narrows in Zion National Park

Brian Head Town

Bryce Canyon National Park

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab

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 Utah. 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.