Adoption By City

How to Adopt in Washington

Washington isn't just home to Amazon and the very first Starbucks; 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 Washington.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Washington

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 Washington.

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

Any person 18 years or older who is deemed legally competent may adopt a child in Washington.

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

Expenses related to adoption in Washington 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:

  • Medical bills for the Birth Mother and child
  • Prenatal care for the Birth Mother
  • Attorney and agency fees
  • Home study and postplacement study fees

Costs associated with fostering a child are limited to attorney fees and home study fees, and you may be eligible for reimbursement.

How do you become a Foster Parent in Washington?

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

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have sufficient income to support yourself without foster care compensation
  • Discipline children in a positive manner without using physical punishment
  • Complete First Aid/CPR training
  • Complete 24 hours of preservice training
  • Complete the licensing orientation
  • Continue training with
    • 36 hours during their first three-year licensing period
    • 30 hours during their second three-year licensing period
    • 24 hours during all subsequent three-year licensing periods

Can you finalize an international adoption in Washington?

The Department of Registration of Births will issue a birth certificate for a child born outside the United States who was adopted in this State when it receives:

  • A certified copy of the decree of adoption
  • Evidence of the child’s birth date and birthplace provided by the original birth certificate, or by a certified copy or translation such as the records of the U.S. Immigration or Naturalization Service or of the U.S. Department of State

Can you finalize an international adoption in Washington?

For more information about recognition of foreign adoption in Washington, click here.

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

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

In Washington, the use of facilitators is not illegal, but it is heavily regulated. They must provide written information about their adoption-related services; information about how to find adoption resources and counseling; and include their procedures, practices, policies, and fees.

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 Washington

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 Washington.

Who must consent to an adoption in Washington?

Consent to adoption must be given by the following, if applicable:

  • The Birth Mother and any alleged Birth Father of the child
  • The agency that the child has been relinquished to
  • The legal guardian of the child
  • The child who is up for adoption if they are 14 years or older

For more information about adoption consent in Washington, click here.

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Washington?

The right of an alleged father, birth parent, or parent to consent to adoption in Washington may be revoked if the court finds that the proposed adoption is in the best interests of the child, and the alleged father, birth parent, or parent:

  • Has failed to perform basic parental duties regarding the child
  • Has been found guilty of rape or incest, and the child was the victim
  • Has been found guilty of rape or incest, and the child was conceived as a result of this act

For an Indian child, a parents' right to consent can only be revoked based on the standards set for in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f)

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

A petition for relinquishment and the written consent to adoption may be filed before the child's birth; however, it will not be presented to the court until 48 hours after it is signed or 48 hours after the birth of the child, whichever happens later.

For Indian children, the petition and consent to adoption may not be signed until 10 days after the child’s birth and must be recorded before a court.

The written consent to adoption for the Birth Parents must state the following:

  • It is subject to approval by the court
  • It has no effect until it is approved by the court
  • It is revocable by the consenting party at any time before its court approval
  • Whether the Birth Parents are or are not of Native American or Alaskan ancestry

A witness, who is 18 years or older and chosen by the Birth Parents, must be present for the consent. The document must contain a statement identifying the name, address, and relationship of the witness to the Birth Parent.

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

The Birth Parents of an adopted child in Washington may revoke their consent at any time before the courts approval and up to a year after the finalized adoption.

Within one year of court approval, revocation can be made for fraud practiced by those requesting consent or for a lack of mental competency of the Birth Parent at the time consent was given.

After one year, consent to adoption is irrevocable.

For Indian children, consent may be revoked any time before the final decree of adoption, and up to two years after for fraud or duress.

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

A man is considered a Presumed Father, meaning he will be recognized as the child's father unless proven otherwise in court, and will be given rights to be included in the adoption process if:

  • He is married to the Birth Mother when the child is born
  • He was married to the Birth Mother and the child was born within 300 days of their separation
  • He lived in the same home as the child for the first 2 years of its life and openly acknowledge the child as his own
  • Both the Presumed Father and Birth Mother sign an acknowledgment of his paternity

For more information about Birth Father rights in Washington, click here.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Washington

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Washington 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 Washington, the home study will include the following:

  • State and national criminal background checks
  • Child abuse and neglect central registry checks
  • Interviews with family and household members
  • Verification that the following issues have been discussed:
    • The child's possible questions about their Birth Parents
    • The relevance of the child's racial, ethnic, and cultural heritage
    • The concept of adoption as a lifelong process and commitment
    • The potential for the child to have feelings of identity loss or confusion
    • If applicable, the potential benefits of the child to remain in contact with their siblings

To learn more about the home study process in Washington, click here.

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

Home studies in Washington may be conducted by an agency, the department or an individual approved by the court.

The study will include the Prospective Adoptive Parents and any other adults living in the home.

Why would my home study not be approved in Washington?

In Washington, a home study will be immediately disqualified if an applicant is found to have been convicted of the following crimes resulting in a felony charge:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Spousal abuse
  • A crime against a child, including pornography
  • A crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide but not including other physical assault

The home study will also be denied if it has been less than 5 years from a conviction of the following crimes:

  • A sex offense not mentioned above
  • A physical assault not mentioned above
  • A felony charge not mentioned above
  • A felony in violation of
    • The Imitation Controlled Substances Act, the Legend Drug Act, the Precursor Drug Act, or the Uniform Controlled Substances Act
    • Manufacturing, delivering, or possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver, or using a building for illegal drug-related purposes

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

A home study or preplacement report is not required in Washington if the Prospective Adoptive Parent is the spouse of the child’s Birth Parent, unless otherwise ordered by court.

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 Washington, the study will be reported to the court in the form of a written document and include the following:

  • The physical and mental health conditions of the child
  • The home environment
  • The family life, health, facilities, and resources of the Adoptive Family
  • Information about the child’s cultural heritage and ethnic background
  • Any other factors that have influence on the child’s adjustment to the Adoptive Home

Washington Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Washington 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:

Open Adoption and Family Services

(206) 782-0442

A Child's Dream

(800) 247-8280

World Association for Children and Families

(206) 575-4550

Catholic Adoption Services of Washington State

(206) 328-5696

Things to do in Washington

If your adoption takes you to the evergreen state, considering taking time to enjoy some of Washington's most beloved destinations:

Space Needle in Seattle

Pike Place Market in Seattle

Mount Rainier National Park

Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle

America's Car Museum in Tacoma

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 Washington. 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.