Washington Adoption Laws
Adoption laws vary in each state, so knowing exactly what the adoption laws in Washington are can be difficult if you’re new to the process. With this in mind, then, we’ve gathered a few of the most important Washington adoption laws for you to freshen up on before beginning the adoption process. Whether you’re a pregnant woman considering adoption or hopeful adoptive parents, it’s essential that you know your rights and that you ensure your adoption is completed legally.
Please keep in mind, however, that this article is not legal advice. To learn about how Washington adoption laws might apply in your situation, please speak with an adoption attorney, or call American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION.
Any person age 18 or older can adopt in Washington, as long as they are legally competent and undergo an adoption home study. In addition to Washington’s legal requirements, most adoption professionals, including American Adoptions, ask that adoptive parents meet additional requirements.
The requirements to adopt from Washington’s foster care system are the same as they would be to complete a private domestic adoption. In other words, you must be at least 18 years old, legally competent, and have a completed home study. Washington also requires that foster parents or those interested in adopting from foster care complete an orientation and a training course with their foster care agency prior to foster parenting or adopting.
Yes, adoptive parents can pay for some birth parent expenses in Washington, including prenatal hospital or medical expenses involved in the child’s birth and any attorney fees or court costs involved in the adoption. Washington adoption laws do not address which birth parent expenses are not allowed, but please keep in mind that it is always illegal to accept payment or anything of value in exchange for placing a child for adoption.
Washington State requires the consent of both parents and any alleged fathers of the child being adopted, or the consent of the child’s legal guardian or the agency the child has been relinquished to. If the child is 14 years or older, he or she must also consent to the adoption.
To give consent, a child’s birth parents can file a petition for relinquishment before the child is born, although the consent will not be presented to the court until either 48 hours after the consent is given or the child is born, whichever comes later. If, however, the child is of Indian heritage, the consent cannot be signed until at least 10 days after the child is born.
Who must have an adoption home study in Washington?
Anyone who wishes to adopt in Washington — whether via a private domestic adoption, a foster care adoption, or an international adoption — must have a completed adoption home study.
For more information about adoption laws in Washington, please call 1-800-ADOPTION.
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