Adoption in Washington State

Considering Adoption?  You have a lot of options in terms of where and how to adopt. Some people go through adoption agencies. Another option is to go through the State of Washington. Did you know that in 2013 there were over 1,300 adoptions of children in custody of Washington State’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)? DSHS has a goal to find safe and stable families that can best meet the needs of the child. Every year there are children left in the custody of the state, looking for their “forever home.”

If you are interested in adoption with a child from the State or a private adoption agency, you will need the help of a competent attorney. There are many important issues to address, including the type of adoption (open or closed) and the identity of the parents of the child and potential disclosure of that. Miller Law Group LLC is happy to assist you in making your house a home with the addition of an adopted child.

To be an adoptive parent through the State, you must be:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Legally competent
  • Have an approved home study

Private agencies have their own unique requirements and process for adoption which vary from agency to agency. If you want to do an adoption through a private agency, you are required by law to do a fingerprint based criminal background check. This is required by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. You will also need an attorney to help guide you through the process. See: Background Check Procedures for Private Adoptions for more information.

Adoption is governed by State and Federal laws and regulations.

Washington State laws and rules are these:

Federal child welfare laws are found here:

  • THOMAS– a service of the Library of Congress that makes Federal legislative information freely available to the public via the Web.

Adopting through the State is a less expensive alternative than private agencies. Costs of adopting a child from the public foster care system are kept to a bare minimum and may be eligible for reimbursement. Incurred costs are generally limited to attorney fees and adoption home studies (if completed by someone other than DSHS).

There are six steps to adopt through the State of Washington. The first step is to contact DSHS. Next, the person or people need to do an adoptive home study. Third, child selection occurs. This involves gender, age, and ethnicity among other factors. Step four is visitation and the placement process. Step five is post placement. The last step of this process is legal procedures and finalization. For this step you need to have an attorney help you.

For more information on adopting from the State, go to:

For more information on private adoption see: Adoption Information Exchange which has a listing of adoption resources in Washington State for adoptive families, birth parents, and adopted individuals including Agencies, Attorneys, Community Resources, Homestudy Providers, Counselors and Search and Reunion Resources.  Miller Law Group is happy to help you finalize an adoption.