Filing a Petition to Adopt

How to do it-- and should you change your child's name?

Crystal Perkins January 25, 2014
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Once a child has been placed with you and you have passed the mandatory waiting period, you can file a petition for adoption. This must be done through your adoption worker. They will have several of the documents that you need, and they need to approve the petition.

If you are adopting from another state and going through the ICPC process, the petition will be filed in the sending state.

An original and a copy of the Order Terminating Parental Rights (in the case of the adoption of a child) must either accompany the petition or be filed prior to the adoption hearing.

  • The child’s birth certificate, or birth date and place of birth.
  • A written statement that confirms your desire and suitability to adopt, and your ability to provide financially for the child.
  • A written declaration that the adoption is in the child’s best interest.
  • Your name, age, and address.
  • The date on which you received custody of the child and from whom you were awarded custody.
  • A statement of the legal reason why the birth parents’ rights are being (or have been) terminated.
  • A disclosure of any relationship that you share with the child.

When you file the petition, it will ask if the child’s name will be changed, and if so, what will the new name be.

Whether or not you change your child’s name is a very personal decision, and there are very clear opinions on both sides of the issue.

What do other people do? There are several different things.

  1. Change only the child’s last name.
  2. Change the child’s last name and middle name.
  3. Change the child’s full name.
  4. Change the child’s first name, and change the child’s middle name to their birth name, as well as changing the child’s last name.

Each family is different in how they feel about this subject, and the child’s feelings should be taken into consideration as well. This is especially important the older the child is. They have very strong opinions; it is a very personal issue.

Our son was born as a Jr. with his birthfather’s name. My husband is a III in his family. Our son wanted to change his name to match my husband’s because he wanted to be the IV. It gave him a sense of belonging. We spent a couple of months discussing the issue on and off. He was already enrolled in school where the kids knew him by his birth name, and he has biological siblings who knew him by his birth name as well, but he was quite set on having his name “the same as Daddy’s.” He eventually decided to take my husband’s first and middle name as his middle name. This was comfortable for him.

Other children are very different in their feelings. They feel that their name is a gift from their birth family and do not want it changed.

There are also children who choose to add a name from the adoptive family. Adding a family name to their own blends the two families together.

There will never be one answer for everyone, so do what’s best for your family and what will honor your child’s feelings.

You can wait longer than the mandatory minimum waiting period. If you are not sure whether or not this is the best thing for your family- WAIT! It is in the best interest of both your family and the child for you to be certain that this is the best thing for all of you.

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Crystal Perkins

Crystal is the content manager for Adoption.com. In her free time, she enjoys honing her outdoor photography skills, going on hikes, and hanging out with her husband.


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