Washington Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adoption in Washington.

Kenneth Knudson August 18, 2016

Welcome, Washingtonians! This guide was written to provide you with a single place to find information about adoption within your own state. It will walk you through everything from laws that will impact your adoption to reviews of adoption service providers in Washington.

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in Washington, then sections dedicated to Washington domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 6), foster adoption (Slide 19),  international adoption (Slide 29), and stepparent adoption (Slide 33). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful Washington adoption resources (Slide 36)

Please Note
1. Please Note

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided in this slideshow guide, you should not rely on it to make decisions. Instead, you should rely on licensed professionals in making decisions relative to adoption. The information in this guide is subject to change without notice. Adoption.com is not responsible for the consequences of relying on this information. In no event shall Adoption.com be liable for any direct, indirect, special, or incidental damage resulting from, arising out of, or in connection with the use of this information.

IMAGE: Zhukova Valentyna

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

-The state of Washington is the only state to be named after a US president

-The highest point in the state is Mt. Rainier, at 14,416 ft.

-Washington is the birth place of Jimi Hendrix and Bing Crosby

-Washington produces more apples than any other state in America

-The Grand Coulee Dam, created in 1941 during the Great Depression to increase electricity production, is the largest dam in the U.S.

IMAGE: Africa Studio

Adoption in Washington at a Glance
3. Adoption in Washington at a Glance

Kids in foster care available for adoption in 2015: 3,213

Foster Adoptions completed in 2013: 1316

International adoptions completed in 2015: 173

SOURCE: acf.hhs.gov
travel.state.gov

Can I Adopt in Washington?
4. Can I Adopt in Washington?

Age: 18 or older

Marital Status: Single or married

Work: Stable income to provide for a family

Personality: Warm, trustworthy, willing to adapt to new situations

Experience: None required

Other Requirements: In order to be a foster parent the state requires hopeful adoptive parents to complete orientations and Core Training

DISQUALIFYING CRIMES: Spousal or child abuse/neglect, crimes against children, and violent crimes including homicide, sexual assault, or rape

Developing a Support System
5. Developing a Support System

It’s essential to have a good network of family, friends, and neighbors to support you through your adoption process.

It’s also important to connect with other adoptive parents. You can begin making these connections in our forums. You may also want to consider joining a support group for adoptive parents.

Domestic Infant Adoption in Washington
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Washington

Before you get started, click here to learn more about the overall process of adopting an infant in the United States. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back to get the details about adoption in Washington.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help
7. Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help

In Washington you are able to work with local and private agencies or attorneys to complete an adoption.

Some people pursuing a private adoption find it beneficial to work with a professional adoption facilitator, an individual that matches birth parents with adoptive parents in exchange for a fee.

Paid adoption facilitators are banned or restricted in many states. Washington statutes state that only licensed agency workers or attorneys can accept payments to help place a child. Parents who have received a favorable, completed home study can advertise their desire to adopt.

You can browse and read reviews about adoption service providers in Washington.

For more information about picking an adoption agency, learn about the Top Fifteen Things to Look for In An Adoption Agency.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
9. Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study

Regardless of whether you choose to adopt through an agency or adoption attorney, hopeful adoptive parents need to complete a home study to qualify for adoption. This is different than a single home visit. In a home study a caseworker may visit multiple times in order to write a report culminating in approval for adoption.

Your home study social worker will help educate you about adoption and ensure that you (and your adoptive partner, if applicable) meet the requirements outlined on Slide Four.

Click here to learn more about the Home Study process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word
10. Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word

One of the most important things you can do while waiting for an adoption match is to let everyone know about your hope to adopt. Many adoption connections are made through word-of-mouth referrals.

Another great way to spread the word is social media. Creating a profile on Adoption.com Parent Profiles allows you to easily share your story with those considering placing their child for adoption. Features like videos and photos, posts, Pinterest-like favorites, and recommendations and endorsements make it easy to create a profile as unique as you are, increasing the likelihood that you will stand out and connect with that right person.

Rich communication options like video chat and instant messaging make connecting easy. A mobile-responsive design means that you will never be out of reach.

What’s more, Adoption.com receives over 650,000 monthly visits, which means your profile will receive unparalleled exposure. You can even view and monitor your progress through a detailed statistics page.

Ready to get started? Visit Parent Profiles.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

Consent for adoption in Washington may be required by the following parties:

-The parents of the child and any alleged father of a child under 18
-An agency or department to whom the child has been relinquished (see § 26.33.080)
-The legal guardian of a child
-The child if he/she is older than 14

Parental consent can be terminated involuntarily by the courts when biological parents neglect their parental duties and the court finds it in the child’s best interest to relinquish their rights.

Consent to adoption can be signed before the child’s birth by birth mother and/or father. The consent is only final when a judge approves consent, which can happen no sooner than 48 hours after birth. Often times the approval from a judge comes much later.

However, if the child is an Indian child the consent cannot be signed until the child is at least 10 days old. Consent will not be presented in court until after the child is 48 hours old.

The court must approve consent to the adoption or consent is void. Consent to adoption can be revoked at any time before the court approves of consent. Biological parents can send a written revocation to the court clerk before the court approves of consent. After approval consent can be revoked for up to 1 year (2 years for an indian child) if a petitioner proves that consent came under fraud or duress.

Consent can be revoked after court approval if it is delivered or mailed 48 hours after a prior notice of revocation that was given at least 48 hours after birth of a child.

SOURCE: § 26.33.080

Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights

The state of Washington does have a putative fathers registry. After the birth of a child the mother and father may sign an acknowledgement of paternity with intent to establish a man’s paternity. An acknowledgment of paternity must follow the following guidelines:

-Be kept in record
-Be signed by both mother and father seeking to establish paternity
-State that the child does not have a different presumed father
-State if there has been genetic testing, and if so that the acknowledgement is in line with the genetic testing findings

A signatory may rescind acknowledgement of paternity up to 60 after signing acknowledgement. The father must schedule a court hearing to rescind acknowledgement.

SOURCE: § 26.26.305

Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws about Birth Parent Expenses
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws about Birth Parent Expenses

Hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide certain expenses for expectant mothers. There are, however, laws governing such support.

Approved Expenses:
Prenatal hospital or medical expenses related to the birth of the child. Attorney fees and court fees involved in transferring a child from one party to another. Depends on the judge, the county, and the court.

Banned Expenses:
Not addressed in the statutes reviewed

SOURCE: § 9A.64.030(2)(f)

Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
14. Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that determines the amount of contact birth and adoptive families have after the adoption becomes final.

Contact agreements in Washington are only legally enforceable when entered upon through a court order. In order to be finalized the order must first be approved in writing by the hopeful adoptive parents, the birth parents (if their rights have not been terminated), and a state department or agency representative if the child is in their care. For more information on contact agreements in Washington click here.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization
15. Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization

In order to finalize an adoption petition in Washington, hopeful adoptive parents must receive a favorable post-placement report by the person or agency who conducted the home study. After receiving a report a final adoption decree may be passed by a judge in court. While state statutes require a post-placement report to be filed within 60 days of a child entering a home, it may take longer or shorter to get the adoption finalized.

SOURCE: skellengerbender.com

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting from Out-of-State
16. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting from Out-of-State

With private (usually domestic infant) adoptions, it is always possible to adopt a child within, even if you live in a different state. A non-resident is allowed to finalize an adoption in the state of Washington.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC.

IMAGE: Roman Khomlyak

Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to Washington from Out-of-State
17. Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to Washington from Out-of-State

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in Washington. Hotels in Seattle average around $150 a night, while hotels in Spokane average around $60 a night. Always be sure to check multiple websites to be sure you get the lowest price possible.

Places to visit in Seattle:
-Space Needle
-Woodland Park Zoo
-Waterfront Park
-Museum of Flight
-Safeco Field

Places to visit in Spokane:
-Riverfront Park
-Spokane Convention Center
-Bing Crosby Theater
-Avista Stadium
-Centennial Trail State Park

IMAGE: Scott Walmsley

Foster Adoption in Washington
18. Foster Adoption in Washington

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of adopting children through foster care. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about foster adoption in Washington.

Foster Adoption: Children Available for Foster Adoption in Washington
19. Foster Adoption: Children Available for Foster Adoption in Washington

There are currently around 2,167 children in the Washington foster care system.

Washington does not currently utilize the Adoption.com photolisting service. Click for a current listing of foster adoption agencies in Washington.

Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help
20. Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help

In the state of Washington, you can complete a foster adoption either through a private agency that is licensed to provide foster care services or directly through the Department of Social and Health Services.

To find adoption agencies in Washington and to read reviews, check out Adoption.com’s Washington page.

Becoming Part of the Foster Care System
21. Becoming Part of the Foster Care System

In Washington, a child can be placed with you for adoption before his/her biological parent’s rights have been terminated.

This is called a "legal risk" placement, meaning that is is possible that the child may return to live his/her birth family. However, these placements are not made unless the agency responsible for the child is actively pursuing the termination of his/her birth parents’ rights.

During a placement like this, you will be considered a foster parent and will need to meet all the requirements for foster parents in the state of Washington.

Not all foster-adoption placements are “legal risk” placements, however. Some children’s parents’ rights have been terminated, leaving them free and clear for adoption.

Post Adoption Contact Agreements
22. Post Adoption Contact Agreements

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that determines the amount of contact birth and adoptive families have after the adoption becomes final.

Contact agreements in Washington are only legally enforceable when entered upon through a court order. In order to be finalized the order must first be approved in writing by the hopeful adoptive parents, the birth parents (if their rights have not been terminated), and a state department or agency representative if the child is in their care. For more information on contact agreements in Washington click here.

Finalization
23. Finalization

In Washington the child must be placed with the hopeful adoptive parents for at least 6 months before the adoption can be finalized in court. Consent to the adoption is revocable by the consenting party any time before the consent is approved by the courts.

You should always consider speaking to an adoption attorney in order to finalized in the most efficient manner possible.

Adoption Assistance
24. Adoption Assistance

Financial aid is available for hopeful adoptive parents wishing to adopt a child with special needs. The amount you receive varies greatly depending upon your child’s specific needs and circumstances. Your child must meet one of the following criteria to be eligible for financial aid:

-Minority ethnic background
-6 years of age or older at the time of the adoption application for aid
-Sibling groups of 3 or more
-Sibling group where one or more meet criteria for special needs
-Diagnosed with physical, mental, cognitive, emotional, or developmental disability
-At risk for future disability due to history of abuse, neglect, genetics, or parental exposure to toxins

For more information on how much aid your child could qualify for and who to contact about the adoption subsidy program click here.

SOURCE: nacac.org

Foster Adoption: Adopting in Washington from Out-of-State
25. Foster Adoption: Adopting in Washington from Out-of-State

In adopting a child from foster care, there are opportunities to adopt a child from a different state. If this is the case, you will need to comply with the requirements of The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the
ICPC.

IMAGE: Jon Bilous

Foster Adoption: Traveling to Washington from Out-of-State
26. Foster Adoption: Traveling to Washington from Out-of-State

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in Washington. Hotels in Seattle average around $150 a night, while hotels in Spokane average around $60 a night. Always be sure to check multiple websites to be sure you get the lowest price possible.

Places to visit in Seattle:
-Space Needle
-Woodland Park Zoo
-Waterfront Park
-Museum of Flight
-Safeco Field

Places to visit in Spokane:
-Riverfront Park
-Spokane Convention Center
-Bing Crosby Theater
-Avista Stadium
-Centennial Trail State Park

IMAGE: Victoria Ditkovsky

International Adoption in Washington
27. International Adoption in Washington

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of international adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about international adoption in Washington.

International Adoption: Photolisting
28. International Adoption: Photolisting

There are millions of beautiful children across the world who are hoping to find a forever family.

Meet some of them through our Photolisting.

International Adoption: Get Professional Help
29. International Adoption: Get Professional Help

With international adoptions, your only choice is to complete your adoption through an agency. Because of the Universal Accreditation Act, all adoption agencies completing international adoptions are required to be credentialed according to federal standards. Make sure to check with any agency before working with them to ensure they have this accreditation in place!

In selecting an international adoption agency, there are Four Essential Criteria you should probably consider. Check out this directory to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in Hawaii.

In order to be approved to adopt internationally, you will need to complete an international adoption-specific home study.

International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements
30. International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements

You will also need to request a U.S. birth certificate for your child.

Consult your adoption attorney or adoption agency about other post-adoption requirements specific to international adoption.

Read more about Washington’s post-adoption requirements specific to international adoption here.

Stepparent Adoption in Washington
31. Stepparent Adoption in Washington

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of stepparent adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about stepparent adoption in Washington.

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights
32. Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding biological parent’s rights will first need to be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

You will need to consult with an adoption attorney about your desire to adopt. He/she can help you decide if it’s likely that the biological parent would be willing to relinquish rights or if it would be feasible to pursue involuntary termination of his/her parental rights.

Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning to Adopt
33. Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning to Adopt

Once parental rights have been terminated, you can file a petition to adopt with the courts. You and your spouse will both testify in court regarding the stability of your marital relationship, the bond you’ve developed with your stepchild, and your desire to become the legal parent of your stepchild.

You will generally not be required to complete a background check or home study as part of the stepparent adoption process.

Works Cited
35. Works Cited

Travel.state.gov

§ 26.33.080

§ 26.26.305

§ 9A.64.030(2)(f)

Skellengerbender.com

http://www.nacac.org/adoptionsubsidy/stateprofiles/washington.html

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Kenneth Knudson


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