- 1 Adoption Laws
- 1.1 Consent to Adoption
- 1.2 Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents
- 1.3 Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
- 1.4 Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption
- 1.5 Infant Safe Haven Laws
- 1.6 Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses
- 1.7 The Rights of Unmarried Fathers
- 1.8 Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements
- 1.9 Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?
- 2 Post-Adoption Laws
- 3 Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption
Notice: The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.
Consent to Adoption
Who Must Consent to an Adoption Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7503-2.1
Written consent to adoption or a permanent relinquishment for adoption must be executed by:
- Both parents
- One parent alone if:
- The other parent is dead.
- The parental rights of the other parent have been terminated.
- The consent of the other parent is otherwise not required pursuant to § 7505-4.2.
- The legal guardian or the guardian ad litemof the minor if both parents are dead or if the rights of the parents have been terminated by judicial proceedings
- The executive head of a licensed child-placing agency if the minor has been permanently relinquished to such agency or the rights of both parents have been judicially terminated and custody of the minor has been legally vested in such agency
- Any person having legal custody of a minor by court order
A parent of a minor born in wedlock or a parent who is age 16 or older shall be deemed capable of giving consent to the adoption of a minor.
Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7503-2.1
If a minor to be adopted is age 12 or older, he or she must consent before a decree of adoption may be granted unless the court makes a finding that it is not in the best interests of the minor to require the minor’s consent. The consent of the minor must be given before the court in such form as the court shall direct.
When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-4.2
Consent to adoption is not required from a putative father who fails to prove he is the father of the child or, for a child placed for adoption within 14 months of birth, he fails to show he has exercised parental rights or duties toward the child.
Consent to adoption is not required from a parent who:
- For 12 consecutive months out of the last 14 months immediately before the filing of an adoption petition, willfully failed, refused, or neglected to contribute to the such child’s support or maintain a substantial and positive relationship with the child
- Waives in writing the right to notice of the hearing
- Fails to appear at the hearing if all notice requirements have been met
- Is entitled to custody of a minor and has abandoned the minor
- Has been convicted of physically or sexually abusing the minor or a sibling or failed to protect the minor or a sibling from physical or sexual abuse that resulted in severe harm or injury
- Has been convicted of having caused the death of a sibling of the minor as a result of the physical or sexual abuse or chronic neglect
- Has been sentenced to a period of incarceration of no less than 10 years and the continuation of parental rights would result in harm to the minor
- Has a mental illness or deficiency that renders the parent incapable of adequately and appropriately exercising parental rights, duties, and responsibilities
- Has permanently relinquished parental rights and responsibilities to the minor
- Has had his or her parental relationship to a minor legally terminated or legally determined not to exist
- Has voluntarily placed a minor child in the care of a licensed child care institution or child-placing agency if the minor has remained in out-of-home care for 18 months or more, and has willfully failed to substantially comply for 12 consecutive months out of the 14-month period immediately before the filing of the adoption petition with a reasonable written plan of care
When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, §§ 7503-2.2; 7503-2.3
Consent may be given as follows:
- The mother of a minor shall not execute a valid consent to the adoption of the minor or a permanent relinquishment of the minor prior to the birth of the minor.
- The father of a minor born in wedlock shall not execute a valid consent to the adoption of the minor or a permanent relinquishment of the minor prior to the birth of the minor.
- A putative father of a minor may execute a consent to the adoption of the minor, a permanent relinquishment of the minor, or an extrajudicial consent to the adoption of the minor before or after the birth of the minor.
- A guardian, guardian ad litem, or legal custodian of a child may execute a consent to the adoption of a minor or a permanent relinquishment at any time after being authorized by a court to do so.
- A child-placing agency that places a child for adoption may execute its consent at any time at or before the hearing on the petition for adoption.
- A minor age 12 or older whose consent is required may execute a consent to adoption at any time at or before the hearing on the petition for adoption.
How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, §§ 7503-2.4; 7503-2.6; 7503-2.1
A consent must state that the person executing the consent:
- Is voluntarily and unequivocally consenting to the adoption
- Understands that after the consent is executed, it is final and, except for fraud or duress, may not be revoked for any reason except as otherwise authorized by law
- Is represented by counsel or has waived any right to counsel
- Retains the duty to support the mother or the minor until the adoption is completed
- Has not received or been promised any money or anything of value for the consent except for payments authorized by law
- Indicates whether he or she is a member of an Indian Tribe and whether the minor is eligible for membership or is a member of an Indian Tribe
- Believes the adoption of the minor is in the minor’s best interests
A consent may be signed before any judge of a court having probate or adoption jurisdiction in this State or in the State of residence of the person executing the consent.
A putative father at least age 16 of a minor born out of wedlock who is not an Indian child may execute an extrajudicial consent before a notary public in which the putative father waives any legal interest in the minor, disclaims any legal rights with respect to the minor, and consents to the adoption of the minor. An extrajudicial consent may be executed by a putative father before or after the birth of the minor.
A man who is the legal husband of the mother of a minor who is not an Indian child may execute an extrajudicial consent before a notary public in which he waives any legal interest in the minor, disclaims any legal rights with respect to the minor, and consents to the adoption of the minor. An extrajudicial consent may be executed by the father only after the birth of the minor.
Consent of a minor parent under age 16 is deemed sufficient when given by a minor parent before a district court judge and accompanied by the written consent of the legal guardian or parents of the minor parent.
Revocation of Consent Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, §§ 7503-2.7; 7503-2.6
Except as otherwise provided below, a consent to adoption shall be irrevocable.
The court shall set aside a consent to adoption or vacate an order terminating parental rights based upon the execution of a permanent relinquishment only if it would be in the best interests of the minor and if the individual who executed the permanent relinquishment or consent establishes:
- By a preponderance of the evidence, that without good cause shown, a petition to adopt was not filed within 9 months after the minor was placed for adoption
- By a preponderance of the evidence, that another consent or permanent relinquishment was not executed or that a court decided not to terminate another individual’s parental relationship to the minor
- By clear and convincing evidence, before a decree of adoption is issued or within 3 months of the discovery of the fraud, whichever is later, that the consent was obtained by fraud or duress
An extrajudicial consent shall be revocable for any reason for 15 calendar days after the execution of the consent before the notary public.
Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents
Requirements for Foster Parents Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 404.1; Admin. Code § 340:110-3-85(C)
A fingerprint-based State and national criminal background check and a records search of the Child Care Restricted Registry are required for a prospective foster parent and any adult living in the home. A juvenile justice information system review is required for any child age 13 or older residing in a foster family home, other than the foster child, or who subsequently moves into the foster family home.
In regulation:Criminal history investigations must be obtained from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the appropriate agency in the previous State of residence if the individual has resided in Oklahoma less than 3 years.
The report must include a search of the sex offender registry and the child abuse registry. A confirmed or substantiated allegation of child abuse or neglect is considered when evaluating the qualifications of the applicant and the safety and well-being of the children in care.
Individuals who have pending charges or are convicted of or enter a plea of guilty or no contest to certain crimes cannot be licensed to care for children, live in a family child care home, provide care for children, be a substitute or assistant caregiver, or be on the premises when children are in care. Those crimes include:
- Violence against a person
- Child abuse or neglect
- Possession, sale, or distribution of illegal drugs
- Sexual misconduct
- Gross irresponsibility or disregard for the safety of others
- Animal cruelty
- A pattern of criminal activity
Requirements for Adoptive Parents Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-5.3; Admin. Code § 340:75-15-88
A background check shall be required for adoptive parents and all other household members age 18 and older, consisting of a review of a national fingerprint-based criminal background check, a search of the Department of Corrections’ files maintained pursuant to the Sex Offenders Registration Act, and a search of the Child Abuse and Neglect Information System. For each adoptive parent or other household member age 18 or older who has not maintained continuous residency in the State for 5 years prior to the home study, a child abuse registry check shall be required from every other State in which the prospective adoptive parent or other adult household member has resided during that time.
In regulation:Reasons for denial may include, but are not limited to:
- The applicant or any person residing in the home has a history of alleged or confirmed child abuse, neglect, or both.
- The applicant or any person residing in the home has a history of arrests or convictions.
An application will be automatically denied for a felony conviction for any of the following offenses:
- A crime involving violence including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but excluding physical assault or battery
- Child abuse or neglect
- A crime against a child, including, but not limited to, child pornography
A felony conviction for physical assault, domestic abuse, battery, or a drug-related offense within the previous 5 years period will result in denial of the application unless special approval is obtained from the court. The application is denied if the applicant has been convicted of a sex offense and subject to or married to or living with a person subject to the Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act.
Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-4-904
The court may terminate the rights of a parent to a child based upon the following legal grounds:
- The parent has abandoned the child.
- The child is an abandoned infant.
- The parent has voluntarily placed the child in out-of-home care, has not complied with the placement agreement, and has not demonstrated a firm intention to resume physical custody of the child.
- The parent has failed to correct the condition that led to the deprived adjudication of the child, and the parent has been given at least 3 months to correct the condition.
- The rights of the parent to another child have been terminated, and the conditions that led to the prior termination have not been corrected.
- A parent who does not have custody of the child has, for at least 6 out of the 12 immediately preceding months, willfully failed or refused to contribute to the support of the child as specified by court order or according to the financial ability of the parent to pay.
- The parent has been convicted of any of the following acts:
- Permitting a child to participate in pornography
- Rape or lewd molestation of a child under age 16
- Child abuse or neglect or enabling child abuse or neglect
- Causing the death of a child or a sibling of the child as a result of the physical or sexual abuse or chronic abuse or neglect
- Murder or voluntary manslaughter of any child or aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit murder of any child
- Felony assault resulting in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parents
- Murder or voluntary manslaughter of the child’s parent or aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit murder of the child’s parent
- The parent has abused or neglected the child or a sibling of the child or failed to protect the child or a sibling of the child from abuse or neglect that is heinous or shocking.
- The parent has previously abused or neglected the child or a sibling of the child or failed to protect the child or a sibling of the child from abuse or neglect.
- The child was conceived as a result of rape perpetrated by the parent whose rights are sought to be terminated.
- The parent is incarcerated, and the continuation of parental rights would result in harm to the child based on consideration of the following factors, among others:
- The duration of incarceration
- The parent’s history of criminal behavior, including crimes against children
- The age of the child and the current relationship between the parent and the child
- The parent has a diagnosed cognitive disorder, extreme physical incapacity, or a medical condition, including behavioral health, that renders the parent incapable of adequately and appropriately exercising parental duties and responsibilities within a reasonable time considering the age of the child.
- The condition that led to the deprived adjudication has been the subject of a previous deprived adjudication of this child or a sibling of this child, and the parent has been given an opportunity to correct the conditions that led to the determination of the initial deprived child.
Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-4-904
The incarceration of a parent shall not in and of itself be sufficient to deprive a parent of parental rights.
A finding that a parent has a diagnosed cognitive disorder, extreme physical incapacity, or a medical condition, including behavioral health or substance dependency, shall not in and of itself deprive the parent of parental rights.
Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-4-909
A child may request the court to reinstate the previously terminated parental rights of his or her parent under the following circumstances:
- The child was previously found to be a deprived child.
- The parent’s rights were terminated in a proceeding under Title 10A.
- The child has not achieved his or her permanency plan within 3 years of a final order of termination.
- The child is at least age 15 at the time the application is filed.
If, after a preliminary hearing to consider the parent’s apparent fitness and interest in reinstatement of parental rights, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the best interests of the child may be served by reinstatement of parental rights, the court shall order that a hearing on the merits of the motion be held.
The court shall conditionally grant the application if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child has not and is not likely to imminently achieve his or her permanency plan and that reinstatement of parental rights is in the child’s best interests. In determining whether reinstatement is in the child’s best interests, the court shall consider, but is not limited to, the following:
- Whether the parent whose rights are to be reinstated is a fit parent and has remedied the conditions as provided in the record of the prior termination proceedings and prior termination order
- The age and maturity of the child, and the ability of the child to express his or her preference
- Whether the reinstatement of parental rights will present a risk to the health, safety, or welfare of the child
- Other material changes in circumstances, if any, that may have occurred that warrant the granting of the application
Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption
Who Must Be Studied Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-5.3
The study must include the prospective adoptive parents and all other household members who are age 18 and older.
Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-5.4
Home studies must be conducted only by the following persons or agencies:
- The agency having custody or legal guardianship of the child
- The Department of Human Services
- A licensed child-placing agency
- A person designated by the court who does not have an interest in the outcome of the home study and who meets one of the following qualifications:
- A master’s degree in social work and 1 year of experience in children’s services
- A member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers and 1 year of experience in children’s services
- A master’s degree in a behavioral or social science and 2 years’ experience in children’s services
- A doctorate in a behavioral or social science and 1 year of experience in children’s services
- A member of the clergy with 2 years of experience in family counseling
Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7503-1.1; Admin. Code § 340:75-15-41.1
The following persons are eligible to adopt a child:
- A husband and wife jointly if both spouses are at least age 21
- Either the husband or wife if the other spouse is a parent or a relative of the child
- An unmarried person who is at least age 21
- A married person who is at least age 21 who is legally separated
In regulation: If a prospective placement provider meets the minimum age required by statute, the department may not use the age of an otherwise eligible individual as a reason for denial of placement.
Elements of a Home Study Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-5.3
A home study must include at a minimum the following:
- An appropriate inquiry to determine whether the proposed home is a suitable one for the child
- At least one individual interview with each parent, each school-age child, and any other household member; one joint interview; a home visit; and three written references
- Verification that the home is a healthy, safe environment in which to raise a child
- Verification of marital status, employment, income, access to medical care, and physical health and history
- A review of a criminal background check and a child abuse and neglect information system check that includes:
- A national fingerprint-based criminal background check, a search of the Department of Corrections’ sex offenders registry, and a search of the child abuse and neglect information system
- For each adoptive parent or other household member age 18 and older who has not maintained continuous residency in the State for 5 years prior to the home study or home study update, a child abuse registry check from every other State in which the person has resided during the 5-year period
Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-5.1; Admin. Code § 340:75-15-88
A prospective adoptive parent shall not be approved for placement of a child if the petitioners or any other person residing in the home of the petitioners has been convicted of any of the following felony offenses:
- Within the 5-year period preceding the date of the petition: physical assault, domestic abuse, battery, or a drug-related offense
- Child abuse or neglect
- A crime against a child, including child pornography
- A crime involving violence, including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault, or homicide
Under no circumstances shall a child be placed with an individual subject to the Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act or an individual who is married to or living with an individual subject to the Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act.
In regulation: Other reasons for denial may include:
- The applicant lacks a stable, adequate income.
- The home is inadequate to accommodate the addition of children or presents health or safety concerns.
- The age, health, or other condition of the applicant would impede his or her ability to provide care for a child on a permanent basis.
- Relationships in the household are unstable and unsatisfactory.
- The mental health of the applicant or other household member would impede the applicant’s ability to provide care for a child.
- References are guarded or have reservations in recommending the applicant.
When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-5.1
A person must have a favorable written preplacement home study before a child may be placed in his or her custody for purposes of adoption. A preplacement home study is favorable if it contains a finding that the person is suited to be an adoptive parent, either in general or for a particular child, and it is completed or brought current within 12 months of the placement of a child.
Postplacement Study Requirements Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-5.3
Prior to issuance of a final decree, the investigator shall observe the minor in the proposed adoptive home and report in writing to the court on any circumstances or conditions that may have a bearing on the granting of a final adoption decree.
Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, §§ 7505-5.1; 7505-5.2
A preplacement home study is not required if a parent or guardian places a minor directly with a relative of the child for purposes of adoption, or if the minor has been residing with a birth parent’s spouse for at least 1 year when the petition for adoption is filed, but a home study of the relative or stepparent is required during the pendency of a proceeding for adoption.
If a preplacement home study has not been done, upon the filing of a petition for adoption, the court shall order that a home study be made. If the child being adopted is the biological or adopted child of either of the petitioners or of the spouse of the petitioner, then the court may waive the requirement for a home study report if the court makes the following findings:
- Waiver of the home study requirement is in the best interests of the child.
- The parent of the child and the stepparent of the child who are petitioning for adoption have been married for at least 1 year with the child being adopted living in their home.
- The stepparent has no record of conviction of a felony or conviction or adjudication in juvenile court for child abuse or neglect or domestic violence, and there is no record of a protective order or orders issued against the stepparent.
In all other adoptions, including foster, relative, and stepparent adoptions, a home study and report shall be made.
Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 571
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.
The child shall not be sent into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.
Foster to Adopt Placements Citation: Admin. Code § 340:75-15-41.1
During any permanency hearing, if the court determines the child is to be placed for adoption and the child has resided with the foster parent for at least 1 year, the court considers the foster parent eligible to adopt and gives great weight to the foster parent in the adoption consideration unless there is an existing, loving, emotional bond with a relative of the child, by blood or marriage, who is willing, able, and eligible to adopt the child. The court must take into account the statutory factors to make the determination including, but not limited to, the age and preference of the child and the long-term best interests of the child.
Infant Safe Haven Laws
Infant’s Age Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-2-109
A child who is 7 days old or younger may be relinquished.
Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-2-109
The child may be relinquished by his or her parent.
Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-2-109
The following entities shall, without a court order, take possession of a child if the child is voluntarily delivered to the entity by the parent of the child and the parent did not express an intent to return for the child:
- A medical services provider, including a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner, a registered or practical nurse, and a nurse aide
- A child rescuer, including any employee or other designated person on duty at a police station, fire station, child protective services agency, hospital, or other medical facility
Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-2-109
Any entity to which a parent seeks to relinquish a child pursuant to the provisions of this section may:
- Request, but not demand, any information about the child, including relevant medical history, that the parent is willing to share
- Provide the parent with printed information relating to the parents’ rights, including both parents, with respect to reunification with the child and sources of counseling for the parents, if desired
Once a child has been relinquished, the entity receiving the child shall:
- Perform or provide for the performance of any act necessary to protect the physical health or safety of the child
- Notify the local office of the Department of Human Services that a child who is 7 days of age or younger has been relinquished, and that the entity has taken possession of the child
Immunity for the Provider Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-2-109
A medical services provider or child rescuer with responsibility for performing duties pursuant to this section shall be immune from any criminal liability that might otherwise result from the entity’s actions, if acting in good faith in receiving a relinquished child. In addition, such medical provider or child rescuer shall be immune from any civil liability that might otherwise result from merely receiving a relinquished child.
Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-2-109
A parent shall not be prosecuted for child abandonment or child neglect when the allegations of child abandonment or child neglect are based solely on the relinquishment of a child 7 days of age or younger to a medical services provider or a child rescuer.
The entity receiving the child shall respect the wish of the parent if the parent desires to remain anonymous.
Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-2-109
The Department of Human Services shall immediately check with law enforcement authorities to determine if a child has been reported missing and whether the missing child could be the relinquished child.
The department shall disseminate information about parents’ rights with regard to reunification with a child, including but not limited to information on how a parent can contact the appropriate entity regarding reunification and information on sources of counseling for relinquishing parents.
Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses
Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-3.2(B)
The following adoption-related costs and expenses may be deemed proper items for a person to pay in connection with an adoption:
- Reasonable attorney fees and court costs
- Reasonable medical expenses for the birth mother and minor to be adopted
- Reasonable adoption counseling expenses for birth parents
- Reasonable living expenses for housing, food, clothing, utilities, and other necessities of the birth mother
- Reasonable costs for travel or transportation of the birth mother or minor as needed for medical or adoption placement needs
All expenses approved by the court should be commensurate with other customary fees for similar services by persons of equivalent experience and training. Any services provided outside the State shall be allowed in an amount as if the services had been performed within the State of Oklahoma.
The provisions of this subsection shall apply to living and transportation expenses incurred after the birth mother of the minor contacts the child-placing agency or attorney for adoption services.
Any person desiring to pay living and transportation expenses on behalf of a birth parent is authorized to expend an initial amount not to exceed $500 without first obtaining court approval. The payment of any living or transportation expenses over $500 shall be approved in advance by the court.
Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-3.2(B)
The following payments are not allowed:
- Living expenses for the birth mother beyond 2 months after placement of the child
- Counseling for the birth parents beyond 6 months after placement of the child
- Payments deemed unreasonable by the court
The provisions of this subsection shall not prohibit a court from extending any time period or including any additional costs and expenses in connection with an adoption other than those specified in this subsection based on unusual circumstances or need.
Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 21, § 866
It is unlawful for any person or organization to accept or solicit any compensation, in money, property, or other thing of value, for services performed, rendered, or purported to be performed to facilitate or assist in the adoption of a minor child except by the Department of Human Services, a licensed child-placing agency, or an attorney authorized to practice law in Oklahoma. The provisions of this paragraph shall not prohibit an attorney licensed to practice law in another State or an out-of-State licensed child-placing agency from receiving compensation when working with an attorney licensed in this State who is, or when working with a child-placing agency licensed in this State in providing adoption services or other services necessary for placing a child for adoption.
Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 21, § 866
It is unlawful for any person to accept, solicit, offer, pay, or transfer any compensation, in money, property, or other thing of value, at any time, in connection with the acquisition or transfer of the legal or physical custody or adoption of a minor child except as ordered by the court or except as otherwise provided by Tit. 10, § 7505-3.2.
It is unlawful for a birth parent to solicit or receive any money or any other thing of value for expenses related to the placement of a child for adoption when he or she, at the time of the solicitation or receipt, had no intent to consent to eventual adoption.
It is unlawful for a woman to solicit or receive any money or any other thing of value for expenses related to the placement of a child for adoption when she knows she is not pregnant but who holds herself out to be pregnant and offers to place a child upon birth for adoption.
Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-3.2(B)
The following adoption-related costs and expenses are permitted:
- Reasonable fees of a licensed agency
- Reasonable expenses for a home study
- Reasonable expenses related to the adoption legally required by any governmental entity
Accounting of Expenses Required by Court Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-3.2(A)
An affidavit shall be attached to the petition or filed later, but prior to the final decree, that discloses to the court all costs expended or expected to be expended by the adoptive family.
No final decree of adoption shall be entered until the court is satisfied that all costs and expenses have been disclosed, are reasonable, and that the costs and expenses do not violate the provisions of the law.
The Rights of Unmarried Fathers
Legal Definition of Father Ann. Stat. tit. 10A § 1-1-105; tit. 10, § 7700-102
The term ‘putative father’ means an alleged father.
For purposes of the Uniform Parentage Act:
- An ‘acknowledged father’ is a man who has established a father-child relationship by signing an acknowledgment of paternity under Article 3 of the Uniform Parentage Act.
- An ‘adjudicated father’ is a man who has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to be the father of a child.
- An ‘alleged father’ is a man who alleges himself to be, or is alleged to be, the genetic father or a possible genetic father of a child, but whose paternity has not been determined. The term does not include a presumed father.
- A ‘presumed father’ is a man who is recognized as the father of a child until that status is rebutted or confirmed in a judicial proceeding.
Paternity Registry Ann. Stat. tit. 10, § 7506-1.1
The Department of Human Services shall establish a centralized paternity registry. The purpose of the registry is to:
- Protect the parental rights of a putative father who may wish to affirmatively assume responsibility for children he may have fathered
- Expedite adoptions of children whose biological fathers are unwilling to assume responsibility for their children by registering with the registry or otherwise acknowledging their children
The father or putative father of a child born out of wedlock may file:
- A notice of desire to receive notification of an adoption proceeding concerning the minor
- A notice of intent to claim paternity of the child
- An instrument acknowledging paternity of the child
- A waiver of interest
- Any other claim for acknowledging or denial of paternity authorized by law
Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Ann. Stat. tit. 63, § 1-311.3
Unless an adoption decree has been presented, and consent to adoption has been given as otherwise provided by law, upon the birth of a child to an unmarried woman, the person required to prepare and file a birth certificate shall:
- Provide information to the child’s mother and/or natural father and an acknowledgment of paternity on a form prescribed by the Department of Human Services
- Provide information, furnished by the Department of Human Services, to the mother and acknowledging father explaining:
- That the completed acknowledgment of paternity shall be filed with the State Department of Health, Division of Vital Records
- The benefits of having her child’s paternity established and of the availability of paternity establishment services, including a request for support enforcement services
- The implications of signing, including parental rights and responsibilities
- The time limitations to rescind and/or challenge the acknowledgment of paternity pursuant to the Uniform Parentage Act
- Provide the original acknowledgment of paternity to the State Department of Health, Division of Vital Records
Required Information Ann. Stat. tit. 10, § 7506-1.1
A putative father who registers shall provide to the department:
- The putative father’s:
- Address at which he may be served with notice of an adoption
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Tribal affiliation, if any
- The mother’s name, including all other names known to the putative father that the mother uses
- If the registration is based upon an adjudication by a court of this or any other State, the case number, court, date of order, judgment or decree, and a copy of the decree
- Any other relevant information that is known to the putative father
If a court determines that the registrant is not the father of the child, the court shall order that the department remove the registrant’s name from the registry.
Access to Information Ann. Stat. tit. 10, § 7506-1.1
The department, upon request, shall provide the names and addresses of persons listed with the registry to:
- Any court or authorized agency
- Such other persons deemed necessary to receive such information
The information shall not be divulged to any other person except upon order of a court for good cause shown.
Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements
Use of Advertisement Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 21, § 866(A)(1)(g)-(h)
The crime of trafficking in children includes:
- Advertising of services for compensation to assist with the placement of a child for adoption by any person or organization, except by the department or a licensed child-placing agency
- Advertisements for and solicitation of a woman who is pregnant to induce her to place her child upon birth for adoption, except by a licensed child-placing agency or an attorney
Nothing in this section shall prohibit an attorney from the advertisement of legal services related to the adoption of children. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a person from advertising to solicit a pregnant woman to consider adoptive placement with the person or to locate a child for an adoptive placement into the person’s own home, provided that such person has received a favorable preplacement home study recommendation in accordance with § 7505-5.1 of Title 10, and that no money or other thing of value is offered as an inducement to the adoption.
Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 21, § 866(A)(1)(a)-(c)
The crime of trafficking in children includes:
- The acceptance, solicitation, offer, payment, or transfer of any compensation, in money, property, or other thing of value, at any time, by any person in connection with the adoption of a minor child, except as ordered by the court or as provided by law
- The acceptance or solicitation of any compensation by any person or organization for services performed, rendered, or purported to be performed to facilitate or assist in the adoption of a minor child, except by the department, a licensed child-placing agency, or an attorney
- Bringing or causing to be brought into the State any child for the purpose of placing such child for adoption and thereafter refusing to comply upon request with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
The ICPC does not apply to the parent or guardian of the child nor to a person bringing the child into the State for adopting the child into such person’s own family.
Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?
Who May Adopt Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7503-1.1
The following persons may adopt:
- A husband and wife jointly if both are at least age 21
- Either the husband or wife if his or her spouse is a parent or relative of the child
- A married person who is legally separated and at least age 21
- An unmarried person who is at least age 21
Who May Be Adopted Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, §§ 7503-1.1; 7507-1.1
The following persons may be adopted:
- A child
- An adult with his or her consent or the consent of his or her guardian
Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, §§ 7503-2.1; 7501-1.3
The following persons may consent to the adoptive placement or permanently relinquish the child for adoption:
- The child’s parent(s)
- A legal guardian or guardian ad litem
- The Department of Human Services
- A licensed child-placing agency
Access to Adoption Records
Who May Access Information Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7508-1.3
The services of a confidential intermediary are available to:
- The adult adopted person
- The legal parent or guardian of the child of a deceased adopted person
- The adult descendant of a deceased adopted person
- The birth parent
- The adult birth sibling or grandparent of an adult adopted person
- The sibling of a deceased birth parent
Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7508-1.3
If the person who is the subject of the search is not willing to share identifying information, meet, or communicate with the person who initiated the search, the confidential intermediary shall attempt to obtain any nonidentifying medical or social history information that has been requested by the person who has initiated the search.
If nonidentifying medical or social history information was obtained, the administrator shall provide a copy of the nonidentifying information to the person who initiated the search.
Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, §§ 7508-1.2; 7508-1.3
The department shall establish a search program using the services of a confidential intermediary that may be used by eligible persons listed above to locate an adult birth relative with whom contact has been lost through adoption.
If a birth relative of an adopted person, other than a birth parent, applies to initiate a search or is the subject of a search, the administrator of the confidential intermediary search program shall ascertain from the State Registrar of Vital Statistics whether an affidavit of nondisclosure by a birth parent is on file. If such an affidavit is on file and has not been revoked, the search may not be initiated.
The intermediary will conduct a reasonable search for an individual being sought and make a discreet and confidential inquiry as to whether the individual consents to the release of identifying information or medical information or to meeting or communicating with the individual initiating the search. If the individual initiating the search and the individual being sought consent in writing to meet or to communicate with each other, the intermediary will act to facilitate any meeting or communication between them.
If the confidential intermediary is able to locate the subject of the search, he or she shall make a discreet and confidential inquiry as to whether the person who is the subject of the search will consent to share identifying information, communicate, or meet with the person who initiated the search. The inquiry shall be by personal and confidential contact, without disclosing the identifying information about the person who initiated the search.
If the person who is the subject of the search is willing to share identifying information, communicate, or meet with the person who initiated the search, the confidential intermediary shall obtain this consent in writing.
Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-6.6
For adoptions finalized after November 1, 1997, an uncertified copy of the original birth certificate is available to an adopted person, age 18 or older, upon written request under the following conditions:
- He or she presents proof of identity.
- There are no birth siblings under age 18 who are currently in an adoptive family and whose whereabouts are known.
- The birth parents have not filed affidavits of nondisclosure.
Original birth certificates are also available upon order of the court for good cause shown, pursuant to § 7505-1.1.
Where the Information Can Be Located
- Adoption Reunion Registry, Oklahoma Department of Human Services
- Confidential Intermediary Search Program, Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons
Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-6.5
After a final decree of adoption, the birth parents of the adopted child, unless they are the adoptive parent(s) or the spouse of an adoptive parent, shall be relieved of all parental responsibilities for said child and shall have no rights over the adopted child or to the property of the child by descent and distribution.
From the date of the final decree of adoption, the child shall be entitled to inherit real and personal property from and through the adoptive parent(s) in accordance with the statutes of descent and distribution. The adoptive parent(s) shall likewise be entitled to inherit real and personal property from and through the child.
Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 84, § 132
When any testator omits to provide in his or her will for any of his or her children, or for the issue of any deceased child, unless it appears that such omission was intentional, such child, or the issue of such child, must have the same share in the estate of the testator as if he had died intestate.
Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families
What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-1.5
If a child has resided with a birth relative before being adopted, the adoptive parents and that birth relative may enter into an agreement regarding communication with, visitation of, or contact between the child, adoptive parents, and the birth relative after or during pendency of the adoption proceedings.
Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement? Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-1.5
The adoptive parents and the birth relative may enter into the agreement.
For purposes of this section, ‘birth relative’ means a parent, stepparent, grandparent, great-grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, or aunt of the child. This relationship may be by blood or marriage.
For an Indian child, birth relative includes members of the extended family as defined by the laws or customs of the Indian child’s Tribe or, in the absence of laws or customs, shall be a person who is age 18 or older and who is the Indian child’s great-grandparent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, niece, nephew, first or second cousin, or stepparent, as provided in the Indian Child Welfare Act.
What is the role of the court in postadoption contact agreements? Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-1.5
The court shall not enter a proposed order unless the terms of the order have been approved in writing by the prospective adoptive parents and the birth relative who desires to be a party to the agreement.
The court shall not enter a proposed order unless the court finds that the communication, visitation, or contact between the child, the adoptive parents, and the birth relative as agreed upon and contained in the proposed order would be in the child’s best interests and poses no threat to the safety of the child or integrity of the adoptive placement.
Are agreements legally enforceable? Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-1.5
An agreement regarding communication with, visitation of, or contact between the child, adoptive parents, and a birth relative is not legally enforceable unless the terms of the agreement are contained in a written court order entered in accordance with this section.
An order must be sought and shall be filed in the adoption action.
Failure to comply with the terms of an agreed order regarding communication, visitation, or contact that has been entered by the court pursuant to this section shall not be grounds for:
- Setting aside an adoption decree
- Revocation of a written consent to an adoption after that consent has become irrevocable
- An action for citation of indirect contempt of court
The prevailing party may be awarded reasonable attorney fees and costs.
How may an agreement be terminated or modified? Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-1.5
An agreed order entered pursuant to the provisions of this section may be enforced or modified by filing a petition or motion with the court that includes a certified copy of the order granting the communication, contact, or visitation, but only if the petition or motion is accompanied by an affidavit with supporting documentation that the parties have mediated or attempted to mediate any dispute under the agreement or that the parties agree to a proposed modification.
The court shall not modify an agreed order pursuant to this section unless it finds that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child, and:
- The modification is agreed to by the adoptive parent and the birth relative.
- Exceptional circumstances have arisen since the agreed order was entered that justify modification of the order.
Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption
Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7502-1.4(A)
The courts of this State shall recognize a decree, judgment, or final order creating the relationship of parent and child by adoption, issued by a court or other governmental authority with appropriate jurisdiction in a foreign country or in another State or territory of the United States. The rights and obligations of the parties as to matters within the jurisdiction of this State shall be determined as though the decree, judgment, or final order were issued by a court of this State.
Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7502-1.4(D)-(E)
An adoptive parent of a minor adopted outside of the United States may petition to readopt the minor under Oklahoma law if one or both of the petitioners are citizens of Oklahoma and the minor is residing in Oklahoma at the time the petition for adoption is filed. A proceeding to adopt a minor born outside of the United States shall proceed pursuant to the Oklahoma Adoption Code with the following provisions:
- The court may grant a decree of adoption without requiring notice to the biological parent and without requiring the consent of the biological parent if the petitioner files with the petition for adoption:
- A copy of the termination of parental rights granted by a judicial, administrative, or executive body of the country of origin
- A document or documents from such a governmental body stating that:
- Any document in a foreign language shall be translated into English by the U.S. Department of State or by a translator who shall certify the accuracy of the translation, and a copy of the translation and certification shall be filed with the court along with a copy of the original documents.
- The court may waive the issuance of an interlocutory decree of adoption and the waiting period of 6 months provided in title 10, §§7505-6.1 and 7505-6.3, and grant a final decree of adoption if:
- The minor has been in the home of petitioner for at least 6 months prior to the filing of the petition for adoption.
- A postplacement report has been submitted to the court.
Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7502-1.4(B)
An adoptive parent of a minor adopted outside of the United States with a decree, judgment, or final order issued by a court or other governmental authority with appropriate jurisdiction in a foreign country may present the decree, judgment, or final order or present proof that the minor has U.S. citizenship to the court in combination with a petition for a name change. Upon presentation of a decree, judgment, or final order or if the minor presents proof of U.S. citizenship, the court shall order the State Registrar to prepare a supplementary certificate of birth for the child, as provided for in title 10, § 7505-6.6, unless good cause is shown why the certificate should not be issued.
Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/laws/domestic.cfm#sss