Washington Adoption Laws

State law governs the adoption process, including rules for who can adopt and who is eligible to be adopted.

Washington Adoption Laws

According to Washington's adoption laws, anyone may be adopted, but children 14 years and older must give consent prior to an adoption. The state does not require a period of home residency before an adoption is finalized, as do many other states. Let's explore these requirements in a bit more depth.

Who May Adopt

Before a state will allow an adoption, prospective parents must meet certain requirements. The following persons may initiate an adoption:

  • 18 years of age or older;
  • Legally competent; and
  • Has an approved family assessment.

Who May Be Adopted

Any person may be adopted regardless of their age or place of residence.

Who May Place a Child Up For Adoption

Only certain people or agencies may place a child up for adoption. This includes a parent or guardian, the Washington State Department of Health and Social Services, or a child placement agency.

Who Must Consent

In order to be adopted in the state of Washington, a number of people must give their consent. This includes:

  • The adoptee, if fourteen years of age or older;
  • The birth parent and any alleged father;
  • An agency or the department to whom the adoptee has been relinquished;
  • The legal guardian.

In some situations, the court will not need the parent's permission to allow an adoption. This includes when the parent's rights have been terminated by the court in the best interests of the child.

The main provisions of Washington adoption laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Adoption section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 26.33.140; No
Who May Be Adopted Any person
Age that Child's Consent Needed 14 years and older
Who May Adopt Any legally competent person, 18 years of age or over.
Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption? Not required
State Agency/Court Social & Health Services/Superior
Statute of Limitations to Challenge 1 year

Note: The adoption process in Washington can be lengthy and confusing. It is best to be represented by an attorney who can prepare the necessary documents to present to the court, files the petition to adopt, and get a court date to finalize the adoption. Consider contacting a Washington adoption attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Washington Adoption Laws: Related Resources

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