Washington Adoption Laws and Policies

You have many adoption options, and this is the perfect place to begin exploring them. Below, you’ll find Washington adoption laws and policies and find adoption agencies and attorneys who work with families in Washington.

Washington Adoption Laws

Each state maintains its own adoption policies, so the process can vary considerably for families in different states. As a Washington resident, you’ll want to work with an adoption agency or adoption attorney who is very familiar with Washington adoption laws and policies. Below, you’ll find adoption agencies and adoption lawyers offering services to Washington families. Scroll past the listings to learn all about the legal guidelines for families adopting in Washington whether you’re adopting a newborn through domestic adoption, an infant or older child from U.S. foster care adoption, or a child through international adoption.


Who Can Adopt in Washington?

An individual who is 18 years or older, legally competent, and has completed an approved home study.

Can LGBT families adopt? Yes, same-sex couples can petition for joint adoption.

Domestic Adoption Laws in Washington

Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? Yes.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Yes, a child-placing agency, the state, or a government agency may act as a facilitator. The facilitator can only charge fees for coverage of the birthmother’s prenatal care and medical expenses in connection with the child’s birth and relevant attorney fees and court costs.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical, legal, counseling, living (rent, food, clothing, utilities, transportation). Lost wages possible but not in addition to general living expenses. No time statute, but in practice, about 2 months postpartum, longer in extraordinary circumstances.

Is there a putative father registry? No.

When can consent to adoption be granted? Any time before birth; can’t be approved until 48 hours after birth.

 When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? Upon court approval, which can take place 48 hours after birth, or consent signing, whichever is later.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Yes, but only if the agreement is in a written court order.

International Adoption Laws in Washington

Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Not addressed in state statutes.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Not addressed in state statutes.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The Dept. of Registration of Births will issue a birth certificate upon request and receipt of a certified copy of the adoption decree and proof of the child’s date and place of birth.

Adoption From Foster Care in Washington

Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, adoption subsidies are available to a special needs child, who is defined as having at least one of the following: 6 years or older, member of a minority ethnicity, member of a sibling group of 3 or more children being placed together, member of a sibling group with one special needs sibling being placed together, has a diagnosed or is at high-risk of developing a physical, mental, developmental, cognitive, or emotional disability. In addition, the child must be in or likely to be placed in foster care funded by the state. Subsidies begin at adoption finalization.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in Washington? http://www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/services/srvSum.asp

Washington Adoption Unit

Program Manager: Debbie Marker

1115 Washington Street, SE OB-2
Olympia, Washington 98504-5710
Phone: (360) 902-7968
Fax: (360) 902-7903
[email protected]


DISCLAIMER: The state laws and policies outlined above are offered to readers only for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the state laws were accurate at the time of compilation, but Adoptive Families cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent changes or revisions to the laws. Please do not rely on the information above without first consulting an adoption attorney licensed in your state. Updated in November 2014.

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