Adopt a Child in DC

The Process of Adopting a Child in Washington, DC

Adoptions Together has been working as a nonprofit licensed adoption agency in Washington, DC since 1996. During this time, our counselors have worked with hundreds of parents who are considering placing a child for adoption and helped over 1,000 District residents build their families through adoption. Learn more about how to adopt a child in Washington, DC below.

Overview of Washington, DC Adoption Law

In the DC, you can adopt a child either with the assistance of a licensed adoption agency or through a direct parental placement. Adoptions Together is a licensed, nonprofit, private child placement agency in District of Columbia, so we follow the law and procedures relating to adoption from a licensed adoption agency. A birth parent who wishes to place his or her child for adoption with the help of a licensed agency executes a relinquishment of parental rights and entrusts to the agency. The relinquishment terminates the birth parents’ parental rights and authorizes the agency to place the child for adoption. The relinquishment is filed with the Court. After the child has been placed with the adoptive parents for a minimum of 6 months, the adoptive parents may file a petition with the court to finalize the adoption and request that the agency give its consent to the adoption.

How long does a birth parent have to revoke a relinquishment?
A relinquishment may be revoked within 14 days of its execution.

Do both parents have to sign a relinquishment? What happens if one cannot be located?
If a birth parent cannot be located, the court may permit the adoption to proceed without the relinquishment of the missing parent.

What adoption expenses can adoptive parents expect or be required to pay in the District of Columbia?

Usual or customary fees can be paid for the following expenses incurred in connection with the pregnancy, delivery and adoption:

  • Medical expenses and insurance premiums
  • Counseling for the birth mother and the birth father
  • Fees for legal services
  • Child placement agency charges for services rendered

Are Open Adoption Agreements enforceable in court?
Often, birth parents and adoptive parents enter into written agreements regarding contact with each other that will occur after an adoption is finalized. Open adoption agreements are legally enforceable in the District of Columbia, although a final adoption cannot be set aside because of a breached post-adoption contact agreement.

Where can I learn more about adoption law in the District of Columbia?
Adoption can be a complicated legal process that varies with every unique situation. It is impossible to provide enough information to cover every question through a website. You should consult an experienced adoption attorney with specific questions.