Adopting a Child in WA State

Adoption, at heart, is creating a family.  Through a special process, adoptive parent(s) assume legal parental responsibilities of a child.  Once a Decree of Adoption enters, the adoptive parents have a child just as if the child was born to them.  A new birth certificate is even created recognizing the adoptive parents as the child’s biological parents (in most cases). The rights and rules regarding adoption are laid out in the Revised Code of Washington Chapter 26.33.  Becoming a parent is an important decision and choosing to adopt has lifelong impacts on children, their birth and adoptive parents, and extended families.  An adoption attorney can educate you on the ripple effects of adoption and guide you through the process.

Common Types of Adoption

There are many types of adoptions, including independent infant adoptions, international adoptions, foster care adoptions, stepparent adoptions, the adoption of a relative such as a grandchild and even adult adoptions.

Two common types of adoption are:

  • Step-parent adoption – By far, the most common type of adoption occurs when a stepparent adopts the child from his or her partner’s previous relationship. The non-custodial parent will have to terminate his or her parental rights to allow the stepparent to adopt the child.
  • Second-parent adoption – This is different kind of adoption specifically for same-sex parents. In a second-parent adoption, a partner can adopt his or her same-sex partner’s child.

Easy vs. Difficult Step-Parent Adoptions

A step-parent adoption can be a relatively straightforward process when the other parent willingly signs the necessary paperwork to relinquish his or her rights. This enables the whole process to move along much more smoothly and quickly.  An investigation by a guardian ad litem or social worker will still need to happen prior to requesting court approval of the adoption, but again, with the former parent’s consent, it is a far easier process.

If, on the other hand, the other parent does not willingly relinquish his or her parental rights, the process of adoption can become more complicated if the other parent’s rights must be terminated over his or her objection.

Help in Navigating the Legal Process

If you are considering an adoption, we can help.  Whether you are hoping to adopt as a step-parent or through other means like infant or foster-care adoption, it is important to understand all your rights and responsibilities, how the process is conducted, what you need to do to be prepared and what you can expect each step of the way.

Your attorney will:

  • help you work on an adoption plan that suits your family’s needs;
  • draw up the necessary paperwork and file with the proper agencies;
  • help you understand and prepare for the state-required post-placement study;
  • offer counsel and options should speed bumps occur; and
  • represent your family’s best interests throughout the proceedings.

Get Started with Your Adoption

To begin exploring your options and work on an adoption plan for your family, we invite you to call our family law team at Deno Millikan. We can assist in all types of adoption cases in Everett, greater Snohomish County, and the surrounding areas.

Contact our office for an initial appointment so we can help your family get started on the journey today.