What Are the Requirements for Adopting a Child in Oregon?

Happy young woman signing contract about adoption while talking to social worker with her family in background - requirements for adoption concept
All families and children in Oregon are unique — and many people choose to grow their families through adoption. When a child is adopted, it creates a legal parent-child relationship between the individual being adopted and their adoptive parent. Although adoption is a joyful occasion, it can also be a complex process and there can be a considerable amount of confusion surrounding the requirements. If you’re thinking about adopting, it’s essential to be familiar with the requirements for adopting a child in Oregon.

What are the Requirements for Adopting a Child in Oregon?

In Oregon, single people, married couples, or domestic partners can petition the court to adopt a child. Any petitioner who meets the qualifications to adopt a child will be considered, regardless of their ethnicity, race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, a petitioner must meet the following requirements for adopting a child:
  • Have room to house a child — It doesn’t matter whether you live in a house or an apartment, but you must have room to properly house a child and be able to provide them with personal space.
  • Have sufficient income to support a child — While there are no criteria regarding income, occupation, or level of education, an adoptive parent or family must be able to financially support a child.
  • Be physically able to care for a child — There is no law in Oregon that limits the age of an adoptive parent, but you must be physically able to provide for the child’s needs.
  • You must pass a criminal background check — Criminal history and child abuse/neglect registry checks are a required part of the adoption process for prospective adoptive parents and all adult members of their household.
In addition, Oregon law requires that either the adoptive parent, the consenting birth parent, or the individual being adopted must have been a resident of Oregon for six months or more before the adoption.

The Home Study Requirements for Adopting a Child

A prospective adoptive parent might be required to take part in a home study conducted by a licensed and DHS-approved agency. The purpose of the home study is to prepare a prospective family for welcoming the adopted child into their lives and make sure the prospective adoptive parents are able to provide a stable home. Although there is no specific format for a home study, it usually includes a series of interviews with social workers and a home visit. You might also be asked to provide financial documentation, medical information, and copies of a divorce decree if relevant. A home study may not be approved if information is false, has been omitted, or the prospective adoptive parent does not meet the adoption home standards — or failed to timely respond to requests for information. A petitioner would also be denied if the home study revealed any felony convictions for violent crimes, domestic violence, or crimes involving a child victim. Additionally, a conviction for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within the past five years could bar an individual from being able to adopt a child in Oregon. A home study must be completed within 12 months before the child’s placement. Sometimes, a post-placement study might also be conducted to assess the child’s safety and well-being. It can include an evaluation of the services and support available to the adoptive parent and a recommendation from a social worker regarding the finalization of the adoption. Home studies may be waived in cases involving stepparent adoptions.

Are Birth Parents Required to Consent to the Adoption?

The birth parent’s written consent is required in most circumstances - though in some cases of child abandonment that requirement may be waived. For birth parents whose consent is required, they must also be provided with written notice of their right to participate in adoption-related counseling sessions before the adoption is finalized. If there are no living parents, the child’s guardian must consent to the adoption. Consent is typically not needed in cases where a parent’s rights have been terminated because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Importantly, if the adoption involves a child aged 14 or older, they must also consent to the adoption.

Contact an Experienced Oregon Adoption Attorney

If you are considering expanding your family by adopting a child, it’s important to have the guidance of an experienced adoption attorney who can help you navigate the adoption process and advise you regarding what to expect. Based in Salem, Litowich Law provides reliable counsel and compassionate representation to prospective adoptive parents throughout Oregon. We welcome you to contact us for a consultation.
Categories: Adoption