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Washington Adoption Laws

Making the decision to adopt a child significantly changes the lives of everyone involved. State law governs the adoption process ranging from the most basic of laws (including who can adopt and who is eligible to be adopted) to more complex areas of adoption law, such as when consent is needed in an adoption.

Overview of Washington Adoption Laws

While the relevant statutes that govern adoption are best interpreted with help from an attorney, it always helps to become acquainted with the law by reading a plain English summary. Read the chart below for a basic overview of Washington's adoption laws.


Washington Revised Code:

Who May Be Adopted/Who May Adopt

Any person, regardless of age or residence, may be adopted.

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.
Petition for Adoption


A prospective adoptive parent begins adoption proceedings by filing a petition for adoption with the court.


A petition for adoption contains the following information:

  • The name and address of the prospective parent;
  • The name, if any, gender, and place and date of birth, if known, of the adoptee;
  • A statement what the child is or is not an Indian child covered by the Indian Child Welfare Act; and
  • The name and address of the department or any agency, legal guardian, or person having custody of the child.
  • The written consent to adoption should be filed with the petition.
  • The prospective parent signs the petition under penalty of perjury; if they are married, the spouse must join in the petition.

Preplacement Report

If a preplacement report hasn't been previously filed with the court, then it must be filed with the petition for adoption.


Who Must Consent

For a valid adoption in Washington, the following entities must give consent:

  • 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.

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: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Washington Adoption Laws: Related Resources

Need Help with Washington Adoption Laws? Contact an Attorney

The adoption process in Washington can be lengthy and confusing. It's a good idea to get legal representation for help with preparing the required documents, filing the petition to adopt, and getting a court date to finalize the adoption. Consider contacting a Washington adoption attorney today to get started.

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