Adoptions

Persons seeking to adopt a child may file an application with the court seeking to have the court declare the child to be the child of the applicant(s).

A single person or husband and wife jointly may adopt a minor child who was born to different biological parents. In rare instances, an adult may be adopted.

There are several types of adoptions heard by the court:

  • Step-Parent Adoptions

The person seeking to adopt is the step-parent of the child to be adopted.

  • Agency Adoptions

Parties may use the services of a licensed adoption agency. The birth parents either voluntarily surrender custody of the child to the agency, or the Juvenile Court may have terminated the parental rights of the birth parents.

  • Private Adoptions

A private adoption is effected when an attorney or a private adoption agency acts as an intermediary between the adopting parents and the birth parents.

  • Foreign Adoption

A child born in a foreign country and adopted by an Ohio family is referred to as a foreign adoption. Often the first adoption is established under the laws of the foreign country in which the child was born, with a second adoption proceeding in Ohio, after which an Ohio birth certificate is issued.

  • Adult Adoption

An adult adoption is used when an individual over 18 years wishes to be adopted and meets the criteria under Ohio law.

Court Assessor

The "court assessor" is an old fashioned term for investigator. In step-parent, agency, and private adoptions, the services of the adoption assessor are used to investigate the adopting family and prepare a report to be given to the court called a home study. This information helps the court determine whether the adopting family is suitable and in the best interest of the adoptee child.

Consent to Adoption

Generally, the legal parent or parents of the minor to be adopted must consent. If the child is over twelve years of age, the child must also consent.

Birth Certificate

The original birth certificate will be sealed and a new birth certificate is issued. The adopting parent or parents will be named on the new birth certificate just as though they had been the birth parents.

Stepparent Adoption

The stepparent must be married to the birth parent for 6 months before the adoption can be finalized. An attourney is required for this filing.

What I need to do for a Stepparent Adoption:

  • Petitioner must be a Wayne County resident.
  • If the biological parent is deceased, you must provide the Court with a certified copy of the death certificate.
  • If the father is not on the birth certificate and paternity has been established, you must provide the Court with a copy of the DNA results or paternity affidavit, or court order establishing paternity.
  • If the child was born on or after January 1, 1997, and paternity has never been established, you must provide the final results of the Putative Father Registry JFS 1695.
  • If you cannot obtain consent and you want to prove consent is not required, you must provide a current or last known address for the non-custodial parent listed on the Petition.
  • If the address for the non-custodial parent is unknown, you must file Form 18.2.1 and a motion and order for Publication.
  • A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate (long form/microfilm copy), obtained from the local health department, and must accompany the petition. This version of the birth certificate contains the doctor and hospital information.
  • A certified copy of the petitioner’s Marriage License Abstract/Application (from the Court that issued the license).
  • All parties, including the child, are required to attend the hearing.
  • An adoption assessor will be assigned by the court to preform a housestudy once all documents are received.

When Filing for a Stepparent Adoption:

  • All forms must be typed.
  • Use full birth names; no initials.
  • If there is no middle name, use (NMI) in the spaces provided.
  • Make sure all signatures are on all forms.

Filing Fee:

  • The filing fee is $675.
  • If you use a credit card, a 3% charge will be added.
  • Make checks payable to the “Wayne County Probate Court.”
Agency Adoption

Notice: The adopting parent(s) or Petitioners must be represented by an Attorney. You cannot complete an adoption without an attorney.

Requirements:

Representation by an Attorney or Ohio Agency is mandatory.
The child must be placed in the home of the petitioners for purposes of adoption for 6 months before the adoption will be finalized.
A Certified copy of the long form birth certificate of the adoptive child must contain the doctor and hospital’s name. This form of the birth certificate is available at your local health department. All parties, including the child, are required to attend the hearing.

When Filing for an Agency Adoption:

All forms must be typed.
Use full birth-names and no initials.
If there is no middle name or initial, use (NMI) in the spaces provided.
Submit all necessary paperwork at the time of filing.
Make sure all signatures are included on all forms.

Filing Fee:

The filing fee is $140.
If you use a credit card, a 3% charge will be added.
Make checks payable to the “Wayne County Probate Court.”

The following State forms/reports must be filed (agency provided):

  • Copy of Judgment Entry/Order terminating parental rights from Juvenile Court (PCSA)
  • Form 1673 – Adoption Homestudy, Form 1385 Updates (if applicable), and Post Placement Reports
  • Copy of Foster Care License (if applicable)
  • BCI/FBI final report
  • Form 1699 – Prefinalization Adoption Assessment (contains biological parents information)
  • Form JFS 1616 – Social and Medical History (signed and containing NON-IDENTIFYING information)
  • Indian Release Letter (if applicable)  Note: Federal law requires strict compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act
  • Form 1661 – Interstate Compact Placement Request 100-A (if applicable)
  • Putative Father Registry – Final results (PCPA)
  • Form 1666 – Permanent Surrender of Child (PCPA)
  • Form JFS 1693 – Ohio Adoption Laws and Materials (PCPA)

The following Probate forms below must be filed:

Private Adoption

Notice: Representation by an Attorney is mandatory for all parties, and birth parent(s) must be represented by a separate attorney.

An adoption agency or approved assessor must complete Form JFS 1616 – the Birth Parent Assessment, Social Medical History, Form 1673 – Home Study, Form 1699 – Prefinalization Report, and monthly Post Placement Reports.

Attorney for the Adopting Family must file/prepare the following to open the case where an adoptive placement needs to be made:

Form 19.4.2 – Application for Placement for Adoption by Adoptive Parent(s).
Notices of Appearance for both attorneys.
Form 19.4.6 – Filing of Home Study by Prospective Adoptive Parents.
Form 1673 – Home Study, with copy of BCI final report (FBI if applicable).
Form JFS 1693 – Ohio Laws and Adoption Materials (and case notes.)
Form 18.9 – Petitioner's Account
Form 19.4.3 – Affidavit of Birth Father and Birth Mother at Placement
Form 19.4.4 – Birth Mother's Acknowledgment of Rights to Contest Adoption Decree
Form 19.4.5 – Agreement to Pay Expenses

Attorney for the Adopting Family must file the following before the Final Hearing is set:

Form 18.0 – Petition for Adoption (filed within 90 days of placement).
Form 18.1 – Judgment Entry Setting Hearing and Ordering Notice.
Form 1673 – Homestudy, if not previously filed
Form JFS 1616 – Social Medical History (signed and containing non-identifying information).
Putative Father Registry – Final Results (if applicable).
Form 1699 – Prefinalization Assessment (and all monthly Post Placement Reports).
Form 18.9 – Petitioner’s Final Accounting (must include separate breakdown of expenses paid to the birth mother).
Form 18.7 – Final Order of Adoption.
Form HEA 2757 – Certificate of Adoption.
Certified copy of child’s birth certificate (must be long form).
Form 18.0.1 – Adoption Application, Marriage/Divorce Information
Form 18.0.2 – Custody Affidavit - Adoption
Form 18.0.3 – Affidavit Regarding Birth Father (if applicable)
Form 18.3.1 – Affidavit of Unknown Name/Residence of Father (if applicable)
Form 18.7.1 –  Ohio Department of Health Vital Statistics Certificate of Adoption
Form 18.7.2 –  Statement of Adopted Person
Form 18.3 – Consent to Adoption (if applicable for birth father)

If either parent is deceased, a certified copy of the death certificate must be filed.
If they are not willing to consent and consent can be proven not necessary, indicate on the petition and provide the last known address for each parent.

Note: The final hearing will be set after the child has been placed in the home for 6 months and all paperwork has been filed.

For the Birth Parent(s) Attorney:

Prepare these forms and deliver them, unsigned, to the Court the day before the relinquishment hearing. They are to be signed at the hearing. Note: The relinquishment hearing is held no earlier than 72 hours after the birth parent assessment.

Form 19.4.1 –  Application for Placement for Adoption Made by Birth Parent
Form 18.3 – Consent to Adoption.

Filing Fees:

Filing fee $675 for each child.
If you use a credit card, a 3% charge will be added.
The attorney fee for the birth parent(s) is the responsibility of the petitioners.

Foreign Adoption

RC 3107.18 permits the probate court to conduct adoption refinalization proceedings.   The parents of minor children whose adoptions have been finalized in the original country of residence of the children may petition the Probate Court for a refinalization of the foreign adoption.  The Court considers the petition and utilizes the Court's adoption assessor to make a home visit, interview the petitioners and if appropriate the children, and render a report to the Court.  Upon refinalization the adoptive parents receive an Ohio Adoption Decree and an Ohio Birth Certificate.

What I need:

You must hire an attorney or go through an Ohio adoption agency. This is a State of Ohio law.
For purposes of adoption, the child to be adopted must live in the home of the petitioner at least 6 months before the final hearing.
Bring the original and a copy of the Foreign Adoption Decree or the Certificate of Adoption, and the birth certificate. If these documents are in a language other than English, you must bring a certified translation. The Court will return the originals to you.
Bring the original and a copy of the passport, visa, and citizenship papers. The Court will review each document and return the originals to you.
You must provide copies of all home studies, post placement visits, and any other documents or notes related to the adoption.
Petitioner must submit proof that the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has approved the foreign certificate or adoption decree.

When Filing:

All forms must be typed.
Use full birth-names and no initials.
If there is no middle name or initial, use (NMI) in the spaces provided.
Make sure all signatures are included on all forms.

Filing Fee:    

The filing fee is $140.
If you use a credit card, a 3% charge will be added.
Make checks made payable to the “Wayne County Probate Court.”

Adult Adoption

RC 3107.02 states that a petition for the adoption of an adult may only be filed if:

  1. Adoptee is totally and permanently disabled;
  2. Adoptee is determined to be a developmentally disabled person;
  3. Adoptee established a child-foster caregiver, kinship caregiver, or child-stepparent relationship with the petitioner as a minor, and the adult consents to the adoption;
  4. Adoptee at the time of their eighteenth birthday was in the permanent custody of or in a planned permanent living arrangement with a public children services agency or a private child placing agency, and the adult consents to the adoption;
  5. Adoptee is the child of the spouse of the petitioner, and the adoptee consents to the adoption.
  6. The applicant must also be a Wayne County resident, or the person being adopted must be a Wayne County resident or born in Wayne County.

Information needed when filing an Adult Adoption:

All forms must be typed.
Use full names and no initials.
If there is no middle name or initial, use (NMI) in the spaces provided.
Bring to Court a certified copy of the adult adoptee’s birth certificate. It must be the long form which provides the name of the doctor and hospital.
Make sure all signatures are included on all forms.
All documents, forms and fees must be submitted at the time of filing.
You will be notified by mail of the final hearing date after all of the information is reviewed.
Petitioner, petitioner's spouse, and the adoptee are all required to attend the hearing.

Filing Fee:

The filing fee is $140.
If you use a credit card, a 3% charge will be added.

The information contained on this web site is not legal advice, nor should it substitute for the assistance of a qualified attorney. Good legal assistance can speed up the court process and prevent costly legal errors.

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