Independent (private) adoptions in Oregon
In Oregon, independent adoptions are defined as those adoptions that do not involve children who are wards of the state. They are also known as private adoptions. Private, independent adoptions in Oregon are categorized as:
- Non-related (independent)
- Re-adoptions (International)
- Second parent
For more information on these categories, refer to Independent Adoptions Fact Sheet.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) has oversight authority over all adoptions of minor children, including private adoptions filed in the state. An adoption petition, as well as the required supporting documentation, is filed with the court of jurisdiction. DHS must be served a copy of the petition within 30 days of filing, and sent to this address, certified mail:
Department of Human Services
500 Summer Street NE, E71
Salem, OR 97301-1066
Attention: Independent adoptions
Before a private adoption petition can be finalized, DHS must issue a waiver of the 90-day waiting period and a waiver of the home study, and/or Notice to the court -- whichever is applicable. The court cannot (or should not) finalize an adoption without the necessary waiver from DHS in accordance with ORS 109.309. DHS issues the waiver/Notice to the Court only when all the requirements for each adoption category have been met. Processing time for agency and independent (non-related) adoptions is about 30 days; other adoption categories take about 45-60 days, from receipt of the petition -- if the paperwork is complete. DHS receives approximately 120 private adoption petitions every month. The court has six months to act on the petition per ORS 109.307(1).
Adult adoptions do not fall under the jurisdiction of DHS. Individuals who want to file an adult adoption petition are encouraged to get an adoption attorney to assist them in processing their adoption. The petition is filed with the court of jurisdiction. DHS is not served a copy of the petition and DHS does not issue a 90-day waiting period waiver/waiver of the home study.
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
If a child has to be moved interstate for the purpose of adoption, Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) rules may apply. Approvals must be given by both sending and receiving states before a child can be moved from one state to another. Exception to this rule are first degree relatives. If ICPC violation is established, DHS informs the court in writing, which may impact the adoption process. For more information call ICPC at (503) 945-5671.
Indian Child Welfare act
If the child has Indian (Native American) heritage, compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act
is required. This may mean contacting the particular federally recognized Native American tribe(s) and submitting relevant documentation before the adoption can be granted.
Voluntary adoption registry
Print the Voluntary Adoption Registry home page to comply with the notification requirement per ORS 109.353. View sample format (PDF) to complete proof of verification.
Or, see sample below:
A SAMPLE FORMAT TO USE FOR COMPLIANCE WITH ORS 109.353 (Please do not file this sample with the court; re-type it accordingly.)
In The Matter of the Adoption of:
(Full Name of Child)
Court Case Number:
This statement is to verify, pursuant to ORS 109.353, the following persons have been advised of the adoption registry established under ORS 109.450 and have been given information on how to access those services.
Name of petitioner(s):
Name of birth parent(s):
(When birth parents cannot be located, the petition or affidavit should state the court is requested to waive this requirement upon a finding of good cause.)
Signature and title of person submitting verification and date.
Home studies & court reports
A home study and a court report are required for Agency and Independent (non-related) adoptions. Additionally, these reports may also be required for other categories of private adoption, depending on the circumstances of the case and in accordance with ORS 109. View the list of licensed adoption agencies contracted by DHS to conduct home studies and post-placement reports for independent (non-related) adoptions. DHS requires standards for completing these reports. View the prescribed format for the home study and the court (post-placement) reports.
For more information on the basics of home studies view the following:
Out of State home studies
To validate an out-of-state home study for a private adoption that will be finalized in Oregon, the home study must be approved by an Oregon contracted adoption agency (see list of licensed adoption agencies contracted by DHS to conduct home studies and post-placement reports) in accordance with departmental rules and regulations. The contracted agency issues a Certificate of Approval.
Home study & post placement report fees
The fee for an independent (private) home study may not exceed $1,500 (OAR 413.140.0035). This fee is paid directly to the contracted adoption agency. The post-placement report (or “court report”) fee is $675 made payable to DHS at the time of filing.
Under special circumstances, fees may be waived or reduced (refer to OAR 413-140-0045). For information and the required form, go to this link: Independent Adoptions Fee Waiver.
Adoption Advertising and Intermediaries also known as Facilitators
The state of Oregon limits or regulates the use of adoption advertising or intermediaries, also known as adoption facilitators under the following statutes: ORS 109.311(3) & (4); ORS 418.300; ORS 418.215, and ORS 163.537. For instance, ORS 109.311(3) states that, "A person may not charge, accept or pay or offer to charge, accept or pay a fee for locating a minor child for adoption or for locating another person to adopt a minor child, except that Oregon licensed adoption agencies licensed under ORS 412.001 to 412.161 and 412.991 and ORS Chapter 418 may charge reasonable fees for services provided by them." For more information on this subject, view Advertising and Use of Intermediaries or facilitators in Adoptive Placement
For more information about independent adoption, please call 503-945-5670, or send e-mail to Tina.J.Spencer@state.or.us
Note: The information found on this website is not intended to give legal advice. Consult an attorney for legal advice or refer to pertinent Oregon administrative rules, regulations, and statutes.
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