How do I begin the process for a Non-Departmental Adoption?
The court or DHS can’t provide you with legal advice or with legal documents about an adoption. You should consult with an adoption attorney. If you need help locating an attorney in Oregon, you can visit the Oregon State Bar Association
website. DHS provides some supplemental forms that are filed with the court before the finalization of an adoption. The Non-Departmental Adoptions Program can assist you with questions about these DHS forms.
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.
Am I required to retain an attorney for a step-parent adoption?
No. The law does not require a petitioner to hire an adoption attorney but, it is highly recommended that you use legal assistance during the adoption process. Some of the challenges with completing an adoption on your own include:
- Ensuring that the documents and exhibits comply with recent revisions to Oregon’s adoption laws.
- Filing the correct documents with the court at the appropriate time.
- Any questions regarding paternity.
- Whether an adoption requires the consent of an absent parent.
- Contested adoptions can also arise and dealing with these situations can be time consuming and confusing.
Neither the court nor DHS can provide legal advice to a petitioner in these matters.
Does my adoption require a Home Study or placement report and what are the costs of each?
Unless waived by DHS, an approved home study must be completed for every adoption filed in an Oregon court. Oregon statute allows DHS the discretion to waive this requirement when (1) a biological or adoptive parent is retaining parental rights or (2) at least one petitioner qualifies as a ‘relative’ under DHS’s administrative rule. More information regarding the criteria for a home study waiver can be found under Oregon Administrative Rule 413-140-0032 (2).
A placement report must be waived when a biological or adoptive parent retains parental rights. DHS may issue a waiver of the placement report requirement for other categories of adoption as outlined in OAR 413-140-0032(3). When a placement report is required for an independent adoption, DHS will assign the placement report to an Oregon contracted adoption agency authorized to perform this work. View the approved format for a placement report.
- Adoption home study: The fee for an adoption home study is decided by and made payable to the licensed adoption agency that the petitioner has chosen to complete the study.
- Post-placement report: The post-placement report fee is $800 and made payable to the Oregon Department of Human Services at the time of filing.
What if I have a home study approved by an out-of-state adoption agency?
To validate an out-of-state home study for a private agency or independent adoption that will finalize in Oregon, the home study must be approved with a certificate of approval by an Oregon licensed adoption agency in agreement with DHS rules and regulations.
Am I required to serve DHS with a copy of my adoption petition?
Yes. Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 109.315 (5)(a) declares that a petitioner shall serve upon the Director of the Department of Human Services (DHS) copies of:
- The adoption petition
- Adoption Summary and Segregated Information Statement
- Any documents filed as exhibits, and
- Any amendments of these documents
Statute also requires this service to be completed within 30 days of filing with the court, via personal service, registered or certified mail with return receipt.
DO NOT E-MAIL A COPY OF YOUR PETITION TO DHS. These documents should be mailed to:
Department of Human Services
Attn: Independent Adoptions
500 Summer Street NE, Ste. E-71
Salem OR 97301
DHS must submit the correct waivers to the court before finalization. Once service is complete upon DHS and the petition and accompanying documents are reviewed, a waiver of the 90-day waiting period, adoption home study or placement report requirement may be issued.
What is the 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. Exceptions to this rule are first degree relatives (parent or sibling). If an ICPC violation is established, DHS informs the court in writing, which may impact the adoption process. For more information on whether ICPC may apply to your adoption, call 503-945-6630.
What is the 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.
Where can I get the forms required for an Adult Adoption?
The Non-Departmental Adoptions Program deals specifically with Oregon adoptions of minors. An attorney will be able to provide more information on how to complete an adult adoption. Notice of an adult adoption is not required for DHS.