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Adoption and Guardianship

Make a lifelong commitment to a child

Many children in Oregon need a permanent home. You can adopt a child from foster care or through a non-departmental adoption. Adoptive parents have permanent, legal parental rights and responsibilities. Guardianship is an alternative to adoption for relatives providing foster care.

Frequently asked questionsResourcesAdopt a child from foster careContact us

Our role in Oregon adoptions

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) oversees the adoption process for children in foster care and administers programs to help with adoption and guardianship expenses. We can also help people find their birth families. We contract with certain licensed, private adoption agencies to complete placement reports for private and independent adoptions. We also receive copies of all adoption petitions filed in Oregon courts and determine when home study or placement reports are waived, according to Oregon law.


 Help with expenses

There are programs that can help families pay for their child's medical care, special needs or legal fees related to adoption or guardianship.

 Non-departmental adoptions

Learn about non-departmental adoptions of children who are not in foster care in Oregon. This may include re-adoption, independent adoption (step-children, relative adoptions, etc.) private agency adoption and out-of-state public agency adoption.

 Adoption search

The Adoption Search and Registry program may be able to help you find your birth family or a person adopted in Oregon.


​A ​F​amily ​for Every Child​
Dedicated to finding loving, permanent families for every waiting foster child.

Boys and Girls Aid​
Committed to ensuring every child grows up with a family of their own.​

Northwest Adoption Exchange (NWAE)
Stories and photos of northwest children waiting for adoption.

Oregon Foster Parent Association
Provides support, advocacy and training for foster, adoptive and relative parents.​

Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center (ORPARC)
Serves families who adopt children in the custody of the state.​

National foster care adoption information.

International Adoption
Information from the U.S. State Department.

North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)
One of the most comprehensive resources on adoption.​

Frequently asked questions

​Families that adopt are as diverse as the children who need homes. Each has their own life experiences, education, income, occupations ​and lifestyles. The most important thing is to be ready to make a commitment to love and care for a child.

  • You can be single, married, or have a domestic partner
  • You can live in a house or apartment, but must have a room for the child
  • You can work inside or outside the home
  • You must be at least 21 years of age or older
  • You must make enough money to support your family
  • You must be able to physically care for a child
  • You must pass a child abuse and criminal background check
  • All people are considered regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation​

​It may take from four to six months for the training, homestudy (family assessment) and criminal history check to be completed. It could take up to a year or longer for a child to live with you depending on your personal circumstances and the child you want to adopt. Families that want a younger child usually wait longer than families open to older children, sibling groups, or children with disabilities.​

Children that need an adoptive home are like any other children. They come in all ages, shapes and sizes and have their own personalities, interests and potential. Many may need some extra support, sometimes due to abuse and neglect or sometimes due to the grief of losing their families.

Many children waiting for a home are:

  • Over the age of 5
  • Part of a sibling group that needs to live together
  • Part of a racial, ethnic, or cultural minority
  • In need of support for a physical, mental, developmental or emotional disability​

​If the adopted child has special needs that cost more than what the family can afford, they may qualify for the Adoption Assistance Program.

Yes, you can adopt a minor who is your ​family member. 

Get information about Private and Independent (Non-Departmental) adoptions​.​​

​You can adopt an adult. ODHS is not involved in those adoptions. An attorney can give you more information on how to complete an adult adoption. 

You can find an attorney through the Oregon State Bar Association

​There are three types of adoptions:

  • Foster care adoptions happen when a child in the foster care system cannot be safely returned home to their parents. Relatives or other people that are close to the child will be considered first. If no home is found, then the child can be adopted by another family that has been screened.
  • Private infant adoptions are done through private adoption agencies licensed by the state. These agencies work directly with parents that want to place their newborn baby with an adoptive family.
  • Independent adoptions are for children that are not in the foster care system. Many families that want to adopt their stepchildren, relatives, friends, or neighbors use this process. 

Get more information about Private and Independent (Non-Departmental) adoptions.

​Adoption is a commitment for life and a way to help children feel loved and safe as part of a family. Adoptive parents have permanent legal rights and responsibilities. This means they are responsible for these children as if they were their own biological children. 

These children also need parents who can:

  • Accept their sense of loss and need to heal
  • Share their sense of humor
  • Work with social workers, teachers, therapists and community partners​
  • ​Be willing to keep them connected to their birth family when appropriate
  • Support racial and cultural diversity

​For more information about the adoption process you can review our ​Step-by-Step Adoption Guide. You can also contact a local ODHS Child Welfare office or a Special Needs Adoption Coalition (SNAC) agency:

Adopting a child from foster care

If you are considering adopting a child in foster care and want more information or help starting the process, connect with a local ODHS Child Welfare office or Special Needs Adoption Coalition (SNAC) agency.

Child Welfare officesSNAC agencies  Step-by-step adoption guide

Children waiting for adoption

Sometimes children in foster care can't be safely returned home. In these cases, an adoption plan is possible. Adoption can help these children feel loved, safe and part of a family. Visit one of the websites below to see some of the children in Oregon who are waiting for adoption.

Northwest Adoption Exchange

Oregon Adoption Resource Exchange

If you are an ODHS worker, licensed private adoption agency or family with an approved home study, you can log in to the Oregon Adoption Resource Exchange to see all of Oregon's waiting children. You need to be preauthorized to use this website.


Adoptive Parent Information: Call 800-331-0503 or contact us online

Central Office Permanency Program: 500 Summer St NE, E71, Salem, OR 97301-1067