Frequently Asked Questions - Adoption
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Who May Adopt?
  • A husband and wife jointly
  • A step-parent
  • A single adult

Who May be Adopted?
  • A minor child
  • An adult person determined to be totally and permanently disabled or mentally retarded
  • An adult may adopt another adult provided a parent-child relationship existed during the adoptee’s minority.

What are the Types of Adoptions?
Agency Adoptions:
When an agency licensed by the State of Ohio originates and handles the adoption process, Probate Court involvement is limited to the final stages of adoption. It is the agency who approves the placement, conducts the home study, and recommends the adoption to the Court. Adoption agencies have trained, professional staff and use legal counsel to insure that adoptions are legally, effectively, and efficiently handled.

Independent Adoptions:
In this instance, a licensed adoption agency is not involved. It is generally handled by a private attorney working directly with the Court. On occasion, the child may be related to persons seeking to adopt, such as a grandchild, niece, nephew, etc. Other times, there is no relationship between the child to be adopted and those adopting.

Step-Parent Adoptions:
The person seeking to adopt is either a step-father or step-mother. The parent whose right is being terminated must consent unless his or her consent is not required.

Interstate Adoptions:
When a child is born in one state and the adopting parents are residents of another state, both States’ Departments of Human Services must be involved through the Interstate Compact. The Probate Court will supervise these proceedings.

Foreign Adoptions:
If an Ohio family adopts a child born in another country, the adoption is considered a Foreign Adoption. Adoption may occur in the country of birth or in Ohio. All foreign adoptions must be processed through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Immigration and Naturalization).

Who Must Consent?
The parents of the child to be adopted, a minor being adopted who is over the age of 12 years, and an adult adoptee must consent to the adoption. However, under certain circumstances, consent may be waived. Therefore, questions concerning consent should be directed to an agency or attorney.

What are the Rights of an Unwed Father?
An unwed father, known as a putative father, may preserve his rights to consent to an adoption of a child born after January 1, 1997, by registering with the Ohio Department of Human Services, Putative Father Registry. Registration must occur either prior to birth or no later than thirty days after birth. As to the rights of a putative father prior to January 1, 1997, contact an agency or attorney.

The address/link for the Putative Father Registry is:

Ohio Putative Father Registry
30 E. Broad Street, Floor 31
Columbus, OH 43266-0423

Where Should I File for Adoption?
Since the Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction over Adoptions, you are required to file in the Probate Court of the County where any one of the following apply:
  • The agency having custody of the child is located.
  • The child was born.
  • The person or persons seeking to adopt reside.
  • The person seeking to adopt is stationed in military service.
  • In an independent placement: where the natural parent resides.

Is a Home Study Necessary?
Yes. Regardless of the type of adoption, a home study is required. An individual known as an assessor, who is qualified and trained for the task, will complete the home study.

Must I Have an Attorney?
The Miami County Probate Court personnel are prohibited by law to provide legal advice or to assist in filling out forms. Check with your local court to determine if an attorney is required.

Must I Appear in Court?
Yes. It is mandatory, whether adopting through an agency, or independently, that the person adopting and the child or children sought to be adopted appear before the Probate Court for the final hearing. In certain circumstances, there may be other appearances required. Any exceptions can only be granted by the Court for good cause shown.

Is the Birth Certificate Changed?
Yes. The original birth certificate will be sealed and a new birth certificate issued. The adopting parent or parents will be reflected on the birth certificate, just as though they had been the biological parents.

Adopted children born in Ohio or a foreign country, receive their new birth certificate from the Bureau of Vital Statistics.

The address/link of the Bureau of Vital Statistics is:

Bureau of Vital Statistics
Ohio Department of Health
35 E. Chestnut St., 6th Floor
P.O. Box 15098
Columbus, OH 43215-0098

Children adopted in Ohio, but born in other states, obtain their new birth certificates from the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the state where they were born. The address of the Vital Statistics Department for the child’s birth state will need to be provided to the court at the time of filing the petition for adoption.