Adoption in Washington, D.C. [The Complete Guide]

Taking that first step of adoption in Washington, D.C. is often the hardest. But, this overview of the Washington, D.C., adoption process will make picking up the phone and requesting a consultation with Catelyn and Jennifer a little easier.

Here’s what you need to know about Washington, D.C. adoption, whether you hope to adopt a child, or you’re pregnant and need to place your baby for adoption in the District of Columbia:

The Washington, D.C. Adoption Process in 6 Steps

Your process of adoption in Washington, D.C. will be as unique as the people involved in that journey. However, there are 6 core steps to completing a Washington, D.C. adoption that birth and adoptive parents will typically experience:

Step 1: Choose adoption.

This may sound simple, and for some pregnant women and hopeful parents, it is a simple choice. For others, it requires more thought and reflection. Adoption isn’t the right path for everyone, but could it be right for you?

If you’re not sure, or if you’d like to learn a bit more about adoption in D.C., book your consultation now.

Step 2: Choose the type of adoption and your professional.

The type of Washington, D.C. adoption that the adoptive parents choose will determine what the rest of their adoption process is like, and will determine the type of adoption professional they’ll need to work with.

Adoptive parents must choose between:

From there, they’ll likely want to reach out to a corresponding professional who can help them complete that type of adoption in Washington, D.C. Similarly, pregnant women who need to find adoptive parents for their child may wish to reach out to an agency. We’re able to refer you to trusted professionals in the Washington, D.C. area upon request.

But, no matter what type of adoption you’re pursuing or whether you’re a birth or adoptive parent, you must always work with a licensed and experienced Washington, D.C. adoption attorney like us. D.C. adoption lawyers like Catelyn and Jennifer are responsible for completing the complicated legalities of adoption correctly. This is the most important thing you can do to protect everyone involved in your Washington, D.C. adoption process.

Step 3: Create your adoption plan.

Next, the prospective birth and adoptive parents will need to think about the kind of adoption they wish to have. Pregnant women will need to consider the type of adoptive parents they want for their child, how open they’d like their Washington, D.C. adoption to be in the future and more. Adoptive families will need to think about the types of adoption situations they’d be open to accepting.

No matter what your individual preferences are, we’ll be here to protect your rights and help you create an adoption plan that you feel comfortable and confident with.

Step 4: Find an adoption opportunity.

Finding that unique connection between prospective birth and adoptive families is a beautiful feeling. The path to that moment will look different, depending on the type of adoption (and the type of professional) you’re completing.

Prospective birth and adoptive parents who are pursuing private agency or independent adoption will view profiles and search for the right “match.” Meanwhile, adoptive parents who are pursuing international or public agency (foster care) adoption will receive a referral to a child who is waiting to be adopted through their agency.

Regardless of how you find your perfect Washington, D.C. adoption match, we’ll be there to guide you through the legal processes and to protect those involved.

Step 5: Complete placement.

This is a highly-anticipated moment for prospective birth and adoptive parents alike. The placement of a child into his or her permanent family is an emotional experience. Throughout this step, we’ll be there to ensure all the legalities are correctly taken care of, and to support you in this life-changing moment.

Step 6: Complete finalization and begin post-adoption life.

The final step in the legal process of adoption in Washington, D.C., is finalization. This marks the moment a child becomes an official, legal and permanent part of his or her new family. Thoroughness, expertise and attention to detail are incredibly important at every stage of the Washington, D.C., adoption process, but especially here. We have the experience and skill to guide you through finalization safely and smoothly.


3 of the Most Common Questions About Adopting a Child in Washington, D.C.

We know that learning how to adopt in Washington, D.C., can leave you with plenty of questions. Remember that we’re always here for guidance, legal assistance and to answer your questions. But for now, we’ll start with answering 3 common questions we hear from hopeful adoptive parents in the D.C. area:

“What are the requirements to adopt a child in Washington, D.C.?”

Although the type of adoption (and the adoption professional) you choose will have varying sets of requirements for hopeful parents, there are a few common Washington, D.C. adoption requirements you’ll likely have to meet:

  • You’ll need to complete a home study with a Washington, D.C.-licensed provider
  • You’ll undergo thorough screenings and background checks
  • You’ll need to meet some common requirements regarding your age, health and financial stability
  • And more

“Is it legal to advertise that you’re looking to adopt in Washington, D.C.?”

Yes. We’ll be able to help you navigate the Washington, D.C. adoption advertising laws so that you can find the right match in less time.

“How can we find an adoption opportunity in Washington, D.C.?”

Many adoptive parents will solicit the assistance of an adoption agency in Washington, D.C. for help finding a pregnant woman considering adoption. As Washington, D.C. adoption attorneys, we’re unable to match pregnant women and hopeful parents ourselves.  However, we can refer you to this type of professional if you’d like help finding the right adoption opportunity. Or, we can offer advice as to how to safely find an adoption opportunity on your own.


3 of the Most Common Questions About Placing a Baby for Adoption in Washington, D.C.

Pregnant women considering adoption for their child will also have a lot of questions on their minds! You may be feeling a little overwhelmed by all the information out there regarding the adoption process in Washington, D.C., and you may not be sure where to start.

Remember that you can request a consultation now, and Jennifer or Catelyn will speak with you about creating an adoption plan for your baby. In the meantime, we’ll start by answer a few of the most common questions we hear from pregnant women considering adoption in D.C.:

“What are the requirements to place a baby for adoption in Washington, D.C.?”

The only requirement is that you must place your baby through a licensed adoption professional, like us or a D.C. adoption agency. Contact us now if you need to get more information on placing your baby for adoption in Washington, D.C., and we’ll talk you through the rest.

“When and how can a birth parent consent to an adoption in Washington, D.C.?”

D.C. adoption laws state that in private domestic infant adoption, the placing parent’s consent must be acknowledged before an officer authorized to take acknowledgments, a representative of a child-placing agency, or the mayor. We’ll help you learn more about consenting to adoption in Washington, D.C., and talk you through the process if you’re ready to move forward.

“If I place my baby for adoption, will I have a say in anything?”

Today, birth parents control most of the adoption process in D.C., including but not limited to:

  • Choosing the adoptive parents for the baby
  • Deciding how much post-adoption openness they feel comfortable sharing
  • And much more!


Request your consultation now if you’re ready to take the first step in your Washington, D.C. adoption process, or if you’d like to start by getting some more information on adopting or placing a baby for adoption in D.C.

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax