To adopt a child, there are certain forms you must fill out and file with the court. You can find instructions and all the forms you need to file an adoption case in this section.
Before filing anything, make sure you understand the basics of adoption by visiting the Overview of Adoption page.
The information here applies to private adoptions between family members only.
These forms should only be used if ALL of the following are true:
- The child to be adopted is related to you by blood or marriage (within 3 levels, usually stepparents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and aunts/uncles); AND
- If two people are adopting, those two people are married or registered domestic partners; AND
- The child to be adopted is not an American Indian; AND
- If the child is age 14 or older, the child will consent to the adoption; AND
- The parent to be "replaced" through the adoption will either sign a written consent or their parental rights have already been terminated by a court. If you need to have the parent's rights involuntarily terminated, you can learn about that process by clicking here.
If the above conditions are not met, you may need the assistance of a private adoption company and/or a private attorney. Do not use the forms on this page.
Step 1. Complete the Papers
To file for an adoption, you will need to file these forms:
- Civil Cover Sheet
- Petition for Adoption
- Consent to Adoption
- Ex Parte Application and Order to Waive Child Welfare Investigation & Affidavit of Fees - REQUIRED
Civil Cover Sheet
This form is REQUIRED. This form asks for basic information about you and the children. You are the Petitioner.
Petition for Adoption
This form is REQUIRED. This form tells the judge about the child to be adopted and the parents wishing to adopt. You can request a name change for the child if desired.
If a stepparent is adopting, the parent and the stepparent must both fill out the papers and sign them as co-petitioners.
If two people are petitioning to adopt, the petitioners must be married or registered domestic partners.
Consents (if applicable)
You may need consent forms depending on if the parent to be "replaced" will agree to the adoption and if the child to be adopted is an older child.
Parental Consent. This form is for the parent who will be giving up their rights. If the noncustodial parent you are "replacing" will agree to terminate their own rights and will agree to the adoption, that parent can sign this form to put their consent in writing. The form must be signed and notarized by the parent and 2 neutral witnesses. If the parent will not sign this form, you may need to file a separate case to terminate their rights first.
Child's Consent. If the child to be adopted is age 14 or older, the child will have to sign a written consent to the adoption. The child should fill out the following form in front of two neutral witnesses. The witnesses' signatures must be notarized.
Ex Parte Application and Order to Waive Child Welfare Investigation & Affidavit of Fees
These forms are REQUIRED. Usually, a home study is required before a family can adopt a child. The adoptive family also usually has to file an affidavit listing all of the fees paid toward the adoption.
If the adoptive parents are already related to the child (such as stepparents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc.), the court can waive these requirements. These forms ask the court to waive both requirements based on your relationship to the child. Fill out BOTH forms below:
Step 2. File the Papers
After you fill out the papers above, you will need to file them with the district court in your county. Visit Find My Court if you are not sure where your local district court is located.
The court will charge you a filing fee to file your papers. The fee is different in every county. Find out from your local court what the filing fee will be.
If you cannot afford the filing fee, please see Filing Fees and Waivers to find out how to ask the court to waive the fee.
Next Step: Provide Documents to the Judge and DFS
You will need to provide copies of some of your documents to the judge and also to the county's adoption agency. Find out how to do this on the next page.