Kentucky adoption laws


Any adult who has lived in Kentucky for at least twelve months may adopt. A husband and wife must adopt jointly unless the adopting parent is the spouse of the biological parent of the child.

Can LGBT families adopt? Same-sex couples face legal restrictions when petitioning for second-parent adoption.


Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? No.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? No.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Yes, but only the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, a child-placing agency, or an adoption attorney may be used as an adoption facilitator.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical, legal, counseling. No law regarding expenses, but affidavit for expenses must be submitted to court. Expenses paid are subject to court approval and modification. If there is no court proceeding, all expenses must be reported to the state offices or ICPC.

Is there a putative father registry? No.

When can consent to adoption be granted? 72 hours after birth.

When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? 20 days after signing, or state/interstate approval, whichever is later. Return is not automatic. If Birthfather forces revocation, return is to birthmother.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Not addressed in state statutes.


Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Yes, the Commonwealth of Kentucky recognizes a foreign adoption decree that is issued under due process of law for a child that has been approved for U.S. citizenship.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Yes, readoption in the Commonwealth of Kentucky is mandatory.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The State Registrar will issue a certificate of foreign birth for an adoptee if there is no birth record from the child’s foreign country of birth.


Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, subsidies are available for a special needs child, who is defined as having at least one of the following: 2 years or older if African American, 7 years or older if the state determines that child should remain with foster family, member of a sibling group of 2 or more being placed together, has or is at high risk of developing a physical, mental, or emotional condition, history of adoption disruption. In addition, the child must be in the custody of the state, and the Dept. of Community Based Services must prove that efforts were made to place the child without subsidies.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in Kentucky?

Cabinet for Families and Children
275 East Main Street, 3CE
Frankfort, KY 40621
(502) 564-2147