Ohio adoption laws


A married couple jointly with at least one adult spouse, a single adult or a married person without his/her spouse if legally separated, an unmarried minor if birthparent to the adopted child, a married adult without his/her spouse if the spouse is the adopted child’s birthparent or if the spouse’s reason for not jointly petitioning is excused by the court.

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? In some courts.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Yes, but only an agency or attorney may aid in placing a child, and an adoption attorney is only permitted to represent one party in adoption (either the adopting parent or the parent placing their child for adoption). Informal intermediaries are permitted in sharing the fact that a minor is or will be available for adoption with a pre-adoptive parent.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical, legal. Living and counseling in agency cases. Living expenses prohibited in private adoptions, but some courts permit. In interstate cases where Ohio is the sending state, rules of receiving state regarding birthparent expenses apply.

Is there a putative father registry? Yes.

When can consent to adoption be granted? 72 hours after birth as long as the Birth Parent Assessment has been completed prior to birth. If not, then 72 hours after the completion of the assessment.

When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? After surrender to agency. In private adoptions, after interlocutory order (usually at 30 days) or final decree issued. If fraud, duress, or misrepresentation, consent can be withdrawn at any time. Return not automatic; withdrawal of consent must be in child’s best interest.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? An open adoption is not enforceable.


Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? A foreign adoption decree will be recognized by the state if it was issued under due process of law and is approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Yes, if the adopting parents petition to the probate court in their county for a final decree of adoption and provide proof of foreign adoption finalization.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? Yes, the county court of the adopting parents will request a foreign birth record from the Dept. of Health upon receipt of a copy of the foreign adoption decree (translated if necessary).


Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, adoption subsidies are available for a special needs child as defined by at least one of the following: 6 years or older, member of a minority or ethnic group, member of a sibling group of 3 or more children being placed together or is joining already adopted siblings in the same adopting family if 3 or more children in sibling group, has a professionally diagnosed or is at high-risk of developing a developmental disability or mental illness, is in the custody of a public children services agency or private child-placing agency for more than 1 year, has experienced an incomplete adoption or disrupted foster care placement, is being adopted by foster care parents who have cared for the child for a consecutive year and whom the child has strong emotional ties as determined by a professional. In addition, the child must be in the custody of a public children services agency or a private child-placing agency, 18 years or younger (or between 18 and 21 if mentally or physically disabled), and placed in an adoptive home that is approved by a public children services agency, private child-placing agency, or a private non-custodial agency. The adopting family must also participate in a means test in order to prove that subsidies are necessary. Adoption subsidies begin at adoption placement.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in Ohio? http://jfs.ohio.gov/oapl/index.stm



Office of Children and Families
50 W. Town Street, Suite 400
Columbus, OH 43215
(866) 635-3748 (Option 2, Ext. 3)