The joy of adding a child to a family is undeniable. The bond is forever. But with that joy comes a serious set of responsibilities for the new parent or parents. That’s why the guidelines for adoption are stringent.
Because there are many avenues leading to adoption, it’s best to consult an attorney in Portland who routinely handles adoption. The attorney can help walk you through the various options and represent you throughout the process. The ways a child can be adopted in Oregon include:
Oregon Department of Human Services – when courts terminate parental rights or parents choose to give up those rights, children enter into the custody of DHS. Many times, this involves older children or children with special needs. Some subsidies from the state may be available to assist with caring for adopted children with special needs. Attorney fees and adoption costs are paid by the state.
Private adoption agency – Adoption agencies are licensed by DHS and must meet high ethical and professional standards. Paid adoption facilitators and adoption agencies that operate without a license are illegal in Oregon. Adoption agencies take legal custody of children from parents and have discretion over where to place those children.
Independent adoptions – A child is placed directly with adoptive parents by the birth parent in an independent adoption. This is best done with advance planning that includes working with an adoption agency or an attorney that specializes in adoptions.
International adoptions – Some countries allow United States citizens to adopt children from their country. Almost all international adoptions work through adoption agencies and must meet Oregon laws, U.S. immigration laws and the laws of the foreign country.
Step parent or second parent adoptions – This commonly takes place when parents are remarried, and one spouse adopts the other’s child. In Oregon, this can be done as an opposite sex couple or a same sex couple. Second parent adoptions can also be done when the couple is not married but are in a long-term relationship.
Consent to artificial insemination in the context of an unregistered domestic partnership - Recently in Oregon the Court of Appeals decided that in unregistered domestic partnership cases where there was no second parent adoption, a child’s birth certificate can be reissued designating both parties as the legal parents of their children. This is decided on a case-by-case basis. Some of the facts that would lead to an order to reissue a child ‘s birth certificate designating both the birth parent and a second parent include but are not limited to: the children were born during the parents’ relationship; the non-birth parent consented to and/or participated in the artificial insemination process; the parents participated in a commitment ceremony; the parents have taken the same last name; the parents considered themselves spouses and held themselves out as spouses; the parents shared child rearing responsibilities, commingled their finances and made financial decisions together; and most important, that it is in the best interest of the child that the non-birth parent be recognized as the child’s legal parent on that child’s birth certificate.