A child deserves to have a permanent home with parents who love and provide financial and emotional support necessary for a healthy childhood. When the biological parents cannot provide such support, adoption provides the child with the ability to have a safe and permanent home. In Ohio, adoption laws provide that any unmarried adult, unmarried minor parent of an adoptee, or married couple may adopt, unless the couple is legally separated.
Adoptions can be through an agency, such as a county Children’s Services, who has obtained permanent custody of the child. Agency involvement, however, is not necessary for an adoption. Individuals may directly petition the Court for adoption of a child. Adoptions can be with the consent of the parents of the child, such is often the case in grandparent adoptions or children born to parents who realize that they cannot care for the child.
In certain circumstances a child can be adopted even without the consent of the parents. One example is when a parent has not provided for the child or has only had minimal or no contact with the child for more than a year. Another example is when the biological parent’s parental rights have been terminated by a Juvenile Court.
Even when consent is not required, notice must be given to the parents, including a putative father. If a father is unknown, a search must be made of the State’s putative father’s registry to determine whether someone has registered as the father in case of children born outside of marriage. Service of notice can be a difficult issue in an adoption case, but in cases where the parties have made diligent efforts to find and serve the parties but have not been able to do so, service by publication can be utilized.
Ohio law also states that if the child to be adopted is 12-years-old or older, he or she must consent to the adoption.
During the adoption process background checks and home inspections will be performed.
Adoption is permanent. The adopting parent shall be considered as the biological parent of the child and new birth certificates will be issued. The adopting parent will be responsible for the child until the child becomes an adult or is otherwise emancipated. For example, if a step parent adopts the child of his/her spouse then the step parent becomes the parent of the child. In the event of a subsequent divorce, the step parent will have the same rights (and financial responsibility, such as child support) as the biological parent.
For individuals who are interested, please take the time to review those sections of the Ohio Revised Code dealing with adoption.