Surrogacy and Adoption Laws in Washington, D.C.



If you are considering adoption in Washington, D.C., either as a hopeful adoptive parent or expectant mother, you will need an experienced adoption attorney who can provide the information and support you need to feel comfortable with the legal adoption process.

Peter Wiernicki strives to ensure each of his clients understands D.C. adoption laws and legal procedures. Read on to find answers to your questions about adoption laws in the District of Columbia.

Laws to Adopt a Child in Washington, D.C.

Hopeful adoptive parents in the District of Columbia must comply with local adoption laws through each step of the process. From determining your eligibility to adopt through the finalization of your adoption in court, Peter Wiernicki can provide the legal expertise you need to safely and legally reach your adoption goals.

Here, find some information about the laws impacting adoptive parents in Washington, D.C.

What are the legal requirements to adopt a child in Washington, D.C.?

Any person may be eligible to adopt in Washington, D.C. Married couples must adopt jointly, except in stepparent adoptions.

What are the legal requirements to become a foster parent in Washington, D.C.?

In Washington, D.C., prospective foster parents must be at least 21 years old and have sufficient financial resources to meet their family’s needs and adequately care for a child. A minimum of 30 hours of training is required for every adoptive or foster family.

What are the legal requirements to finalize an international adoption in Washington, D.C.?

Following the international adoption process, you may need to legally finalize or complete an international re-adoption in Washington, D.C., depending on the type of adoption visa your child received.

While re-adoption is not always legally required, it is strongly encouraged for every family who has completed an international adoption. Re-adoption is a simple paperwork process that ensures your family is legally protected. Please read the following or contact Peter to learn whether a re-adoption is necessary in your circumstances.

What adoption expenses are adoptive parents responsible for in Washington, D.C.?

Adoptive families may pay the actual costs of the living expenses of the birth mother, including her food, shelter, clothing, counseling, medical and transportation costs.

How does the adoption home study work in Washington, D.C.?

In the District of Columbia, the adoption home study assesses the applicant(s) and all members of their household. The home study must be completed by a licensed professional before a child can be placed in the home.

At minimum, the D.C. home study includes:

  • Joint and individual in-person interviews
  • Clearance with the child abuse and neglect registry and record of criminal convictions
  • Medical reports for each member of the family completed within six months of the study
  • Educational background information
  • Financial information
  • At least three character references
  • Interests, hobbies and use of leisure time
  • Religious beliefs
  • A description of the home
  • A childcare plan if the parents work outside the home

The home study will not be approved if any individual in the home has been convicted of any of the following felonies:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • An intrafamily offense
  • A crime against children, including child pornography
  • A crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault or homicide
  • Physical assault or battery (within the past five years)
  • A drug-related offense (within the past five years)

The Washington, D.C. home study is valid for 12 months. If a child has not been placed in the home in that time frame, a prospective adoptive home will be re-evaluated. To learn more about home study requirements or to find a home study professional near you, visit

Laws to Place a Child for Adoption in Washington, D.C.

As an expectant mother considering your pregnancy options, you may be curious about adoption laws in Washington, D.C. If you choose to make an adoption plan for your baby, Peter Wiernicki will provide the legal services, advice and support you need to safely and legally complete the process.

Here, learn more about birth parent rights and consent procedures in Washington, D.C. adoptions.

Who is required to consent to the adoption in Washington, D.C.?

In Washington, D.C., adoptions, consent is required of:

  • Any living parent of the child
  • The court-appointed guardian of the child
  • A licensed child-placing agency or the Mayor, if parental rights have been terminated

Consent is not required of a parent who cannot be located or who has abandoned the child and failed to contribute to his or her support for at least six months prior to filing the adoption petition. The court may grant an adoption petition without parental consent when the court finds, after a hearing, that the consent is being withheld contrary to the best interests of the child.

How long do the birth parents have to change their mind about the adoption?

Birth parents may change their mind and revoke consent within 14 calendar days of execution.

Does the birth father have to be involved in the adoption plan?

An unmarried birth father who wishes to be involved in the adoption process should legally establish his parental rights to the child. To establish paternity, he and the child’s birth mother may sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, which creates a conclusive presumption of paternity without requiring further proceedings. Paternity may also be established by a genetic test that affirms at least a 99 percent probability that the putative father is the natural father of the child.

Birth father rights and responsibilities can vary significantly on a case-by-case basis. Contact Peter to learn more about the rights and role of the child’s birth father in your circumstances.

Surrogacy Laws in Washington, D.C.

Surrogacy is currently prohibited in Washington, D.C., and Peter Wiernicki cannot provide surrogacy services to D.C. clients at this time.

However, surrogacy and adoption laws are complex and continually evolving. It is important to work with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who is familiar and up-to-date with these areas of law in the Washington metropolitan area.

Whether you are pursuing adoption as a hopeful adoptive family or prospective birth mother, Peter will work closely with you through each step of the process to ensure all aspects of your adoption are handled legally. To learn more about Peter’s services or adoption laws in Washington, D.C., contact him today to schedule a free consultation.