Private Adoption

What Is A Private Adoption?

In a private adoption (also known as an independent adoption), prospective adoptive couples are matched with a birth mother. Adoption and Guardianship Services offers a matching service that matches prospective parents with a birth mother.  The prospective parents may also find a birth mother independently and then retain this office to facilitate the adoption. The birth mother ordinarily meets with the prospective adoptive parents and a relationship is established. The focus of the initial meeting is to explore the role the prospective parents will play during the birth mother’s pregnancy.  

How Are Parental Rights Terminated In Washington?

Birth Mother

  • Consent:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In Washington, the attorney prepares a consent for the birth mother prior to the child's birth. The birth mother may revoke her consent any time prior to the relinquishment (termination) hearing.
  • Temporary Custody:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Once the child is born, an order is obtained placing the child in temporary care of the prospective adoptive parents pending termination of the birth mother's parental rights.  The order includes language that allows baby to be released to the adoptive parents from the hospital.
  • Termination:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 At least forty-eight (48) hours after the child's birth, the birth mother's consent is accepted by the court and her rights are terminated. In some counties, it is necessary for the birth mother to appear at a court hearing to confirm her consent. The child remains in the temporary custody of the adoptive parents pending a final adoption hearing.

Birth Father

  • Consent And Termination:
    The birth father may also sign a consent prior to the child's birth and rights are terminated at least forty-eight (48) hours after the child's birth.    

  • When Birth Father Refuses To Sign Consent:
    If the birth father refuses to consent to the adoption, it is still possible to terminate the birth father’s rights. The birth father is served with a petition to terminate his parental rights. If he fails to respond within a certain number of days, a default is taken and his rights are terminated.

  • When Birth Father Is Unknown: 
    If the birth father's location or identity is unknown, notice may be given by publication in a newspaper and rights are terminated if the birth father fails to respond.
  • Temporary Custody: 
    Upon birth of the child, an order is obtained that grants temporary custody to the prospective adoptive parents pending finalization of the adoption. The child is released from the hospital to the prospective adoptive parents.

How Are Parental Rights Terminated in Idaho?

Birth Mother

  • Consent and Termination:
     The birth mother signs a consent to adoption in the presence of a judicial officer after the child is born. After the birth mother signs a consent the Judge accepts the consent and signs an order terminating the birth mother's rights.
  • Temporary Custody:
     The prospective adoptive parents parents are granted custody of the child in the termination order pending a final adoption hearing

Birth Father

  • Consent:
    The birth father may also sign a consent in the presence of a judicial officer.

  • When consent is not necessary:
    Idaho is a "registry state" meaning that no consent is necessary if the birth father was never married to the birth mother and fails to register with the Idaho putative registry. A certificate showing that the birth father failed to register is presented to the court after the child is born and rights are then terminated.  If the birth father has registered it is necessary to serve the birth father with a petition to terminate rights.

  • When personal service is necessary:
    If the birth father does not reside in Idaho and refuses to sign a consent before a judicial officer, it may be necessary to personally serve the birth father with a petition to terminate parental rights.  If he fails to respond  in any manner his rights are terminated.

  • When birth father is unknown:
    If the birth father resides outside the state of Idaho and his identity or location is unknown, it may be necessary to give the birth father notice by publication in the city of the birth father's last known address.

Home Study

The adoptive couple must obtain a home study, also referred to as a pre-placement report, prior to having a child placed in their care. The couple provides biographical, financial, and medical information. A caseworker, authorized by the court, then prepares a report which is filed with the court. After the child is placed in the home, the caseworker again meets with the adoptive couple and child. A post-placement report is then filed at the time the adoption is finalized.

Legal Fees

The legal fees for a private adoption vary.  Fixed fee and hourly rates are available. Attorney fees to facilitate a private adoption are significantly lower than an agency fee.


The approximate costs, not including legal fees, for a private adoption include:

  • Pre- and Post-Placement Reports:
  • $ 750.00-1,500.00 WA & ID
  • Court Filing Fee:
  • $ 260.00 (WA) / $ 166.00(ID)
  • Birth Certificate: 
  • 35 (WA); 36 (ID)
  • Regular and Certified Copies: 
  • $ 35.00
  • Publication Costs (if necessary):
  •  $ 250.00 - $800.00

Medical Expenses

In most cases, the birth mother’s medical expenses related to the pregnancy are covered. If the birth mother does not qualify for state assistance and has no private insurance, the adoptive parents may assume responsibility for the medical expenses related to the pregnancy and birth. If the birth mother has private insurance the prospective  adoptive parents pay any out of pocket medical expenses.

Free Consultation

If you are interested in beginning the process of building your family through adoption, please contact us.


How Do Prospective Adoptive Parents Find a Birth Mother?

Adoption and Guardianship Services matches Birth mothers with prospective adoptive parents.  Our office has partnered with a web design firm to create a personalized web site that introduces the prospective adoptive family to potential birth mothers.

It is necessary to have an approved home study before you launch your web site on social media.  Our office will also provide a link on our web site for birth mothers seeking an adoptive family.  We also recommend that you let your family and friends know of your desire to adopt a child.  A friend of a friend will often know of a birth mother that would like to place a baby.  If you do hear of a birth mother give us a call. We can assist you in how to approach the birth mother before an initial meeting takes place.

What Is the Difference Between an Open Adoption and a Closed Adoption?

Most adoptions are open, which simply means that the birth parents and adoptive parents have met or know one another.  In Washington the birth parents and adoptive parents may enter an open adoption agreement that outlines contact between the adoptive parents and birth parents.  Most agreements allow two visits a year and provides that the adoptive parents send a letter and information to the birth parents a couple times a year.  The terms of the agreement are worked out between the birth parents and adoptive parents.

How Long Does It Take to Adopt?

Each adoption is unique.  The adoptive parents must first qualify as prospective adoptive parents and be recommended by a professional through a background investigation that results in an approved home study. Most adoptions are completed within one year.

Who Pays for Attorney Fees and Expenses?

The prospective adoptive parents pay all attorney fees and costs.  The birth mother is usually covered by Medicaid and there is no additional fee for medical expenses related to the birth. If the birth mother does not qualify for Medicaid, the prospective adoptive parents pay any out of pocket medical expenses.  At times the birth mother requires financial assistance for expenses related to her pregnancy.  Those would also be paid by the prospective adoptive parents.

Up to What Point May a Birth Mother Change Her Mind About Placing a Baby for Adoption?


In Washington the birth mother signs a consent prior to the birth of a child.  That consent is presented to the Court at least 48 hours after birth and an order accepting the birth mother's relinquishment (termination of rights) is entered with the Court.  The birth mother may revoke her consent up to the time the order terminating parental rights is presented and entered.


In Idaho the birth mother signs a consent after birth in the presence of a judicial officer and rights are terminated at that hearing.

Free Consultation

Mark R. Iverson is available to answer any questions during a free consultation. Contact us at 509-462-3678 or 800-338-8273 or via email at Mark: