From Denver to Colorado Springs, Aurora to Fort Collins and everywhere in between, hundreds of Colorado families have been completed through adoption. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or considering adoption as a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, this guide outlines the rules and qualifications for adopting a child in Colorado, as well as other helpful state adoption information.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Colorado
Like every state, Colorado has laws regarding who can adopt and how they can adopt. If you are interested in adopting a child in Colorado, the following information will help you better understand the adoption process, laws and qualifications in your state.
What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in Colorado?
The following people may adopt a child in Colorado:
- Any person who is at least 21 years old
- A minor, if approved by the court
- A married couple jointly (unless they are legally separated)
- A person desiring to adopt an adult as an heir
What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in Colorado?
Adoptive parents in Colorado may pay for attorney fees and other charges as approved by the court. Physicians and attorneys may charge reasonable fees for their professional services in connection with the adoption. Adoptive families are required to pay for the cost of the home study unless the fee prevents the adoption of a child for whom a county department has financial responsibility, in which case the home study fee may be waived.
When the adoption petition is filed, it must be accompanied by a standardized accounting of all fees, costs or expenses paid in connection with the adoption.
What are the laws to become a foster parent in Colorado?
To become a foster parent in Colorado, you must be at least 21 years old, be able to physically care for and financially support a child, and pass child abuse and criminal background checks.
What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in Colorado?
In Colorado, an adoptive family may petition the court to validate an adoption that was finalized internationally. The court will issue a decree validating the adoption if it finds that at least one parent is a U.S. citizen and Colorado resident, the original or certified copy of a valid adoption decree is presented to the court and the child is a permanent resident or naturalized citizen of the United State. A decree validating a foreign adoption has the same legal effect as any adoption decree issued by the court.
A new birth certificate will be prepared for any Colorado resident adopted from a foreign country upon receipt of a certified copy of the final adoption decree and findings of fact as to the person’s date and place of birth. The certificate will include the adopted person’s new name and show the country of birth and state that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship.
Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in Colorado?
Only county departments and licensed child placement agencies may offer or receive any money or other item of value in connection with locating or identifying prospective birth parents or children to be adopted. Doctors and attorneys may charge reasonable fees for their professional services performed in connection with an adoption.
The use of advertisement in adoption is not addressed in Colorado statutes.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in Colorado
As a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, you likely have many questions about the rules and regulations of placing a baby for adoption in Colorado. The following information will help answer some of your questions about adoption laws in the Centennial State.
When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?
If a parent is placing the child for adoption, the parent must obtain counseling from a county department of social services or licensed child-placing agency and petition the juvenile court, providing the name of both parents, if known, the name of the child, the ages of all parties concerned and the reasons for choosing adoption.
The petition must include a standardized affidavit of relinquishment that indicates the nature and extent of counseling obtained by the petitioner, a copy of the original birth certificate, and a statement disclosing any and all payments made in connection with the pregnancy, birth and adoption. If the child is of Indian heritage, this must also be indicated in the petition, along with information about the child’s tribe.
Consent may be executed any time after the child is born.
Who must consent to the adoption?
A county department of social services, licensed child-placing agency or individual may place a child for adoption. The person or agency filing the petition must include written and verified consent to the adoption with the petition.
If the child being adopted is at least 12 years old, he or she must undergo counseling and provide written consent to the adoption.
When is consent not needed?
Parental consent is not required when the parent’s rights have been terminated by the court or when the parent has abandoned or failed to support the child for 1 year.
When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable?
Parental consent may be revoked within 91 days if the parent establishes by clear and convincing evidence that their consent was obtained by fraud or duress.
What rights does the father of the baby have in Colorado adoptions?
In Colorado, a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child, and therefore has parental rights, if:
- He and the mother are married and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated
- He and the mother married or attempted to marry before the child’s birth, even if the marriage could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the invalid marriage or within 300 days of the end of the marriage or of cohabitation
- He and the mother married or attempted to marry after the child’s birth and:
- He filed written acknowledgment of paternity with the court or registrar of vital statistics
- He consents to be named on the child’s birth certificate
- He is obligated to support the child under written promise or court order
- He receives the child into his home and openly claims the child as his natural child
- He files written acknowledgement of paternity with the court or registrar of vital statistics
- Genetic testing results show that the probability of parentage is 97 percent or higher
A child, the child’s mother, a presumed father, the state or the Department of Human Services may bring a court action at any time to declare the existence of a father and child relationship, or within five years of the child’s birth to declare the nonexistence of a father and child relationship.
Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in Colorado
Prior to fostering or adopting a child in Colorado, you must complete a home study. The home study is a mutual evaluation process that assesses your ability to provide a stable, nurturing home to a child.
Below, find information about what to expect during the Colorado home study process.
What is included in the Colorado home study process?
The Colorado home study includes an assessment of the following:
- The adoptive parents’ physical and mental health, emotional stability and moral integrity
- The ability of the prospective parents to promote the welfare of the child
- Confirmation of adoption counseling, if appropriate
- The suitability of the prospective parents to adopt the child
- Criminal history records checks for any adult resident of the home
- Checks for any substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect
The home study process must be completed using the Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) instrument. The assessment includes separate and joint interviews with the applicants and all adults and children residing in the home. During the interviews, the following information will be collected and discussed:
- Social history and background
- Personal characteristics
- Marital relationships
- Motivation for adoption
- Interest, preparation and willingness to care for a child with special needs
- Extended family relationships
- Physical and social environment of the home
- Parenting abilities and style
- Ability to care for a child of a different ethnic or cultural background
Who is included in the home study process?
The prospective adoptive parents and any adult residents of their home must be included in the home study.
Who will conduct the home study?
The Colorado home study report must be completed by the county department of social services, a designated qualified individual or a child-placing agency approved by the State Department of Human Services.
When must the home study be completed?
The home study report must be completed within 90 days of receiving the completed background checks. The assessment must be reevaluated annually until an adoption placement is made. The reevaluation must include documentation of any changes in the home and family, the kind of child desired, and determination of the appropriateness to continue approval of the home. Every two years, a licensed doctor must provide a statement regarding the current physical condition of the applicants.
On what grounds will the home study not be approved in Colorado?
The home study may not be approved if any adult resident of the home has been convicted at any time of the following:
- Child abuse or neglect
- Spousal abuse
- A crime against a child, including child pornography
- Any act of domestic violence
- Violation of a protection order
- Any crime involving violence, rape, sexual assault or homicide
- Felony physical assault or battery
- Felony drug-related conviction within the past 5 years
What are the post-placement study requirements for Colorado?
The county department placing the child for adoption will provide post-placement supervision until the adoption is finalized.
What are the home study requirements for stepparent or relative adoptions in Colorado?
A home study is not required in stepparent adoptions, kinship adoptions, custodial adoptions, and cases in which a placement has been made by the court.
What are the requirements to adopt a child from another state?
Any interstate adoption is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).
What are the requirements for foster-to-adopt placements?
The assessment completed on a family for the purpose of foster care will be accepted for the purpose of adoption. A brief update will be included with the adoption application form, if appropriate.
In Colorado, you are required to obtain a home study prior to an adoption placement. Contact one of these trusted home study providers to get started:
- Adoption Choices of Colorado
303-670-4401 ext. 102
Adoption Choices of Colorado is a full-service, nonprofit agency and expert both domestic and international home studies. State of Colorado-trained licensed social workers guide families through the adoption and home study process throughout the state of Colorado.
- Virginia L. Frank, Attorney & Counselor at Law
- Adoption Options
Adoption Options is a Hague-accredited licensed full-service adoption agency located in Aurora with coverage across the state. The agency provides home study services for domestic, kinship, second parent, embryo and international adoptions.
- A Love Beyond Borders
A Love Beyond Borders is a licensed, Hague-approved adoption agency that offers the required SAFE home study, adoption education and post-adoption services to prepare families for domestic and international adoptions. A Love Beyond Borders provides home study services for intercountry, private domestic, kinship, stepparent and second parent adoptions.
Colorado Adoption Professionals
When you are ready to begin the adoption process, your adoption professional can work with you to answer your questions and arrange necessary adoption services. These adoption professionals are experienced in completing adoptions in Colorado and can help guide you through your adoption journey:
- American Adoptions
- Adoptions by Heart
- Adoption Choices of Colorado
- Adoption Options
- Hope’s Promise
- Colorado Christian Services
- A Step Ahead Adoption
For more information about foster care in Colorado, visit Colorado Foster Care and Adoption.
Things to do in Colorado
Whether you visit the Centennial State to meet prospective birth parents or wait for ICPC approval, there is plenty to keep you busy in Colorado. Here are a few fun things you can enjoy during your stay in Colorado:
- Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (Durango)
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Rocky Mountains National Park
- Royal Gorge (Canon City)
- Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs)
- Maroon Bells (Aspen)
For more information about traveling to Colorado, visit http://www.colorado.com/.