How to Adopt in Hawaii

Whether you are hoping to add to your family or are considering adoption for your baby, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about adoption in Hawaii. Below, find Hawaii adoption and foster care information, local agencies and information about how to adopt in Honolulu, Oahu, Maui and beyond.

Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Hawaii

State laws regulate processes and qualifications for adoptive parents. If you are looking to adopt a child in Hawaii, the following information will help you better understand the laws and regulations for adoption in the Aloha State.

What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in Hawaii?

Any unmarried adult or married couple jointly may adopt in Hawaii. The spouse of a child’s legal parent may adopt singly in a stepparent adoption.

What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in Hawaii?

Adoption expenses are not addressed in Hawaii statutes. Speak with your adoption professional for more information.

What are the laws to become a foster parent in Hawaii?

The minimum qualifications to be a foster parent in Hawaii include:

  • Have sufficient income to meet your financial needs
  • Provide a safe, loving, supportive environment for a child
  • Pass required criminal history and child abuse registry checks
  • Complete preservice training and the home study
  • Have sufficient space for a child

What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in Hawaii?

A court hearing may not be required to finalize an international adoption in Hawaii if the adoptive parents request that the hearing be dispensed with and if the court finds that the issues it would have reviewed have received full consideration by the country from which the child was adopted and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  The Department of Health will establish a Hawaii birth certificate for a child adopted from a foreign country and for whom a final adoption decree has been entered in Hawaii court when it receives the proper documentation.

Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in Hawaii?

These issues are not addressed in Hawaii statutes.

Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in Hawaii

What are the laws for placing a baby for adoption in Hawaii? Who needs to consent to the adoption? When can I give my consent? These are all common questions about the rules and regulations of placing a baby for adoption in Hawaii. The following will help answer some of your question about Hawaii adoption laws.

When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?

A petition for relinquishment may be filed at any time after the mother’s sixth month of pregnancy. No judgment may be entered upon a petition concerning an unborn child until the petitioners file a written reaffirmation of their desires to relinquish their parental rights after the child’s birth. The petitioners must also be given at least 10 days’ notice of a proposal for the entry of judgment and an opportunity to be heard in connection with that proposal.

Who must consent to the adoption?

In Hawaii, written consent must be given by:

  • The mother
  • A legal father
  • An adjudicated father whose relationship to the child has been determined by a court
  • A presumed father
  • A concerned natural father who has demonstrated a reasonable degree of interest, concern or responsibility for the child’s welfare:
    • During the first 30 days after birth
    • Prior to the execution of consent by the child’s mother
    • Prior to placement with adoptive parents
  • Any person or agency having legal custody or the power to consent
  • The court having jurisdiction of the custody of the child if the legal guardian or custodian is not empowered to consent

A child age 10 or older must also consent to the adoption unless the court finds that it is in the child’s best interest not to consent.

When is consent not needed?

Parental consent is not required of:

  • A parent who has deserted the child for a 90-day period without affording means of identification
  • A parent who has voluntarily surrendered the care and custody of the child for a two-year period
  • A parent who does not have custody of the child and has failed for at least one year to communicate with or provide for the care and support of the child
  • A natural father who was not married to the child’s mother at the time of conception or birth and has not established paternity
  • A parent whose rights have been judicially terminated
  • A parent who has been declared mentally ill, incompetent or incapacitated from giving consent
  • Any legal guardian or custodian who is found by the court to be withholding consent unreasonably
  • A parent of a child who has been in the adoptive parent’s custody for at least one year and who entered the United States as a consequence of extraordinary circumstances in the child’s home country, making the identity or whereabouts of the child’s parents not reasonably ascertainable
  • A parent of an adult who is eligible for adoption
  • A parent whose parental and custodial duties and rights have been divested by an award of permanent custody

When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable?

Consent may not be withdrawn after the child is placed with prospective adoptive parents unless the court finds it would be in the child’s best interests.

What rights does the father of the baby have in Hawaii adoptions?

A man is presumed to be the father of a child if:

  • He and the child’s mother are or were married to each other and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days of the end of the marriage
  • Before the child’s birth, he and the child’s mother attempted to marry each other, through the marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days of the end of the marriage or cohabitation
  • He and the child’s mother married or attempted to marry each other after the child’s birth, although the marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:
    • He has acknowledged his paternity in writing filed with the Department of Health
    • He consents to be named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate
    • He is obligated to support the child under written voluntary promise or court order
  • He receives the child into his home and openly claims the child as his natural child
  • He submits to court-ordered genetic testing and the results do not exclude the possibility of his paternity
  • He signs a written, voluntary acknowledgment of paternity filed with the Department of Health

Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in Hawaii

Before an adoption or foster care placement can be made in Hawaii, the prospective parents must complete an approved home study. The home study assesses parents’ ability to provide a stable, nurturing home to a child. Below, find more information about what to expect throughout the Hawaii home study process.

What is included in the Hawaii home study process?

The department has developed procedures to ensure the reputable and responsible character of prospective adoptive parents. It will obtain criminal history record information through the Hawaii criminal justice data center and child abuse record information from the department in accordance with departmental procedures.

Who is included in the home study process?

All adults residing in the prospective adoptive home must be included in the Hawaii home study.
The Department of Human Services is responsible for completing the home study and may authorize or contract experienced social workers with specialized adoption experience to conduct the home study.

On what grounds will the home study not be approved in Hawaii?

An adoption petition may be denied if any adult residing in the prospective adoptive home was convicted of an offense for which incarceration is a sentencing option and the department finds that the nature and circumstances of the crime pose a risk to the health, safety or well-being of the child. The department may deny an adoption application if any adult residing in the home has a history of confirmed child abuse or neglect.

When should the home study be completed?

The court must be satisfied that the petitioners are fit and proper persons and financially able to give the child a proper home and education and that the adoption in in the child’s best interests before it will enter an adoption decree.

What are the post-placement study requirements for Hawaii?

Between the entry of the adoption decree and the effective adoption date, the director of human services or the director’s agent may provide supervision and visitation as required by the court.

What are the home study requirements for stepparent or relative adoptions in Hawaii?

This issue is not addressed in Hawaii statutes or regulations.

What are the home study requirements to adopt a child from another state?

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside of the state is subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

What are the pre-placement requirements to adopt a child that is currently in my care?

This issue is not addressed in Hawaii statutes or regulations.

To begin the home study process in Hawaii, contact one of these trusted home study providers in your state:

  • Hawaii International Child
    808-589-2367
    Hawaii International Child (HIC) is licensed to complete home studies in Hawaii for nearly any adoption a family may be considering.
  • Family Programs Hawaii
    808-521-9531
    Family Programs Hawaii’s Hawaii Adoption Resources (HAR) program focuses on adoption readiness and adoption preparedness, providing home studies and support to families wishing to adopt from Hawaii or the mainland.

Hawaii Adoption Professionals

Whether you are an expectant mother making an adoption plan or hopeful parents considering adoption, your adoption professional can help guide you through the process and offer more information about adoption in Hawaii. These adoption professionals are experienced in completing Hawaii adoptions and can help you reach your adoption goals:

For more information about foster care and foster-to-adopt in Hawaii, visit the Department of Human Services.

Things to do in Hawaii

If you find yourself spending some time in the Aloha State, whether you are waiting for ICPC clearances so you can return to your home state, or you are visiting a prospective birth mother in her home state of Hawaii, here are a few fun things you can enjoy during your stay:

For more information about traveling to Hawaii, visit www.gohawaii.com.