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Adoption services for Washington State

Christina T. Sherman, PLLC, of Fircrest Western Washington is a practice dedicated to helping families in adoption and family formation. In more than 20 years of serving Washington families, attorney Christina T. Sherman has helped hundreds of families achieve their adoption goals. She has the experience, knowledge and passion to make the adoption process efficient and professional.

Types of adoption in Washington

There are several categories of adoption that our firm handles in Washington. We are ready to help you through the legal side of the adoption process regardless of the type of adoption you have.

Stepparent adoption:

Making the relationship between a stepparent and stepchild official is the perfect way to bring a blended family together. Stepparent adoptions, at their heart, are a legal recognition of the family bond that is already there. Stepparent adoption also serves to provide children the highest level of security to keep them in a safe, loving home.

Foster care adoption:

If you are seeking to adopt a foster child, our office can help make that happen. We will lead you through the process from start to finish. Foster children have waited months, and, in many cases, years for the precious moment when they can be adopted into a loving home. Foster care adoptions happen when the waiting is over, and the children are legal free. Christina Sherman has helped hundreds of families take the final step of adoption after the long walk through the foster system.

Independent adoption:

Independent adoption is an adoption (often a new-born adoption) handled without an adoption agency. Our firm works with both adoptive families and birth families to set up an independent adoption according to your needs. The parties will weigh options including open adoption and communication agreements, and pre-adoption support if necessary. We help families establish birth plans, coordinate with the birth hospitals, and obtain medical background and medical records. We then coordinate the termination of birth parent parental rights and the adoption by the adoption parents. To ensure this is the right decision for your family. Attorneys and the two families work together through the whole process, to ensure that the child’s transition from birth parents to adoptive parents is a seamless as possible. Ms. Sherman is ready to answer any questions about this process and provide resources on this type of adoption.

Interstate adoption:

In addition to the other requirements of an independent adoption, adopting a child across state lines requires that the adoptive parents comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). Our firm coordinates with attorneys nation-wide to efficiently comply with the requirements of the ICPC — to bring the children safely home as soon as possible.

Adult adoption:

We can help make adult adoptions official very quickly. In many cases, an adult gives a parental figure adoption papers as a gift. Making your parent-child relationship official is a gracious gesture. Adult adoptions can also be a practical option for inheritance purposes.

International adoptions:

Crossing national borders for adoption purposes requires close knowledge of state, national and international adoption policies. 
Let us help you navigate these complex regulations.

Same-sex adoptions:

In our increasingly divided country and world, it is essential to ensure that the parental rights same sex couples obtain in Washington state will be given Full Faith and Credit abroad. Attorney Sherman offers second parent adoptions, to same sex parents to ensure that their parental rights are secure when traveling out of state.

Contested adoptions:

When both biological parents do not agree to place their child up for adoption, the adoption process may become more complicated or grind to a halt altogether. Understanding parental rights in these matters is key.

Termination of parental rights:

Excepting only adult adoption, termination of parental rights is part of nearly every other adoption case. Ms. Sherman works with you to obtain the termination of rights as efficiently as possible.

For any child to be legally adopted, the parental rights of the biological parents need to be terminated. We can help assuage your concerns about parental rights and work with biological parents to facilitate the process.

Frequently Asked Questions About Adoptions in Washington State

1. What are the different types of adoption available in Washington?

  • Foster Care Adoption: Washington State offers foster care adoption, which involves adopting a child who is currently in the state’s foster care system and in need of a permanent home. These adoptions are typically handled through the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF).

  • Domestic Infant Adoption: Prospective parents can adopt infants born in the United States through private or public adoption agencies. This type of adoption allows adoptive parents to provide a loving home to a newborn.

  • International Adoption: For families interested in adopting a child from another country, international adoption is an option. International adoption agencies specializing in the adoption of children from various countries can guide you through this process.

  • Step-Parent Adoption: In cases where a step-parent wants to adopt their spouse’s child, Washington provides a streamlined legal process for step-parent adoptions.

  • Adult Adoption: Washington allows for adult adoption, which is the legal process of establishing a parent-child relationship between an adult adoptee and an adult adoptive parent.

2. How do I start the adoption process in Washington? 

To begin the adoption process in Washington, follow these general steps:

  • Choose the type of adoption that suits your family’s needs.
  • Research and select a reputable adoption agency or attorney to guide you through the process.
  • Complete the necessary background checks and home studies.
  • Attend adoption orientation sessions or workshops to gain a better understanding of the process.
  • Prepare all required documentation and legal forms, including an adoption petition.
  • Attend court hearings, as needed, to finalize the adoption.

3. What are the eligibility requirements for adoptive parents in Washington? 

Eligibility requirements can vary based on the type of adoption and the agency involved. However, some common criteria for adoptive parents in Washington include:

  • Age: Prospective adoptive parents should be at least 21 years old.
  • Criminal background checks: A comprehensive background check is typically required.
  • Financial stability: Adoption agencies often assess the financial stability of prospective parents to ensure they can provide for the child’s needs.
  • Home study: A home study is a crucial evaluation to ensure that the adoptive home is safe and suitable for a child.

4. How long does the adoption process typically take in Washington? 

The duration of the adoption process varies depending on several factors, including the type of adoption, the agency you work with, and the specific circumstances of the adoption. On average, domestic infant adoptions can take around 12 to 18 months, while foster care adoptions may take less time due to the urgent need for permanent homes for children in the foster care system. International adoptions can take longer, often ranging from 18 months to several years due to international legal requirements and immigration processes. Step-parent adoptions and adult adoptions tend to have shorter timelines.

It’s important to note that while these are general timelines, individual cases may progress faster or slower depending on the specific circumstances and legal requirements associated with each adoption type. Prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to work closely with their chosen adoption agency or attorney to understand the estimated timeframe for their unique adoption situation.


“I felt like she put her whole heart into our case.”

quote - Adoption

With you from start to finish.

While adoption is a beautiful and wonderful way to create a family, sometimes the process can be complicated. Things can become contested without warning. There may be some unavoidable hiccups. The amount of time it takes may be hard to deal with. Christina T. Sherman, PLLC, is here to help you understand what is happening and keep you informed at every step.

If you are a parent seeking to place your child for adoption, contact us now. We know that this can be a difficult decision, and you want your child to be placed in a loving, supportive home. Finding an adoptive family can be difficult without a guiding hand. We want to be able to provide that guiding hand and help set your mind at ease.

More than anything, we are concerned with the best interests of the child. We are committed to improving the lives of children, and will not do anything that jeopardizes the child’s best interest.

Your family is important to us. Contact us today.

Having a lawyer on your side will make the adoption process easier. Schedule a consultation with Christina T. Sherman, PLLC, today.

We serve clients throughout Tacoma, Pierce County, King County, Thurston County, Kitsap County, and the Western Washington area.

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