Step-Parent Adoption  

Required Forms

Agency Adoption

Required Forms

Adult Adoption 

Required Forms

Recognition of Foreign Adoption 

Required Forms


A husband and wife jointly, step-parent or single adult can adopt either minor child or an adult.

Types of Adoption

  • Agency: When an agency licensed by the State of Ohio originates the adoption process, Probate Court involvement is limited to the final stages of the adoption. The agency approves the placement, conducts the home study, and recommends the adoption to the Court. Adoption agencies have trained, professional staff, and use legal counsel to ensure that adoptions are legally, effectively, and efficiently handled.
  • Independent Adoption: In this instance, a licensed adoption agency is not involved. It is generally handled by a private attorney working directly with the Court. On occasion, the child may be related to persons seeking to adopt, such as a grandchild, niece, nephew, etc. At other times, there is no relationship between the child to be adopted and the petitioners.
  • Step-parent: The person seeking to adopt is either a step-father or step-mother. The parent whose right is being terminated must consent, unless his or her consent is not required.
  • Interstate Adoptions: Where a child is born in one state and the adopting parents are residents of another state, both States' Departments of Human Services must be involved through the Interstate Compact. The Probate Court will supervise these proceedings.
  • Foreign Adoptions: If an Ohio family adopts a child born in another country, the adoption is considered a Foreign Adoption. Such adoptions may occur in the country of birth or in Ohio. All foreign adoptions must be processed through the U.S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization.
  • Recognition: Some foreign adoptions may be appropriate for a less cumbersome process of re-finalization.
  • Adult Adoption: An adult may be adopted in the following instances:
    • An Adult who is totally and permanently disabled
    • An Adult who is determined to have an intellectual disability
    • An Adult who established a child-foster parent, a kinship caregiver or child-stepparent relationship with the petitioner as a minor
    • An Adult who is the child of the spouse of the petitioner

Rights of an Unwed Father

An unwed father, known as a putative father, may preserve his rights to consent to adoption of a child born after January 1, 1997, by registering with the Ohio Department of Human Services, Putative Father Registry. That Registration must occur either prior to birth, or not later than thirty days after birth. To determine the rights of a putative father prior to January 1, 1997, you must contact a licensed agency or attorney.

Open Adoption

As an alternative to a traditional closed adoption where identities are not disclosed, an open adoption may occur when both the natural and adopting parents, prior to the adoption, voluntarily disclose their identities to each other. Open adoption law applies only to non-relative adoptions and may involve a non-binding agreement for contact between the adopted child and the natural parent(s). However, all parental control of the adopted child remains with the adopting parents. For more information on open adoptions, contact an agency or attorney.

Filing for Adoption

Since the Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction over Adoptions, you are required to file in the Probate Court of the County where any one of the following apply:

  • The Agency having custody of the child is located.
  • The child was born.
  • The person or persons seeking to adopt reside.
  • The county of residence for a petitioner stationed elsewhere because of Military Service.
  • In an independent placement, where the natural parent resides.

Home Study

Regardless of the type of adoption, a home study is required as part of the assessment process. An individual known as an assessor, who is qualified and trained for the task, will complete the home study.



  1. 120 Market Street
    1st Floor
    Youngstown, OH 44503


  1. Monday through Friday
    8 am to 4 pm
    (closed all legal holidays)

Contact Us

  1. Phone: 330-740-2310
    Fax: 330-740-2325
    Email Probate Court