Private or Relative Adoption

Private or Relative Adoption

This section applies to an adoption of a chld by a relative or by a private adoption where there is no relationship between the child and the Petitioner(s).

Items necessary to file a Private or Relative Adoption:

  • Petitioner(s) must be a Shelby County resident(s), OR meet one of the other statutory jurisdiction criteria;
  • A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate;
  • Petitioner(s) and the child will be required to attend a court hearing;
  • An Adoption Assessor will perform a home study;
  • See Local Rules Appendix for current cost deposit amount;
  • Complete the requirements listed on the Court’s Checklist shown below.

The Petitioner or Petitioner’s attorney will complete the Certificate of Adoption.  The completed form will be sent by the Court to the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the state of the child’s birth.  The Petitioner is responsible for subsequently requesting a new birth certificate from Vital Statistics; Petitioner should allow 6-8 weeks after the adoption is finalized to request a new birth certificate to allow sufficient processing time by the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who May Adopt?

  • A husband and wife jointly if at least one of them is an adult;
  • A single adult;
  • The unmarried minor parent of the person to be adopted;
  • A married adult without the other spouse joining as a petitioner if any of  certain statutory criteria apply.

Who May be Adopted?

  • Any minor may be adopted.

  • An adult may be adopted under any of the following conditions:

    (1) If the adult is totally or permanently disabled;

    (2) If the adult is determined to be a person with an intellectual disability;

    (3) If the adult had established a child-foster caregiver, kinship caregiver, or child-stepparent relationship with the petitioners as a minor, and the adult consents to the adoption;

    (4) If the adult was, at the time of the adult’s eighteenth birthday, in the permanent custody of or in a planned permanent living arrangement with a public children services agency or a private child placing agency, and the adult consents to the adoption;

    (5) If the adult is the child of the spouse of the petitioner, and the adult consents to the adoption.

Who Must Consent?

The parents of the child to be adopted, a minor being adopted who is over the age of 12 years, and an adult adoptee must consent to adoption. However, under certain facts, parental consent may be waived or determined to not be necessary. Therefore, questions concerning consent should be directed to the agency or an attorney.

Where Should I File for Adoption?

The Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction over adoptions and an adoption is required to be filed in the Probate Court of the county where any one of the following applies:

  • The child was born;
  • The person or persons seeking to adopt reside; or
  • The person seeking to adopt is stationed in military service.

Is a Home Study Necessary?

Yes.  Except for adoption of an adult, a home study is statutorily required. With an agency adoption, the agency will conduct the home study. In other types of  adoptions, the Petitioner employs a qualified, Court approved, adoption assessor to conduct the home study.

Must I Have an Attorney?

No. An individual may represent themselves in Court without the assistance of an attorney/legal counsel. This is called “pro se”.


If you need legal advice or legal counsel, please refer to the Court’s Resources for Legal Assistance brochure.

Attention PARENT: You may be entitled to a lawyer in adoption proceedings in Probate Court. If you cannot afford a lawyer and meet certain requirements the court will appoint a lawyer to provide legal representation. You must immediately contact the Probate Court at 937-498-7263 to request an attorney/lawyer. A “Financial Disclosure/Fee Waiver Affidavit” (pursuant to R.C. 2323.311) must also be completed before your scheduled hearing. The financial disclosure/fee waiver affidavit can be obtained from the forms on this website or by contacting the Court.

Must I Appear in Court with the Child being Adopted?

Yes.  It is mandatory, whether adopting through an agency, or independently, that the person adopting and the child or children sought to be adopted appear before the Probate Court for the final hearing.  In certain circumstances, there may be other appearances required.  Exceptions can only be granted by the Court for good cause shown.

Is the Birth Certificate Changed?

Yes. The original birth certificate will be sealed and a new birth certificate issued. The adopting parent or parents will be reflected on the birth certificate, just as though they had been the biological parents.

A new birth certificate is requested, and can be obtained, by the Petitioner for a child born in Ohio from the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics.

The address of the Bureau of Vital Statistics is:

Ohio Department of Health

Bureau of Vital Statistics

P.O. Box 15098

Columbus, OH 43215

Children adopted in Ohio, but born in other states, obtain their new birth certificates from the bureau of vital statistics of the state where they were born.

How do I access my Adoption records?

Consult the Ohio Department of Health website, “Adoption Information” webpage for information on access to adoption records.  The availability of adoption records varies with the date that the adoption occurred.

Standard Probate Forms 

For all Standard Probate Forms click here.

For Checklists and Forms exclusive to Shelby County Probate Court, see the forms section below.

Court Checklist and Forms

Adoption Checklist

Civil Fee Waiver & Affidavit Order

Order to Assessor

Vital Statistics - Certificate of Adoption (HEA 2757)

Court Modified Form 18.2 - Notice of Hearing on Petition for Adoption

Financial Disclosure OPD 206R

Motion for Court Appointed Counsel Fees OPD 1026R

Statement of Adopted Person

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