for Adoption 

Items necessary to file for Placement of a child for purposes of adoption:

  • An attorney is recommended
  • 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, once obtained after birth;
  • Birth mother will be required to attend a court hearing;
  • Applicant(s)/Prospective Adoptive Parent(s) and minor 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.

After the statutory waiting period to finalize the adoption, the Court will send  the Bureau of Vital statistics of the state of the child’s birth a Certificate of Adoption form. 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 file for a Private Adoption?

  • A husband and wife jointly, if at least one of them is an adult.
  • A Single Adult.
  • A Married Adult without the spouse joining if the applicant and the spouse are legally separated.

Who May be Adopted through a Private Adoption?

  • A minor child.
  • A person determined to be totally or permanently disabled, either physically or mentally.
  • A consenting adult, provided a child-parent relationship, child-foster caregiver relationship, or kinship caregiver relationship existed during the adoptee’s minority.
  • A consenting adult who at age 18 was in the permanent custody of a public children’s services agency or a private child placing agency.

What is a Private Adoption?

In this instance, a licensed adoption agency is not involved. It is generally handled by a private attorney working directly with the Court and an attorney representing the party(ies) relinquishing parental right. On occasion, the child may be related to persons seeking to adopt, such as a grandchild, niece, nephew, etc. Other times, there is no relationship between the child to be adopted and those adopting.

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 circumstances, parental consent may be waived or determined to not be necessary. Questions concerning consent should be directed to an attorney.

What is Preplacement?

A preplacement petition may be filed by the attorney for the Petitioner(s) in an anticipation of a future adoption being filed.

What are the Rights of an Unwed Father?

An unwed father, known as a putative father, should seek legal counsel to ascertain how his rights can be protected. One method to preserve rights to consent to an adoption of a child born after January 1, 1997 is to register with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Putative Father Registry. Registration must occur prior to birth or no later than 30 days after birth.  The Probate Court may determine, after notice and hearing, that the consent of a properly registered putative father may be unnecessary due to the willful abandonment of the mother during the pregnancy, that prior to the surrender the putative father willfully abandoned and failed to care for or support the minor, or that he is not the father.

The address of the Putative Father Registry is:

Ohio Putative Father Registry
PO Box 182709
Columbus, OH 43218-2709

1 (888) 313-3100

What is an Open Adoption?

As an alternative to a traditional closed adoption where identities are not disclosed, an open adoption occurs 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.

Where Should I File for Adoption?

The Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction over Adoptions and you are required to file 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;
  • The person seeking to adopt is stationed in military service; or
  • Where the natural parent resides.

Is a Home Study Necessary?

Yes. Regardless of the type of adoption, a home study is required. Please refer to Local Rules of Court for more information on assessors. In all other agency adoptions, an adoption assessor will be assigned to the case by this Court.

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.

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.


Placement Checklist

Adoption Checklist

Civil Fee Waiver Affidavit & Order

Placement Application by Prospective Adoptive Parents

Application for Placement by Parent

Application for Placement by a Relative

Affidavit (re: parentage)

Affidavit RC 3127.23

Application to Appoint Assessor

Entry Appointing Assessor

Entry Ordering Homestudy

Entry Setting Placement Hearing

Written Statement of Natural Parent

Entry on Placement

Hospital Release

Financial Disclosure OPD 206R

Motion for Appointed Counsel Fees OPD 1026R

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