Colorado Adoption Laws: 2021 Ultimate Resource

Colorado Adoption Laws: 2021 Ultimate Resource

Each state’s adoption laws can vary, so it is important that if you are considering adopting a child in Colorado that you become familiar with Colorado’s adoption laws.

Colorado adoption laws are in place to protect the birth parents, the prospective adoptive parents, and the child being adopted. You will want to find an adoption agency or an adoption lawyer who is very knowledgeable in the Colorado adoption laws.

We will cover some of the legal specifics for those adopting in Colorado involving newborn adoptions through the domestic adoption process, as well as adopting an infant or older child through the foster care system.


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With so many aspects of Colorado’s adoption laws and their corresponding policies, it is impossible to cover them all in one article. We will, however, dive into many facets of the adoption laws in Colorado.

You are strongly encouraged to contact a licensed adoption agency or an adoption lawyer for specific adoption laws and policies in Colorado, as laws and policies do change.

Can you adopt without a lawyer? How much do adoption attorneys cost? Learn all that and more by visiting Adoption Lawyers in Colorado: Do You Need an Adoption Attorney? where we also give you step-by-step instructions on how to vet an adoption lawyer.

Adoption Requirements in Colorado

  • Must be 21 years of age or older.

  • Any physical orientation, race, or ethnicity.

  • Any marital status, or religion.

  • LGBT couples may petition to adopt.

  • Thorough background check is required.

  • Demonstrate a stable and responsible lifestyle.

It is common knowledge that adoption is costly, but that is not to be confused with a false expectation that a prospective parent should be well off financially. Financial security is important and expected when applying to adopt a child, yet being upper class is not one of those qualifications.

Financial security simply means that you are able to pay your bills, cover your rent or mortgage, and that you have a reliable means of income and transportation. What matters most is that a child is loved, cared for, and kept safe and comfortable.


Learn more about adoption attorneys in our article What Does an Adoption Attorney Do? We Find Out.


Below is a summary including key points of the adoption consent laws in Colorado put together for your convenience and is intended to be quicker to digest. For a complete listing of all adoption consent laws in its legal format and in its entirety, visit Title 19-5-2 Relinquishment and Adoption, courtesy of Justia US Law.

It goes without saying that consent to adopt is a huge part of the adoption process. We may forget, however, that there is more involved than the birth mother’s consent.

Other aspect may come into play that you will want to keep in mind.

  • The adoptee who is 12 years of age or older must give their consent to the adoption. An exception to this would be if the child is mentally incompetent.

  • The presumed father has the right to consent to the adoption, unless support has not been paid for at least one year.
  • The agency to which the adoptee has been relinquished or which holds permanent custody and which has placed the adoptee for adoption.

Colorado Subsidies for Foster Care Adoption

Adoption assistance, otherwise know as adoption subsidies, is available for foster children in Colorado who suffer from physical, mental, and developmental challenges.

These children are at a heightened risk of health problems, learning disabilities, as well as mental health issues. Subsidized adoption provides assistance to adoptive families for medical access, special equipment, therapies, tutoring, and other support services.

In the US, about 90% of the children in foster care are eligible for adoption assistance.

Special Needs Eligibility in Colorado

The state of Colorado determines a child to have special needs when they meet the following three requirements, courtesy of NACAC.

  • A special needs child must fall into at least one of the following categories:
    • Documented hereditary factors.
    • Member of an ethnic group that may be more difficult to place.
    • Physical disability.
    • Emotional trauma.
    • Age seven years of age and older.
    • Child of a sibling group of two or more being adopted together.
    • A child at high risk of developing a disability in the future.
    • Learning and/or developmental disabilities.
    • Metabolic disorder.
    • Speech or language impairment.
    • Developmental setback or disability.

  • It has been determined that it is not in the best interest for the child to be returned to the birth parent’s home.

  • After reasonable efforts to place a child have proven unsuccessful, it has become apparent that placement will likely not happen without offering an adoption subsidy.

Colorado Adoption Advertising Laws

Adoption advertising is defined as using a public medium to express an interest in adopting a child or sharing that a child is available for adoption either by print or electronically.

Common means of advertising include:

  • Newspapers
  • Periodicals
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Internet
  • Billboards
  • Printed Flyers

It is unlawful in Colorado to find and gain custody of a child by means of using a public advertising medium, courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.

Birth Parent Expenses in Colorado

In all states, no person or agency is allowed to accept payment for assisting, placing, or organizing the placement of a child, as this is illegal.

There are some things, however, that adoptive parents may be allowed to pay for in Colorado per Code § 19-5-213. Compensation for Placing Child Prohibited:

  • Physician fees
  • Legal fees
  • Other fees approved by the court

Your licensed adoption liaison will help to ensure that all financial aspects of the adoption process run smoothly and legally.

What do you do, though, if said expenses are paid and the birth mother changes her mind in the end? Adoption Disruption insurance is available for adoptive parents to protect them from such a misfortune for those adopting domestically.

Accessing Adoption Records in Colorado

The state of Colorado has had some ups and downs with regard to the access of adoption records. Today, it is believed that all adoptees who are 18 years of age or older may apply for and receive a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate through the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.

For instructions on how to obtain adoption records, visit Instructions for Access to Adoption Records, which is a PDF provided by the state of Colorado.

Post Adoption Contact Laws in Colorado

Adoptive parents have a right to decide who has contact with their adopted child and when. Many times in an open adoption, the adoptive parents and the birth family have a mutual and informal agreement regarding contact with the adopted child.

As of August 2018, the state of Colorado has no information documented in its statutes regarding post adoption contact laws, as notes at ChildWelfare.gov.

When are Adoption Birth Certificates Issued in Colorado?

When your adoption is finalized, court proceedings should immediately include beginning the process of obtaining a new birth certificate for the adopted child that reflects the child’s new last name and adoptive parents.

Do not hesitate to ask your adoption attorney or adoption agency if you need to initiate that process, or if the courts will do that on your behalf.


DISCLAIMER: The above state law information is provided to our readers as a courtesy and is meant to be helpful in offering some insight as to what to expect during your adoption journey. This information is not meant to be viewed as legal advice. In addition, possible changes to state laws may have taken place since the publishing of this article in July 2021.