Idaho Adoption Laws: 2021 Ultimate Resource

Idaho 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 Idaho that you become familiar with Idaho’s adoption laws.

Idaho 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 Idaho adoption laws.

We will cover some of the legal specifics for those adopting in Idaho 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 Idaho’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 Idaho.

You are strongly encouraged to contact a licensed adoption agency or an adoption lawyer for specific adoption laws and policies in Idaho, 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 Idaho: 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 Idaho

  • Must be 21 years of age or older.

  • A physical exam is required.

  • Background check is required.

  • One need not be married to adopt.

  • LGBT couples may adopt.

  • No more than a 40-year age difference between the adult and the child.

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 Idaho 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 16-1504 Adoption of Children, courtesy of Idaho Legislature.

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.
  • The agency to which the adoptee has been relinquished or which holds permanent custody and which has placed the adoptee for adoption.

Idaho Subsidies for Foster Care Adoption

Adoption assistance, otherwise know as adoption subsidies, is available for foster children in Idaho 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 Idaho

A child with special needs may qualify for adoption assistance if the child meets one or more of the following circumstances, courtesy of NACAC.

  • Noted emotional, physical, or mental issues.

  • Siblings of two or more being placed for adoption in the same home at the same time.

  • The child’s age makes it difficult to find an adoptive home.

  • Due to underlining issues in the past, the child is likely to suffer emotional, physical, or mental struggles in the future.

Idaho 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

Citation: Ann. Code § 18-1512A: Adoption Advertising in Idaho

In Idaho it is unlawful for anyone to advertise a child who is available for adoption. It is also illegal for anyone to advertise the desire to adopt.

Adoption entities who are duly authorized are the exception and are allowed to advertise.

Adoption entities include such agencies as the Department of Health and Welfare or an institution licensed by the department to care for and place children, as well as licensed attorneys and physicians and other healthcare providers who may be assisting or providing natural and adoptive parents with medical care necessary to initiate and complete adoptive placements.

Courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.

Birth Parent Expenses in Idaho

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.

Title 18-1511: Children and Vulnerable Adults

The state of Idaho deems legal and medical costs, as well as reasonable maternity and living expenses during the pregnancy permissible expenses paid to or for the birth mother. This period shall not to exceed 6 weeks postpartum based on demonstrated financial need.

Things that may possibly be allowed to be paid for by the adoptive parents are:

  • Counseling
  • Legal fees
  • Adoption agency fees
  • Prenatal visits
  • Living expenses
  • Hospital costs

Accessing Adoption Records in Idaho

Adult adoptees, birth parents, and adult birth siblings may request access to adoption records.

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-1506: Access to Nonidentifying Information

The Department of Health and Welfare or other investigating children’s adoption agency prior to entry of the final order of adoption may provide medical and genetic information.

It is important to note that medical records do not include the birth parent’s names or any other identifying information.

Citation: Ann. Code § 39-259A: Mutual Access to Identifying Information

The State Registrar of Vital Statistics keeps track of all adoption records. Providing the adoptee and/or birth parents have consented to the release of their identifying information, an adult adoptee, a birth parent, and an adult sibling may request access to these adoption records.

If the birth parent has not or does not consent to contact with the adoptee, then identifying records cannot and will not be provided.

Courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.

Post Adoption Contact Laws in Idaho

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.

This issue is not addressed in the Idaho state statutes. It would be best to seek an adoption lawyer or other licensed adoption representative to obtain their professional advice regarding birth parent in the state of Idaho.

When are Adoption Birth Certificates Issued in Idaho?

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.