Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption - Wisconsin

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Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.82

The following State residents are eligible to adopt:

  • A husband and wife jointly
  • A stepparent
  • An unmarried adult

Who May Be Adopted

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 48.81; 882.01

Any child present in the State may be adopted if any of the following criteria are met:

  • Both the child's parents are deceased.
  • The parental rights of both the child's parents have been terminated.
  • The parental rights of one of the child's parents have been terminated, and the child's other parent is deceased.
  • The person filing the petition for adoption is the spouse of the child's parent with whom the child and the child's parent reside and either of the following applies:
    • The child's other parent is deceased.
    • The parental rights of the child's other parent with respect to the child have been terminated.

An adult may be adopted by any other adult who is a resident.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 48.833; 48.837

The Department of Children and Families, a county department, or a licensed child welfare agency may place a child for adoption in a licensed foster home without a court order or if the department or agency is the guardian of the child or makes the placement at the request of another agency that is the guardian of the child, if the investigation made under § 48.75(3) has been supplemented to evaluate whether the home is suitable for the child, and if the proposed adoptive parents have completed the required preadoption preparation or the department or agency determines that the proposed adoptive parents are not required to complete that preparation.

In placing an Indian child for adoption, the department, county department, or child welfare agency shall comply with the order of placement preference under § 48.028, unless the department, county department, or child welfare agency finds good cause for departing from that order.

A parent having custody of a child may place the child for adoption in the home of a relative of the child without a court order.

When the proposed adoptive parents of a child reside in this State and are not relatives of the child, a parent having custody of a child and the proposed adoptive parents may petition the court for placement of the child for adoption in the home of the proposed adoptive parents if the home is licensed as a foster home.

When the proposed nonrelative adoptive parents of a child reside outside this State, a parent having custody of a child and the proposed adoptive parents of the child may petition the court for placement of the child for adoption in the home of the proposed adoptive parents if the home meets the criteria established by the laws of the other State for a preadoptive placement of a child in the home of a nonrelative.