It’s a wonderful and rewarding process to adopt a child, whether you’re bringing a new child into your family or obtaining parental rights to a child you’ve already been the parent of. The process can bring a family closer together, but it’s important that parents know the requirements of adoption in Nebraska.

Types of Adoption in Nebraska

Adoption can be done through two main avenues: private adoption and foster adoption.

  • Private Adoptions: This may be done through a private adoption agency or directly between adoptive and biological parents. In private adoptions, biological parents have chosen to give up their parental rights to the adoptive parents.
  • Foster Adoptions: A foster adoption occurs when the child is a ward of the state because their biological parent’s rights were terminated. Foster adoptions generally occur after the parents have been the child’s foster family for some amount of time.

Each adoption can also have different levels of communication between birth parents, adoptive parents, and children.

  • Open Adoptions: This form of adoption provides open communication between all parties. An open adoption is not the same as co-parenting, as the biological parents have no parental rights, and the adoptive parents are the child’s legal parents. However, there may be visits, letters, phone calls, and other forms of communication between the biological parent and the adoptive parents, and the child.
  • Closed Adoptions: This type of adoption means there is no communication between any of the parties. This may be the request of the adoptive parents or the biological parents.

Additional types of adoption include:

  • Stepparent Adoption

    A stepparent adoption is done by a biological parent and their spouse. Often, the child’s other legal parent has passed or is no longer involved in the child’s life, and the spouse wants to have the rights and responsibilities of a legal parent. This brings a family closer together and also ensures that if parents separate or the current legal parent passes, the adoptive parent has legal rights and responsibilities to the child.

    Two requirements must be met to be considered eligible for stepparent adoption:

    1. The stepparent looking to adopt must be married to the child’s legal and/or biological parent, and
    2. The stepparent has lived with the child for at least six months before filing for adoption.

    For a stepparent to adopt a child, both the spouse and the other legal parent must consent to the adoption.

  • International Adoption

    An international adoption is the adoption of a child from another country. The requirements depend on the country the child is from and the agency adoptive parents go through. International adoption often has higher costs than other forms of adoption.

  • Adult Adoption

    Adult adoption is when a person 19 years or older in Nebraska is adopted. Adult adoptions are less common but do happen. They most often happen as part of a stepparent adoption or when the adult and child have had a parent-child relationship for at least six months before the child turns 19. Other requirements include:

    1. The child has no living parents, or
    2. The child’s parents no longer have parental rights due to any competent court’s order, or
    3. The parents have relinquished the adult child for adoption, or
    4. The parents have abandoned the child for a minimum of 6 months before the child turns 19, or
    5. The parents are incapable of consenting.

Legal Adoption Requirements in Nebraska

Under Nebraska law, any adult can choose to adopt a minor child. A child over the age of 14, however, must consent to the adoption. Additional requirements include:

  • A married couple must jointly adopt the child, assuming one is not already the legal parent
  • The adoption of a minor requires home residency for six months prior to finalizing the adoption

A valid adoption includes:

  • The person adopting meets the age requirements and other requirements allowing them to adopt in Nebraska, including training classes and a home study
  • The child or adult being adopted meets the eligibility requirements for adoption
  • Parties comply with the adoption procedures
  • There is evidence that adoption is in the child’s interests

A home study in Nebraska ensures that a person’s home is fit for a minor child. It includes home visits, interviews with social workers, personal references, work history, and background checks.


Q: How Much Does It Cost To Adopt a Child in Nebraska?

A: There is no cost to adopt a child from the foster care system, except for the significant investment it takes to raise a child. From an independent or private adoption agency, the cost ranges from $25,000 to $60,000. This is due to costs associated with adoption attorneys, court fees, the birth parent’s medical costs, social services, adoptive parent preparation, and more.

Q: What Are the Adoption Laws in Nebraska?

A: Any child eligible for adoption in Nebraska may be adopted, but if the child is over the age of 14, they must consent to the adoption. The person adopting the child must also be eligible and comply with the statutory requirements of adoption. The adoption must also be in the child’s interest.

Q: What Is the Minimum Age to Adopt in Nebraska?

A: A person must be at least 19 years old to adopt a child in Nebraska. They must also have the financial ability to support and care for a child and have the physical and mental capacity to provide for the child’s needs. There is also a residency requirement in Nebraska of 6 months before the adoption is finalized.

Q: Is Independent Adoption Legal in Nebraska?

A: Yes, independent adoptions are legal in Nebraska. For adoptions that are not through a private agency or the state, the biological parents are provided independent legal counsel that the adoptive parents pay for before parental rights are relinquished and the adoption is completed. Biological parents must also be offered counseling that the adoptive parent pays for before adoption occurs. There must be proof that the biological parents declined or went through counseling.

Stange Law Firm: Bringing Your Lincoln Family Closer Together

Whether you’re a stepparent hoping to have legal parental rights and responsibilities or a parent looking to adopt, Stange Law Firm can help. Our experienced family law attorneys can help you understand the process and determine the legal steps available to you. Contact our team today.