Adoption is a profound journey that brings families together and changes lives forever. For prospective parents in Colorado, understanding the adoption process is crucial for navigating this emotional and legal undertaking successfully. Let’s explore the ins and outs of adoption in Colorado, including key laws, procedures, and considerations for prospective parents. Additionally, we’ll delve into the topic of adoption by same-sex couples, highlighting the legal landscape and recent developments in Colorado.

Understanding Adoption in Colorado

  1. Types of Adoption: In Colorado, there are several types of adoption, including domestic adoption, international adoption, and foster care adoption. Domestic adoption involves adopting a child who is born in the United States and may involve private agencies or adoption facilitators. International adoption refers to the adoption of a child from another country, while foster care adoption involves adopting a child who is in the foster care system.
  2. Legal Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents in Colorado must meet certain legal requirements to adopt a child. These requirements may include being at least 21 years old, completing a home study evaluation, and undergoing background checks. Additionally, Colorado law requires adoptive parents to attend pre-adoption training and counseling.1
  3. Home Study Process: The home study is a critical component of the adoption process in Colorado. It involves an evaluation of the prospective adoptive parents’ home environment, background, and readiness to adopt. A licensed social worker or agency conducts the home study and submits a report to the court, recommending whether the prospective parents are suitable for adoption.2
  4. Consent and Termination of Parental Rights: Before an adoption can proceed, the parental rights of the biological parents must be terminated. This can occur voluntarily through consent or involuntarily through termination proceedings initiated by the court. In Colorado, consent to adoption must be given by the biological mother (if living), the biological father if known, and any legal guardians of the child.3

Adoption by Same-Sex Couples in Colorado

  1. Legal Recognition: Colorado law recognizes the right of same-sex couples to adopt children jointly. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, granting married same-sex couples the same rights and privileges as opposite-sex couples, including the right to adopt.4
  2. Second-Parent Adoption: In cases where one partner in a same-sex couple is the biological or adoptive parent of a child, the other partner may seek to become the child’s legal parent through second-parent adoption. Second-parent adoption allows both partners to have equal parental rights and responsibilities, providing legal security and stability for the child.5 HB22-1153,6 enacted in 2022, recognized that if a child is conceived or born as a result of an assisted reproduction procedure, the person who did not give birth is a parent or a presumed parent, streamlining the adoption process and removing the requirement for home visits, fingerprinting or criminal record searches, and in-person court hearings.
  3. Legal Precedent: Colorado has a history of supporting adoption by same-sex couples. In 2007, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a lesbian couple seeking to adopt a child born through artificial insemination, affirming their parental rights and recognizing the validity of their marriage.7
  4. Anti-Discrimination Laws: Colorado law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in adoption proceedings. This means that same-sex couples cannot be denied the opportunity to adopt solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.8

Adoption is a profound and life-changing journey that requires careful consideration and legal guidance. For prospective parents in Colorado, understanding the legal landscape and requirements surrounding adoption is essential for a successful adoption process. Whether pursuing domestic adoption, international adoption, or foster care adoption, prospective parents can find support and resources to navigate the complexities of adoption in Colorado. Additionally, for same-sex couples, Colorado’s recognition of their right to adopt provides assurance that they can build loving and legally recognized families.

By staying informed and seeking guidance from experienced adoption professionals, prospective parents can embark on their adoption journey with confidence, knowing that they are taking the necessary steps to welcome a child into their family and provide them with a loving and supportive home.


  1. Colorado Revised Statutes § 19-5-203
  2. Colorado Revised Statutes § 19-5-203.5
  3. Colorado Revised Statutes § 19-5-203, § 19-5-208
  4. Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015)
  5. Colorado Revised Statutes § 19-5-205.5
  6. HB22-1153, The Affirm Parentage Adoption In Assisted Reproduction
  7. In re: the Parental Responsibilities Concerning G.R. and G.R., 167 P.3d 1 (Colo. App. 2007)
  8. Colorado Revised Statutes § 24-34-601
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