Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–309. Adoption proceedings.

(a) Within a period of ninety days, or such time as extended by the court, after a copy of the petition and the order providing for the report is served upon the agency directed to make the investigation, the agency shall make the report and recommendation required by section 16-307 to the court and thereupon the court shall proceed to act upon the petition.

(b) After considering the petition, the consents, and such evidence as the parties and any other properly interested person may present, the court may enter a final or interlocutory decree of adoption when it is satisfied that:

(1) the prospective adoptee is physically, mentally, and otherwise suitable for adoption by the petitioner;

(2) the petitioner is fit and able to give the prospective adoptee a proper home and education;

(3) the adoption will be for the best interests of the prospective adoptee; and

(4) the adoption form has been completed by the petitioner pursuant to [§ 7-231.19].

(b-1) In determining whether the petitioner will be able to give the prospective adoptee a proper home and education, the court shall give due consideration to any assurance by the Mayor that he will provide or contribute funds for the necessary maintenance or medical care of the prospective adoptee under an adoption subsidy agreement under § 4-301.

(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a final decree of adoption may not be entered unless the prospective adoptee has been living with the petitioner for at least 6 months (“6-month requirement”).

(2) A prospective adoptee shall be exempt from the 6-month requirement if he or she is 18 years of age or older.

(d) If it appears to be in the interest of the prospective adoptee, the court may enter an interlocutory decree of adoption, which shall by its terms automatically become a final decree of adoption on a day therein named, not less than six months nor more than one year, from the date of entry of the interlocutory decree, unless in the interim the decree shall have been set aside for cause shown. The supervising agency shall be permitted to visit the adoptee during the period of the interlocutory decree.

(e) The court may revoke its interlocutory decree for good cause shown at any time before it becomes a final decree, either on its own motion or on the motion of one of the parties to the adoption. Before the revocation, notice shall be given thereof to all those persons or parties who were given notice of the original petition for adoption, and an opportunity for all of them to be heard.

(f) All proceedings with reference to adoption shall be of a confidential nature and shall be held in chambers or in a sealed courtroom with as little publicity as the court deems appropriate.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 540, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; Jan. 2, 1974, 87 Stat. 1061, Pub. L. 93-241, § 2(b); Oct. 8, 1981, D.C. Law 4-34, § 29(e), 28 DCR 3271; Mar. 24, 1998, D.C. Law 12-81, § 10(a), 45 DCR 745; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-230, § 603, 57 DCR 6951; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-164, § 203(a), 65 DCR 9324.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-309.

1973 Ed., § 16-309.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-230 rewrote subsec. (c), which had read as follows: “(c) A final decree of adoption may not be entered unless the prospective adoptee has been living with the petitioner for at least six months.”

References in Text

The “Vital Records Act of 1981,” referred to in paragraph (b)(4), is D.C. Law 4-34.