Adoption By City

How to Adopt in Massachusetts

Massachusetts isn't just the home to famous people like Boston Harbor; it's also home to many families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in Massachusetts.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Massachusetts

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked questions about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Massachusetts.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Massachusetts?

To be eligible to become an Adoptive Parent in Massachusetts, you must be at least 18 years old and a permanent resident of the state. Single, unmarried couples, married couples, and same-sex couples may apply to adopt a child.

How do you become a Foster Parent in Massachusetts?

The requirements to become a Foster Parent in Massachusetts include the following:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Rent or own a home with living spaces that meet the State’s safety requirements
  • Have a stable income to support the child
  • Complete and pass a criminal background check

In addition to these requirements, you will need to complete preservice training and in-home interviews from a licensed social worker.

What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in Massachusetts?

An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated.

In Massachusetts, it is illegal for anyone other than a licensed adoption or child-placing agency to facilitate any adoption-related services.

Click here to read about the difference between adoption agencies, attorneys, and facilitators.

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Massachusetts

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in Massachusetts.

Who must consent to an adoption in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, consent to adoption must be given by the following:

  • The Birth Mother only, if they child was born out of wedlock
  • The lawful parents, who may be previous Adoptive Parents
  • A surviving parent
  • The child’s spouse, if any

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Massachusetts?

Consent to adoption in Massachusetts is not required from a legal guardian if:

  • The adoptee is over 18 years old
  • The court finds the adoption in the child’s best interest because the parents are deemed unfit

A parent or guardian may be deemed unfit for the following reasons:

  • They abandoned the child
  • They abused or neglected the child
  • They failed to provide proper care or custody of the child
  • The child has been in out-of-home placement for at least 6 months and the parents have not maintained significant and meaningful contact with the child
  • The child is age 4 or older and has been in the custody of the department for at least 12 of the past 15 months and cannot be returned home
  • The child is younger than age 4 and has been in the custody of the department for at least 6 of the past 12 months and cannot be returned home
  • The child formed a strong, positive bond with their caregiver as a result of the parent’s lengthy absence
  • The child was subjected to severe or repeated physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • The parent willfully failed to visit and support the child
  • The parent’s conviction of a felony will deprive the child of a stable home
  • The parent suffers from a mental deficiency, mental illness, or drug or alcohol addiction that eaves them unable to care for the child

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Massachusetts?

Once consent is given, it is final and irrevocable as long as it was obtained in accordance of the law.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Massachusetts?

A ‘Presumed Father’ is a man who:

  • Is married to the Birth Mother and the child was born during the marriage, or within 300 days after the marriage was terminated by death, annulment, or divorce
  • Before the child’s birth, married or attempted to marry the Birth Mother, but the attempted marriage is declared invalid, and the child was born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days after its termination
  • After the child’s birth, married or attempted to marry the Birth Mother, but the attempted marriage is declared invalid, and:
    • He voluntarily agreed to support the child with a written promise
    • He engaged in any other conduct that can be construed as an acknowledgment of paternity
  • While the child is under the age of majority, he, and the Birth Mother, received the child into their home and openly held out the child as their child
  • Has acknowledged paternity in a parental responsibility claim, and the Birth Mother has failed within a reasonable time to object

In Massachusetts, a man who is married to a child’s Birth Mom is assumed to the child’s Birth Father, therefore granting his parental rights to the child. For a child born out of wedlock, a man must establish his paternity to have parental rights to the child. Paternity can be established with a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity where both he and the Birth Mom agree to his parentage of the child, or by filing for a court order.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Massachusetts

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Massachusetts are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

The home study is a critical component to the adoption process. While it is to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support, it is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to ask questions and prepare for the adoption. A home study is ultimately a recommendation as to the fitness of the applicants to become Adoptive Parents.

In Massachusetts, the home study will include at least 1 home visit, interviews with the applicants and others living in the home, and assess the following regarding the Prospective Parents:

  • Reason for choosing adoption
  • Emotional stability
  • Social, education and health histories
  • A description of the home
  • A description of the family dynamic, including pets
  • The family’s attitude toward the adoption
  • The parenting abilities and discipline styles
  • Evidence of birth, marriage, and divorce certificates, if applicable
  • Proof of financial stability
  • Ability to meet the child’s physical, developmental, emotional, and educational needs

The Prospective Parents must also provide 3 references and all members living in the home who are at least 14 years old must pass a criminal background check.

Who oversees a home study in Massachusetts and who is included in it?

A home study in Massachusetts will be conducted by a licensed social worker and must include all members of the household who are 14 years or older.

Why would my home study not be approved in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, a home study will not be approved if the applicant:

  • Engages in or has engaged in conduct that results in his or her child being adjudicated in need of care and protection
  • Uses alcohol or drugs to an extent that impairs his or her ability to care for children
  • Has engaged in conduct that resulted in a CORI report, which shows records of:
    • Arrests pending criminal charges
    • Offenses involving sexual or physical abuse
    • Offenses involving children
    • Violent or drug-related crimes, including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
    • Restraining order
    • Offenses involving abuse of adult or child family members.

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Massachusetts?

For a stepparent or relative adoption in Massachusetts, a home study may not be required, but the applicants will still be required to undergo a criminal background check. The Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner for Field Operations, and General Counsel will then determine if the adoption is in the best interest of the child

What are the home study requirements for adopting a baby from another state?

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

Before the adoption has been finalized, a post placement assessment will take place to ensure the transition into adoption is going well and that the Adoptive Family's circumstances have not changed to no longer fit the child's best interest.

In Massachusetts, monthly supervisory contacts will take place no later than 2 weeks after the child is placed in the home until the final adoption decree if ordered. The contacts must be face-to-face at least every other month and 2 must be in-home visits.

During the post placement process, the person conducting the assessment will:

  • Assist the Adoptive Parents in finding necessary services for the child
  • Provide the Adoptive Parents of postponement of the legalization of the adoption, if applicable, along with reasons why and possible timeframes
  • Provide updated medical and psychological information from the Birth Family
  • Assist the Adoptive Parents in maintaining contact with the child’s siblings, if appropriate

What are the requirements for a Foster to Adopt placement in Massachusetts?

When a Foster Child is eligible for adoption, their Foster Parents will be notified. They will be able to adopt the child if they notify the agency within 2 weeks of learning that the child is eligible for adoption and if the child has been in their care for at least 6 months.

Massachusetts Adoption Professionals

Massachusetts is home to some amazing adoption professionals who are ready to get your journey started. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or seeking resources to place your child for adoption, these professionals will guide you through the legal pathways and offer you support throughout your journey:

Adoptions with Love, Inc.

800-722-7731

A Full Circle Adoptions

800-452-3678

Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, Inc.

617-964-6273

Ascentria Adoption Services

774-243-3962

Things to do in Massachusetts

If your adoption journey brings you to Massachusetts, visit some of the States most famous and historic sites:

Fenway Park in Boston

John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library in Boston

New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum in Boston

Whaling Museum in Nantucket

A note from Adoption Network Law Center

No matter your decision, we appreciate the time you have taken to read about how to adopt in Massachusetts. Adoption Network Law Center wishes you the best of luck and is available to answer any further questions you may have about the adoption process. Call 1-866-602-9541 to speak with one of our amazing team members or visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/ to read more about our services. Whether you’re a soon-to-be Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent, ANLC wishes you the best on your adoption journey.