How to Adopt in New Hampshire

New Hampshire isn't just the birthplace of Segway; it's also the birthplace of many children up for adoption and 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 New Hampshire.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in New Hampshire

To be eligible to become an Adoptive Parent in New Hampshire, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a clear criminal background check
  • Have a clear child abuse and neglect history check
  • Have sufficient income to support the child
  • Whether single or married, have an established household and support system of at least 2 years
  • Have good mental and physical health, with expected good health through the adoptees childhood
  • Have sufficient space and safety accommodations in the home
  • Have a maximum of 5 children in a single-parent home and 7 children for a couple
  • Complete 8 hours of preservice training

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in New Hampshire?

Expenses related to adoption in New Hampshire range widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Are you looking to adopt internationally or domestically? Through a private agency or the foster care system? Depending on what you decide, Adoptive Parents may be asked to cover adoption-related expenses such as:

  • Reasonable expenses for adoption services by an agency
  • Legal fees
  • Counseling services
  • Medical bills
  • Living expenses for the Birth Mom up to 6 weeks after she gives birth to the child
  • Reasonable expenses for transportation, housing, clothing, and meals

Expenses not allowed include education for the Birth Parents, gifts of more than a $50 value, and other direct payments to the Birth Parents in exchange for the adoption.

How do you become a Foster Parent in New Hampshire?

To become a Foster Parent in New Hampshire, you must be at least 21 years old. In addition, you may:

  • Be single, married, divorced or widowed
  • Own or rent a home
  • Have previous parenting experience or none at all
  • Already have children in your care or none at all

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

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 New Hampshire.

Who must consent to an adoption in New Hampshire?

Consent to adoption and surrender of parental rights of the child must be given by:

  • The Birth Mom, and her legal guardian if she is under 18
  • The legal Father, and his legal guardian if he is under 18
  • The Birth Father, and his legal guardian if he is under 18
  • The legal guardian of the child if both parents have died or surrendered their parental rights
  • The department or adoption agency having custody of the child
  • The adoptee if they are at least 14 years old

When is consent not necessary for adoption in New Hampshire?

Consent to adoption will not be required of the following:

  • An Alleged Father who is found to not be the Birth Father
  • A parent whose rights have been terminated
  • The parent of the adoptee if the adoptee is an adult
  • A Birth Father who has been convicted of a sexual offense that lead to the conception of the child

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in New Hampshire?

Consent to adoption may not be given until at least 72 hours after the child is born.

It must be made in writing and signed before a court in the county he or she resides. For a minor Birth Parent, the court may require consent to be given by his or her parent or guardian as well. The consent form must state the following:

  • Whether the adoptee is a Native American child
  • Whether the Birth Parent knows the identity of the Adoptive Parents
  • That the parent has been informed of counseling services and provided legal counsel
  • An acknowledgment that the surrender is final and may not be revoked
  • An acknowledgement that all parental obligations, other than accrued child support, will be extinguished
  • That the parent has not received or been promised any money or anything of value for the surrender except for permissible payments
  • That the parent has read and understands the terms of the consent and still wishes it to take effect

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, a Birth Parent may, in writing, request to revoke his or her consent to adoption. It must be submitted before the entry of the final adoption decree and the court must find that:

  • The consent was obtained under fraud or duress
  • The revocation is in the best interest of the child

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in New Hampshire?

The term ‘Birth Father’ means a person or persons other than a Legal Father who has been named as the Father of the child, or who is the subject of a pending paternity action, or who has filed an unrevoked notice of intent to claim paternity of the child.

The term ‘Legal Father’ means:

  • The person designated as the Father on that child’s birth certificate
  • The person designated as the Father pursuant to a court order resulting from a paternity action
  • The person designated as the Father upon legitimation
  • The person who was determined by the court to be married to the Birth Mother at the time of conception, birth, or any time between conception and birth

In New Hampshire, a Putative Father Registry has been established to give unmarried men who want to establish paternity and parental rights of a child the right to receive notice of adoption proceedings and the opportunity to prove their paternity. For entry to the registry to be valid, a man must register before the Birth Mother surrenders her parental rights.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in New Hampshire

Prospective Adoptive Parents in New Hampshire are required to complete 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 New Hampshire, the home study application process will require:

  • A signed application
  • Financial statements to include income, expenses and assets
  • A medical examination within the previous 6 months
  • The applicants’ religious preference, if any
  • At least 5 references from people who have known the applicants at least 2 years, 1 of which may be a family member

The home study assessment will include:

  • At least 1 home visit
  • Individual and joint interviews with the applicants
  • All members of the household
  • The reason for choosing adoption
  • How the couple has dealt with their infertility, if applicable
  • The family’s feeling about the adoption
  • How the applicants will explain the adoption to the child

In New Hampshire, a home study will be conducted by a child-placing agency and will assess the Prospective Parents and all members currently living in the home.

Why would my home study not be approved in New Hampshire?

A home study in New Hampshire will not be approved if anyone living in the household is found to have a record of child abuse or neglect and the Department of Children, Youth and Families finds they would be a threat to the child’s safety.

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

A home study may not be required for stepparent or relative adoptions if the court finds it unnecessary. For stepparent adoptions, pre-adoption training is not necessary if the child has been in their care for at least 6 months.

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 New Hampshire, a post placement assessment requires the case worker to:

  • Contact the Adoptive Family within the first 3 weeks of the child being placed into the home
  • Meet in person with the Adoptive Family at least once every two months until the adoption is finalized
  • Conduct at least 2 in-home visits

New Hampshire Adoption Agencies and Professionals

New Hampshire 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:

Adoptive Families for Children

603-686-7716

New Hope for Children

603-842-4794

Bethany Christian Services

603-483-2886

Things to do in New Hampshire

If you find yourself in New Hampshire waiting to meet your new child or to finalize the adoption process, spend some time visiting the states popular sites:

Franconia Notch State Park in Franconia

Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center in North Conway

Market Square in Portsmouth

Kancamagus Highway in North Conway

The Mount Washington Cog Railway in North Conway

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 New Hampshire. 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.