Are you considering adopting a child in Massachusetts? Adoption is a beautiful way to grow your family and provide a child with a loving, forever home. Choosing to adopt a baby is the start of an incredible journey. It is a journey of love, patience, and, at times, paperwork. If you are just getting started, we understand the adoption process can be intimidating.
There are many steps in the domestic infant adoption process, and adoption laws and processes vary state to state. It is important for you to understand each choice you can make throughout the domestic adoption process.
Follow these five steps to learn how to adopt a child in Massachusetts.
- Choose an adoption professional
You have decided you want to pursue a domestic infant adoption, but which adoption agency will best help you with the process? Massachusetts is an “agency” state, meaning you are required to work with a licensed adoption agency. Choosing an adoption agency is a crucial first step for Massachusetts families hoping to adopt. Adoption agencies can help you navigate the adoption process, answer your questions along the way, and help to create the best adoption plan.
Adopting domestically in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can be done through a private adoption agency or through the foster care system. Many children within the foster care system are not eligible for foster care adoption, and many of the children who are eligible are older. If you have your heart set on adopting an infant or young toddler, consider working with a private adoption agency in MA.
How do you find the best private adoption agency for your family? Seek out an adoption agency that has years of experience, good testimonials, and that is licensed by the Commonwealth. It is also helpful to seek an agency that is “full service” and can support you from beginning to end. Some agencies only offer the home study, so asking about their scope of services is an important step.
Working with a local, private Massachusetts adoption agency allows you to personalize your adoption plan. You can meet face-to-face with social workers to talk through the laws of the state in which your child is born, as well as your hopes and concerns in designing an adoption plan that is comfortable for you. At Adoptions With Love, our goal is to match you with a birth mother and child within six months to a year of completing your adoption home study. Our approach is very personal with a lot of hands on support.
- Complete an adoption application, training, and a home study
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires all potential adoptive parents to complete a thorough application process. This goes beyond filling out paperwork. To get approved to adopt a child in Massachusetts, prospective parents need to complete an extensive home study and the required baby care training courses to prepare for parenthood.
A home study is a 2-3-month process to educate you and prepare you for adoption. It allows us to understand your home environment, your familial relationships, and your personal background. Home study requirements differ state to state. Only a licensed adoption professional can assess your home and determine if you meet the Massachusetts adoption requirements. Your social worker will guide you through this home study process while also preparing to match you with expectant parents who are hoping to find the perfect family for the baby. The home study assesses things like:
- Your financial, physical, and mental stability
- Home safety and security
- State and Federal background checks
- Family dynamics and parenting outlook
- Your ability to raise a child into adulthood
Though the home study process may be nerve-wracking, it is nothing to sweat. Your adoption social worker is there to support you through the entire adoption process. At Adoptions With Love, the home study is also an educational process; we are looking for the best home for each child, while also making sure we find the best fit for you and your family.
- Create an Adoptive Family Profile
Once you have completed the home study process, it is time to share information about you as a prospective adoptive family. If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, we will assist you to create an Adoptive Parent Profile. This profile is a compilation of photos, letters, and information that will help prospective birth parents get to know you and your family. This is the first impression you will have on expectant mothers, so it is crucial to put a lot of thought and dedication into your adoption profile. Some of the things you will want to include in your adoption profile include:
- Your story – which may include your childhood, love story, journey to parenthood, etc.
- Photos of your family doing things you love
- Information about your family make-up
- Your personal hobbies and interests
- Details of your personal values, such as religious beliefs
- Photos of your life – home, friends, travel experiences, etc.
- Goals for your child’s (and your family’s) future
- Your adoption story, and how you will share it with your child
To get a better sense of how to get started, read our blog on creating your Adoptive Parent Profile.
Not only do we help you design your adoption profile and draft letters to expectant mothers, but Adoptions With Love connects you with expectant parents. We work with expectant/birth parents from across the United States.
- Meet or establish contact with the expectant mother
If an expectant/birth mother chooses to make an open adoption plan, she may ask to meet or speak with you before the adoption occurs and sometimes prior to the baby’s birth. A licensed adoption agency can facilitate this contact, whether it be through an in-person meeting or via the phone or email. In this conversation, you will have the opportunity to get to know one another, ask questions, and discuss ongoing contact. If all parties choose to have a face-to-face visit, you may travel to the state in which an expectant/birth mother resides.
- Finalize the adoption
In each state, there is a specified period birth mothers must wait before signing legal papers and making a final decision regarding adoption. In Massachusetts, birth parents must wait four days after the baby’s birth to sign any adoption papers.
Once you have signed the necessary adoption papers and welcomed baby home, you can expect a series of home visits from your adoption social worker. These post-placement visits will allow your social worker to see how well you and your baby are adjusting and offer any further support.
The next phase to complete the adoption, of course, is your adoption finalization hearing. This court day is very special for adoptive families in Massachusetts. You may choose to mark the occasion with a post-court celebration with family and friends, as this is the day you are officially your child’s parent.
Life After Adopting in Massachusetts
Remember, the adoption process does not end once the adoption is finalized. Adoption is a lifelong journey, and for you, it is just the beginning of a new happy life. Your relationship with your child’s birth parents will, hopefully, be an ongoing one. Research shows that children in open adoptions are happier than those in closed arrangements. Your adoption agency can help guide you through the process of agreeing to an open adoption plan with your child’s birth mother. They can also help facilitate these interactions with the birth parent for up to 18 years after your child’s birth. The level and frequency of communication may be negotiated to make everyone involved happy, with a special focus on the best interests of your little one.
Adoptions With Love is a non-profit, domestic, full-service adoption agency in Massachusetts that has been successfully creating families since 1986. If you are a Massachusetts resident hoping to grow your family through adoption, contact us to begin the process. We are here for you. Contact us anytime, day or night, at 617-964-4357 or contact us here.