Adoptions With Love Blog

Massachusetts Adoption Laws that Every Family Should Know

The following is not to be considered a replacement for legal counsel. Legal questions should be taken directly to an adoption professional, such as Adoptions With Love, as laws and regulations are constantly changing.

Adoption is a complex process. Every state in the U.S. establishes its own set of adoption laws. Massachusetts adoption laws may be different from those in another state, so it is important to turn to a Massachusetts adoption agency. This professional will guide you through the journey of adopting a child in Massachusetts or placing a child for adoption.

Whether you want to lovingly make an adoption plan for your child or to grow your family through adoption, we can help. Contact Adoptions With Love here for more information on starting the adoption journey.

In this guide, we will give you a better understanding of Massachusetts adoption laws and how they may impact your adoption plans. Whether you are an expectant/birth parent or ready to adopt, continue reading. We will share information for both parties looking to learn more.

This guide can be helpful, but it will never replace the real work of an adoption attorney. Adoptions With Love works with adoption attorneys who are experienced and well-versed in Massachusetts laws. They can answer any questions you may have regarding your adoption process and keep you informed of your rights. Call us at 800-722-7731 to learn more.

Who Can Adopt in Massachusetts?

Anyone who wishes to adopt a child in Massachusetts must be at least 18 years old. Thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2015, there are no longer any restrictions regarding sexuality or gender identification when adopting a child. Adoptions With Love welcomes families within the LGBTQIA+ community to adopt.

Anyone interested in adopting in Massachusetts must complete a home study first. This ensures that every family, and their home, is healthy, safe, and stable. The home study is a several-month-long process that involves at-home visits, interviews, and review of important documents, such as medical and financial records as well as criminal background checks. As a licensed agency in MA, Adoptions With Love follows all the required protocol in the state-mandated home study. We want to ensure that all families adopting are competent, responsible, and ready to bring a child into their home.

Who Can Be Adopted in Massachusetts?

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, anyone younger than the prospective adoptive parent may be adopted, except – of course – for a spouse or family member. Anyone over the age of 12 must consent to the adoption.

In most cases, the adoptee is a minor. A minor’s birth parents must first terminate their parental rights for the child to be eligible for adoption in Massachusetts. This cannot happen until at least four days after the child’s birth. After this four-day period, birth parents may sign a written consent allowing the adoption to take place. Birth parents can take as much time as they need to make their final decision, so it may be longer than four days before the papers are signed.

What Are the Massachusetts Adoption Laws Regarding Advertising?

In Massachusetts, it is illegal for anyone other than the state foster care or a licensed adoption agency to advertise for adoption. A private, licensed, non-profit adoption agency like Adoptions With Love can handle every step of the adoption process. The professionals of a reputable, experienced adoption agency oversee adoptions from the initial consultations to the final court proceedings. There are never any “loose ends” and – whether you are an adoptive parent or birth parent – your rights are always protected.

What About Birth Parent Expenses?

According to Massachusetts adoption laws, a licensed adoption agency can pay for allowable expenses supporting expectant/birth parents. There are time and amount limitations on this monetary support. Each state addresses this aspect of adoption differently.

Direct payment in exchange for placing a child for adoption is illegal in Massachusetts. Birth parent expenses, however, may be granted through a licensed adoption agency. The adoption fee paid by adoptive families helps to cover the costs of pregnancy, childbirth, and adoption services. Some of this assistance includes:

  • Rent
  • Medical bills
  • Transportation
  • Utilities
  • Maternity clothing
  • Food allowance

At Adoptions With Love, we understand that these costs can be burdensome for an expectant/birth mother. Facing an unexpected pregnancy is stressful enough. We can offer financial assistance during pregnancy and 6 to 8 weeks (about 2 months) after giving birth.

When and How Can Birth Parents Consent to Adoption in MA?

Massachusetts adoption laws dictate that a birth parent can terminate parental rights (consenting to adoption) no sooner than four days after the child is born. This gives a birth parent time to meet their baby and consider their decision before making it final. These forms, once signed, are irrevocable. At Adoptions With Love, birth mothers are urged to take all the time they need. There is no deadline, and it is never too late to make an adoption plan.

Consent forms must be completed in front of a notary public and two witnesses, according to Massachusetts adoption laws.

What Rights Do Birth Fathers Have in Massachusetts Adoptions?

Birth fathers’ rights are typically handled on a case-by-case basis. A man in Massachusetts, presumed to be the child’s father, has parental rights if he:

  • Is or was married to the birth mother when the child is born
  • Welcomed the child into his home and openly claimed the child is his
  • Acknowledged paternity in a parental responsibility claim that birth mother has failed to object to the claim within a reasonable period
  • Has established paternity by filing a voluntary acknowledgment with the child’s birth mother

It is best to discuss the circumstances of birth fathers with your adoption professional to get the most accurate information specific to your relationship.

Whether you are considering placing your child for adoption or looking to grow your family through adoption, it is helpful to understand some of the basic Massachusetts adoption laws. Of course, your trusted adoption professional can guide you even more throughout this journey.

To learn more about adoption in Massachusetts, please contact Adoptions With Love. Our caring staff can chat with you any time of day, any day of the week. Call us at 800-722-7731, or contact us online. We are here to help guide you through this adoption with care, compassion, and understanding.

If you are a hopeful parent looking to adopt in Massachusetts, you may also download our free eBook, “Massachusetts Adoptive Family FAQ” below:

Massachusetts Adoptive Family FAQ

If you are pregnant or have just given birth, and reside in Massachusetts, adoption is a positive option for you as well. You can learn more about the adoption process by downloading the below eBook for expectant/birth parents:

How to Place Your Baby for Adoption