Massachusetts Adoption Laws and Policies

You have many adoption options, and this is the perfect place to begin exploring them. Below, you’ll find Massachusetts adoption laws and policies and find adoption agencies and attorneys who work with families in Massachusetts.

A red building on the water, representing Massachusetts adoption laws and policies

Each state maintains its own adoption policies, so the process can vary considerably for families in different states. As a Massachusetts resident, you’ll want to work with an adoption agency or adoption attorney who is very familiar with Massachusetts adoption laws and policies. Below, learn all about the legal guidelines for families adopting in Massachusetts whether you’re adopting a newborn through domestic adoption, an infant or older child from U.S. foster care adoption, or a child through international adoption.

You’ll also find a link to adoption agencies and adoption lawyers offering services to Massachusetts families.

See all Massachusetts adoption agencies >

See all Massachusetts adoption attorneys >


Who Can Adopt in Massachusetts?

A single or married couple jointly, unless the court grants petition that excuses one spouse. A minor may adopt with his or her spouse if adopting the biological child of either spouse.

Can LGBT families adopt? Yes, same-sex couples can petition for joint adoption.

Massachusetts Domestic Adoption Laws

Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? No.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes, if child is a state resident and probate court permits it.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Yes, only a licensed or approved placement agency may act as an adoption facilitator.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical, legal, counseling, plus their related transportation. Living allowed when birth mother unable to pay due to pregnancy. Up to $ in lodging, food, utilities, and clothing. Up to $500/mo. in educational, vocational, recreational, religious services. Payments must be made through agency. Up to 2 round-trip airfares for birth parent to in-state agency for adoption services. Payments must be made directly to third party. Contingent payments prohibited. Max. 8 mos., with 6 mos. Prebirth max.

Is there a putative father registry? Yes, but court demands notice to father regardless.

When can consent to adoption be granted? Four days after birth.

 When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? When consent is signed. Return is not automatic.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Yes, as long as the agreement is in writing and approved by the court. An agreement will cease to be enforceable when the adopted person turns 18 years old.

Massachusetts International Adoption Laws

Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Yes, if the decree is by a court following due process of law, the state will recognize the adopted child’s succession to property rights.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Not addressed in state statutes.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The state will accept an original birth certificate, or other written evidence of birth, and a certified copy of the adoption decree by the adopting parent (only if MA resident) of a child born outside of the U.S. These documents will serve as evidence establishing the birth or adoption of the child once they are filed by the town clerk.

Adoption from Foster Care in Massachusetts

Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, adoption subsidies are available for a special needs child as defined by one of the following: member of an ethnic or cultural minority, member of a sibling group of 3 or more, member of a sibling group of 2 if one child is 8 years or older, has or is at risk for developing a mental, emotional, physical, behavioral or medical condition as diagnosed by a licensed professional. Child must be in the custody of and the adoption must be sponsored by the Dept. of Children and Families. Starts upon finalization.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in Massachusetts?


Program Manager: Joy Cochran

Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
600 Washington Street, 6th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02111
Phone: (617) 748-2167
Fax: (617) 261-7437
[email protected]


DISCLAIMER: The state laws and policies outlined above are offered to readers only for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the state laws were accurate at the time of compilation, but Adoptive Families cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent changes or revisions to the laws. Please do not rely on the information above without first consulting an adoption attorney licensed in your state. Updated in November 2014.


Copyright © 1999-2021 Adoptive Families Magazine®. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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