New York Adoption Laws and Policies

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

Understanding New York Adoption Laws and Policies

Each state maintains its own adoption policies, so the process can vary considerably for families in different states. As a New York resident, you’ll want to work with an adoption agency or adoption attorney who is very familiar with New York adoption laws and policies. Below, you’ll find adoption agencies and adoption lawyers offering services to New York families. Scroll past the listings to learn all about the legal guidelines for families adopting in New York 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.



Who Can Adopt in New York?

A single adult, a married adult couple jointly, a married adult singly if legally separated from his/her spouse, or a minor adult or adult spouse if the child is of the other spouse.

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

Domestic Adoption Laws in New York

Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? Not addressed in state statutes.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes, but courts prefer to work with in-state adoptive parents, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Yes, but only an authorized agency or parent, legal guardian, or relative with the second degree of the child can place a child.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical, legal, counseling, living (housing, maternity and baby clothes, transportation). From 60 days pre-birth to 30 days post-partum, unless court finds extraordinary circumstances to extend.

Is there a putative father registry? Yes.

When can consent to adoption be granted? Any time after birth. A man denying paternity may make an irrevocable denial before the birth of the child.

 When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? Private adoption: 45 days after signing and transfer of child to adoptive parents; agency adoption: usually after 30 days. Revocation of the consent triggers a “best interests” hearing if the adoptive parents or agency choose to contest the revocation.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Yes, but only if the agreement is incorporated into a written court order and enforcement is in the best interest of the child.

International Adoption Laws in New York

Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Not addressed in state statutes.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Yes, adopting parents can petition to their county court to readopt a child adopted abroad as long as they provide proof of adoption finalization. Whether or not it’s mandatory is not addressed in the state statutes.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The commissioner will issue a birth certificate to an adopted child 18 years or younger upon receipt of the adoption decree.

Adoption from Foster Care in New York

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: is handicapped (i.e. has a physical, mental, or emotional condition that makes the child hard-to-place as determined by the Office of Children and Family Services), is a member of a sibling group of 2 children (half-siblings included) being placed together if one sibling is 5 years or older, or if one sibling is a member of a hard-to-place minority group, or if one sibling is special needs, is necessarily joining an already adopted sibling (or half-sibling) if the child is 5 years or older, or if the child is a member of a hard-to-place minority group, or if either sibling is special needs, is a member of sibling group of 3 or more children (including half-siblings) being placed together, is 8 years or older and of a hard-to-place minority group, is 10 years or older, has attachment to adopting foster care parents with whom s/he has lived for 12 months prior to an adoption placement, or has not been placed within 6 months for adoption. In addition, the child must be 21 years or younger and in the custody of social services, an authorized agency, or authorized foster parent. Subsidies start in most cases at adoption finalization.

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

New York Licensing Office Contact

Sarah Gabriels, Esq.
Permanency Policy Analyst; New York State Office of Children and Family Services
(212) 383-4713
[email protected]

New York Adoption Unit

Program Manager: Carol McCarthy

New York State Adoption Service
52 Washington Street
Room 332 North
Rensselaer, New York 12144
Phone: (518) 473-5754
Toll-Free: (800) 345-5437
Fax: (518) 486-6326
[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.

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