Consent is an important part of the adoption process. “Consent” is an agreement to the adoption. All consents must be in writing and filed with the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The following people must agree to the adoption:
- A child over twelve must consent to his or her own adoption.
- If the child is married, his spouse must also consent.
- If the child is under 18, the child’s parents must consent or their legal rights must have been ended by a court.
- If a child is born to an unmarried woman, the mother must consent, and the court will want to find the father and have him agree as well. The father may have filed a claim with DCF saying that he is willing to accept responsibility if the mother cannot take care of the child (an admission of paternity). A court may have declared him to be the father (a paternity adjudication). If neither of those are true, the court will still try to notify the father. The birth mother will be asked for the name and address of the father, or people who might be the father if she is not sure. If the father gets notice and doesn’t do anything, he will not be sent further notices and the child is free for adoption.
From the date of birth of a child, there is a four-day waiting period for biological parents to sign a written consent/voluntary surrender of the child for adoption.
If the surrender of a child for adoption occurs outside of Massachusetts, it is valid in Massachusetts if it was valid in the state or country where said surrender occurred.