You can adopt anybody younger than you are, as long as they are not your spouse, brother, sister, uncle or aunt.

A child under 14 must have lived with you for at least 6 months (the court can waive this in some cases).  

In Massachusetts, private adoption, where the birth mother makes an arrangement with the adoptive parents, is not allowed.  Instead, the adoption needs to meet of the following conditions:

  1. The child has been placed with you through the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or a licensed adoption agency.  OR
  2. The child is your blood relative OR
  3. The child is your step-child OR
  4. You were nominated in the will of the child’s dead parent to be the child’s guardian or adoptive parent OR
  5. DCF or an agency authorized by them has approved the adoption petion in writing.