The State Organization Index provides an alphabetical listing of government organizations, including commissions, departments, and bureaus.
Top-requested sites to log in to services provided by the state
We strongly recommend you find a lawyer to assist you with the adoption process.
You will need to file your adoption with your local Probate Family Court.
Sometimes adoptions are filed in Juvenile Court or in District Court. Adoptions are filed in Juvenile Court only when they have a pending case involving that child, usually through a care and protection that moves to a termination of rights case. Gloucester and Brookline District Courts retained their jurisdiction over juvenile matters, but they are exceptions to the general rule.
You will need to submit the following forms:
Following the above form filings, you must respond to a Federal and Central Registers of Missing Children Search Request. The court will send this to you after you have filed the other forms. You must then send your response to the Department of Children and Families (DCF). DCF will then perform a search and make sure your intended child was not reported missing.
There is no filing fee for an adoption. However, you will need to pay the sheriff or constable for providing notice. These costs will vary.
All applicable forms should be submitted to your local court. However, please note that other documents may be required from additional agencies. See our Related Links for more information.
To find your local court, click here.
Forms may mailed to your respective local court. However, please note that other documents may be required from additional agencies. See our Related Links for more information.
How long the process will take is highly variable, and depends in part on issues such as whether surrenders are filed, notice needs to be given, or a home study needs to be completed. Ask the adoption clerk upon the filing of the papers for a timeline for the next steps.
After you file your forms, “notice” must be given to:
Everyone whose consent is required if they have not already provided written consent
The Department of Children and Families if the child to be adopted is under 14.
The father who was not married to the mother of the child at birth is entitled to notice if he has filed a a claim with DCF saying that he is willing to accept responsibility for the child, or if a court has declared him to be the father.
The Court will notify you if you are required to give notice, and provide you with a citation. The citation tells the people listed that you have filed for adoption and what will happen next. You need to arrange to have the papers “served.” See Service of Process for more information.
Within 30 days after receiving notice, the Department of Children and Families conduct a “home study” and file a report with the court. The home study may also be conducted by a licensed adoption agency. The adoptive parents may have to pay a fee.
The home study can be waived by the court when one of the petitioners is a parent of the child to be adopted.
You will be subject to a CARI (Court Activity Record Information) background check. This includes your criminal record, juvenile record and civil restraining order information.
You will have a hearing before a judge who will consider your petition for adoption. The judge considers “the need of the child for loving and responsible parental care and all factors relevant to the physical, mental and moral health of the child.” If the judge allows the adoption, the judge may also approve a name change if requested.
The judge may order visitation between a child and his biological parent after the adoption is complete, if doing so is in the best interests of the child and also respects the adoptive parents’ interests. The judge may also order visitation between a child and his biological siblings after the adoption.
Please note that the following documents may be required given particular circumstances: