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Find out who is eligible to adopt

Find out who can adopt and who can be adopted in Massachusetts.

Who can adopt?

In order to adopt, you must be at least 18 years old. You or the child must be a resident of Massachusetts. If you’re married, both spouses must be a part of the adoption (except in very rare circumstances.) Single people and unmarried couples may also adopt.

Who can be adopted?

You can adopt anyone who’s younger than you are, as long as they aren’t your spouse, sibling, uncle, or aunt.

If you want to adopt a child under 14, they must have lived with you for at least 6 months. However, the court can waive this requirement in some cases.  

In Massachusetts, private adoption — where the birth mother makes an arrangement with the adoptive parents — isn't allowed. Instead, the adoption needs to meet one of these conditions:

  • The child has been placed with you through the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or a licensed adoption agency.
  • The child is your blood relative.
  • The child is your step-child.
  • You were nominated in the will of the child’s dead parent to be the child’s guardian or adoptive parent.
  • DCF or an agency they authorize has approved the adoption petition in writing.

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