Find out who is eligible to adopt

Certain criteria must be fulfilled in other for adoptions to process successfully.

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 are married, including same-sex couples, 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 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 six (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—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 they authorize, has approved the adoption petition in writing.



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