New York Adoption Guide

Learn what you need to know to begin your adoption process.

Susan Kuligowski April 01, 2015

Welcome, New Yorkers! This guide was written to provide you with a single place to find information about adoption within your own state. It will walk you through everything from laws that will impact your adoption to reviews of adoption service providers in New York.

This guide is divided into five parts: general information about adoption in Michigan, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 7), foster adoption (slide 19), international adoption (slide 28), and stepparent adoption (slide 32). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful adoption resources (slide 35).

If you’re interested in growing your family through domestic infant adoption and would like to speak with a professional about your options, click here.

 

Please note:
1. Please note:

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided in this slideshow guide, you should not rely on it to make decisions. Instead, you should rely on licensed professionals in making decisions relative to adoption. The information in this guide is subject to change without notice. Adoption.com is not responsible for the consequences of relying on this information. In no event shall Adoption.com be liable for any direct, indirect, special, or incidental damage resulting from, arising out of, or in connection with the use of this information.

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

In 2014, there were 2,050,946 families with children in the state of New York (SOURCE: Child Care Aware of Amercia)

Adoption in New York at a Glance
3. Adoption in New York at a Glance

Kids in Foster Care Available for Adoption in 2012: 18,901
Foster adoptions completed in 2012: 2,394
International adoptions completed in 2012: 354
Other adoptions completed in 2012: 5,012

Can I Adopt in New York?
4. Can I Adopt in New York?

Adoption requirements in the state of New York are as follows:

Age: You will need to be at least 18 years old.
Marital Status: Adoptive parents in New York can be single, married, or divorced. LGBT individuals may petition to adopt, same-sex couples may petition for joint adoption, and same-sex partners may petition to adopt a partner’s child.
Finances: You must demonstrate that you are able to financially support your own family.
Housing: You must own or rent a safe residence that has space for a child.
Work: You can work inside or outside your home or be retired.
Personality: You must be healthy enough to have the energy and other abilities needed to fulfill your responsibilities as a parent.
Experience: No parenting experience is required to adopt.

Can I Adopt in New York If I Have a Criminal Record?
5. Can I Adopt in New York If I Have a Criminal Record?

If you are the subject of an indicated report of child abuse or maltreatment, the agency must determine on the basis of the information it has available and in accordance with guidelines developed by the department whether to approve your application. Any person above the age of 18 living within the hopeful adoptive home will get fingerprinted by the state.

Current abuse of alcohol or other drugs requires the rejection of an application. The record must clearly show how the finding of such abuse was made. The authorized agency must deny an adoption application when a criminal history record reveals:

- A felony conviction at any time involving child abuse or neglect; spousal abuse; crime against a child, including child pornography; a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, other than a crime involving physical assault or battery.

- A felony conviction within 5 years for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense.

The authorized agency may deny an application for approval when:

- A criminal history record of the prospective or approved adoptive parent reveals a charge or a conviction of a crime other than one set forth above.

- A criminal history record of any other person older than age 18 who resides in the home of the prospective or approved adoptive parent reveals a charge or a conviction of any crime.

SOURCE: Child Welfare Information Gateway

Developing a Support System
6. Developing a Support System

It’s essential to have a good network of family, friends, and neighbors to support you through your adoption process. It’s also important to connect with other adoptive parents. You can begin making these connections in our adoption forums. You may also want to consider joining a support group for adoptive parents.

Domestic Infant Adoption in New York
7. Domestic Infant Adoption in New York

Before you get started, click here to learn more about the overall process of adopting an infant in the United States. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back to get the details about adoption in New York.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help
9. Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help

In New York, it is legal to complete your adoption through an adoption attorney or through an adoption agency. Birth parents have the right to advertise their own adoptions. However, state law strictly prohibits the use of any other "agency, association, corporation, institution, society, or other organization except an authorized agency" to help in the placement of a child.

You can browse and read reviews about adoption service providers in New York at Adoption.com’s Reviews page. For more information about picking an adoption agency, learn about the top fifteen things to look for In an adoption agency.

SOURCE: N.Y. SOS. LAW § 374(2)

Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
10. Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study

Regardless of whether you complete your adoption privately (through an attorney) or through an agency, you will need to complete an adoption home study.

Your home study social worker will help educate you about adoption and ensure that you (and your adoptive partner, if applicable) meet the requirements outlined on slide three.

Click here to learn more about the home study process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word

New York law limits advertising for adoption. Generally, only the New York Department of Health and Welfare or a licensed adoption agency can advertise. Thus, any advertising efforts must be coordinated with an agency.

One of the most important things you can do while waiting for an adoption match is to let everyone know about your hope to adopt. Many adoption connections are made through word-of-mouth referrals.

Creating a listing on Adoption.com Parent Profiles is an excellent way to connect with potential birth parents across the country. You’ll also want to coordinate with an agency about this.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

In New York, a surrender may be signed by birth parents at any time after birth. A man denying paternity may make an irrevocable denial before the birth of the child. The surrender becomes irrevocable 30 days after signing the surrender if taken by a licensed state agency. With a private adoption, the surrender is deemed irrevocable 45 days after signing and transfer of child to adoptive parents.

Revocation of the surrender triggers a “best interests” hearing if the adoptive parents or agency choose to contest the revocation. Revocation is only honored if it's in the best interest of the child. There is a putative father registry within the state.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights

A legally identified birth father has the he right to be informed and have a say in adoption proceedings. All but three states (New York, Idaho and Oregon) specify when a birth parent may provide consent. In all states (except Massachusetts and Utah), a birth parent may revoke his or her consent to adoption in very limited circumstances. In NY, a birth father may sign consent to relinquish his rights before or after birth.

Consent may be revoked in if the consent was obtained by fraud or coercion, or if it's deemed in the best interests of the child.

SOURCE: N.Y. SOS. LAW § 372-c

Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws About Birth Parent Expenses
14. Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws About Birth Parent Expenses

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the adoptive parent is permitted to make the following payments:

- Reasonable and actual medical fees or hospital charges for services rendered in connection with the birth of the child.

- Other necessary expenses incurred by the mother in connection with or as a result of her pregnancy or the birth of the child.

- Reasonable and actual nursing, medical, or hospital fees for the care of the child.

- The birth mother’s reasonable and actual expenses for housing, maternity clothing, clothing for the child, and transportation.

Birth Payment of living expenses shall not extend for 60 days prior to the birth and 30 days after the birth, unless the court determines that there are exceptional circumstances. Some states provide a certain dollar amount per month for the amount of aid birth parents receive. New York relies on a reasonable standard instead. While all birth parent expenses do not have to be pre-approved by the court, every expense must eventually be approved by the court that is beyond a reasonable expense.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
15. Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

Post-adoption contact agreements are not addressed by New York law. A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered into by adoptive and birth families. The contract outlines details about how much contact the birth and adoptive families would have after the adoption is finalized. Because New York law does not address post-adoption contact agreements, it should generally be assumed that they cannot be enforced.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization
16. Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization

In New York there is no required time period between placement and finalization--the standard three months can be waived by a judge. However, courts generally want assurance that the child has bonded with and is attached to the parents. In order to finalize, you will need to file a petition to adopt and make suitable filings with the court. An attorney can assist you with this process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: A Word About the ICPC
17. Domestic Infant Adoption: A Word About the ICPC

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home. It is not generally recommended that adoptive families contact the ICPC office directly, as it tends to delay or disrupt the process. Your attorney or agency will manage the ICPC process for you.

Read more about the ICPC here.

Foster Adoption in New York
18. Foster Adoption in New York

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of adopting children through foster care. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about foster adoption in New York.

Foster Adoption: Children Available for Foster Adoption in New York
19. Foster Adoption: Children Available for Foster Adoption in New York

According to AdoptUSKids, there are currently 25,397 children in foster care in New York; 621 are currently available for adoption waiting for an adoptive family and 3,051 children have a goal of adoption.

Adoption.com does not currently have any children from the state of New York listed in its photolisting. Interested parents should contact the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and let them know that you would like to see New York’s adoptable children listed on the Adoption.com Photolisting, which is a free community service provided by Adoption.com.

Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help
20. Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help

In the state of New York, you can complete a foster adoption either through a private agency that is licensed to provide foster care services or directly through the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

To find an adoption agency in New York and to read reviews of the agency’s service, check out our Reviews page.

You will still need to complete a home study as part of this process. If you are adopting through the State, the state may help cover the costs of the home study. Please refer to the Office of Children and Family Services to learn more about the availability of child care subsidies in your county.

Foster Adoption: Becoming Part of the Foster Care System
21. Foster Adoption: Becoming Part of the Foster Care System

In New York, a child can be placed with you for adoption by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services before his/her biological parent’s rights have been terminated. This is called a legal risk placement, meaning that it is possible that the child may return to live with his/her birth family. However, these placements are not made unless the agency responsible for the child is actively pursuing the termination of his/her birth parents’ rights.

During a placement like this, you will be considered a foster parent and will need to meet all the requirements for foster parents in the state of New York.

Foster Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
22. Foster Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered into by adoptive and birth families. The agreement outlines details about how much contact the birth and adoptive families will have after the adoption is finalized.

In instances in which the child’s biological parents’ rights have been involuntarily terminated, the well-being of the child needs to be first and foremost in everyone’s minds if a post-adoption contact agreement is created. Caseworkers and therapists should be consulted in making decisions about contact after adoption.

Foster Adoption: Finalization
23. Foster Adoption: Finalization

In New York, there is no required time period between placement and finalization. However, biological parental rights must be terminated and courts generally want assurance that the child has bonded with and is attached to the adoptive parents. In order to finalize, you will need to file a petition to adopt and make suitable filings with the court. An attorney can assist you with this process.

Foster Adoption: Adoption Assistance
24. Foster Adoption: Adoption Assistance

New York offers financial assistance programs for most children adopted from the foster care program. According to the Department of Health and Welfare website, this assistance can include:

- Reimbursement (up to $2,000) for adoption-related costs.
- A monthly subsidy for the ongoing care of the child.
- A Medicaid card to assist with medical expenses until the child is 18 years of age.

Public agencies and, generally, private agencies do not charge a fee to foster or adopt children who are in the legal custody and guardianship of the public agency or foster care system. However, some private agencies charge fees for families that wish to adopt a child outside of New York State. The child’s State may reimburse the family for some or all of these fees.

Completing an adoption in court generally requires an attorney and the payment of legal fees and any court costs. Families adopting New York children with special needs are eligible for reimbursement of limited nonrecurring adoption-related costs, such as lawyer and agency fees, through New York. Families adopting children from other states with special needs may be eligible for reimbursement of limited, nonrecurring adoption-related costs through the child’s state or federal options.

Foster Adoption: A Word about the ICPC
25. Foster Adoption: A Word about the ICPC

In adopting a child from foster care, there are opportunities to adopt a child from a different state. If this is the case, you will need to comply with the requirements of The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.

It is not generally recommended that adoptive families contact the ICPC office directly, as it tends to delay or disrupt the process. Your attorney or agency will manage the ICPC process for you.

Read more about the ICPC here.

International Adoption in New York
26. International Adoption in New York

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of international adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about international adoption in New York.

International Adoption: Photolisting
27. International Adoption: Photolisting

There are millions of beautiful children across the world who are hoping to find a forever family. Click here to meet some of them through our photolisting.

International Adoption: Get Professional Help
28. International Adoption: Get Professional Help

With international adoptions, your only choice is to complete your adoption through an agency. Because of the Universal Accreditation Act, all adoption agencies completing international adoptions are required to be credentialed according to federal standards. Make sure to check with any agency before working with them to ensure they have this accreditation in place!

In selecting an international adoption agency, there are four essential criteria you should probably consider. Click here to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in New York.

In order to be approved to adopt internationally, you will need to complete an international adoption-specific home study.

International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements
29. International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements

You will not need to attend a court hearing to finalize your child’s adoption in New York. After you have brought your child home, you will need to submit the adoption decree issued by your child’s country of origin, along with a certified English translation, if necessary, to your county clerk. The documents will be reviewed, and an order recognizing the foreign adoption will be filed and entered. You can request a copy of this order for your personal records.

You will also need to request a U.S. birth certificate for your child.

Stepparent Adoption in New York
30. Stepparent Adoption in New York

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of stepparent adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about stepparent adoption in New York.

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights
31. Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding biological parent’s rights will first need to be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

You will need to consult with an adoption attorney about your desire to adopt. He/she can help you decide if it’s likely that the biological parent would be willing to relinquish rights OR if it would be feasible to pursue involuntary termination of his/her parental rights.

Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning to Adopt
32. Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning to Adopt

Once parental rights have been terminated, you can file a petition to adopt with the courts. You and your spouse will both testify in court regarding the stability of your marital relationship, the bond you’ve developed with your stepchild, and your desire to become the legal parent of your stepchild.

In New York, if the child is over 12 years of age, the child will be required to sign a consent to the adoption. You will generally not be required to complete a background check or home study as part of the stepparent adoption process.

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Susan Kuligowski

Sue Kuligowski is a staff storyteller at Adoption.com. The mother of two girls through adoption, she is a proposal coordinator, freelance writer/editor, and a adoption advocate. When she's not writing or editing, she can be found supervising sometimes successful glow-in-the-dark experiments, chasing down snails in the backyard, and attempting to make sure her girls are eating more vegetables than candy.


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