Adoption in New Jersey is the legal transfer of parental rights from the biological parent(s) to the adoptive parent(s). If you are considering placing a child for adoption or adopting a child, the New Jersey process can be overwhelming at first, but the Adoption.com team is prepared to support you and answer your questions.
Domestic Infant Adoptions can be completed through an adoption agency or adoption attorney. Click here to connect with an adoption professional.
International Adoptions must be completed through an accredited adoption agency and/or attorney. You can learn more about international adoption here.
Foster Care Adoptions in New Jersey can be completed through the Department of Children and Families.
Looking for more resources in your area? Check out the Adoption Directory for a listing of adoption professionals in your state.
Who Can Adopt A Child In New Jersey?
One must be at least 18 years old and must be at least 10 years older than the prospective child. Same-sex couples and gay and lesbian individuals can also adopt in New Jersey.
Prospective Parent (s) who reside outside of New Jersey may adopt in New Jersey if the child is born in New Jersey, and/or if the child was adopted through a New Jersey Licensed adoption agency with a New Jersey State Office.
Any PEOPLE who wish to adopt must meet certain New Jersey Law requirements to be deemed “fit” to adopt a child
YES, you will have to complete a home study. A home study is completed by an approved agency that will make sure the home will provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child.
If you are thinking of adopting in New Jersey and live outside the state, a home study will be completed before the child being placed.
If you reside in New Jersey and are considering adoption, a home study will be completed BOTH BEFORE and AFTER the child is in your home.
– In New Jersey, in a private adoption, a birth parent placing a child for adoption can sign surrender papers at any time after the child is born. The surrender can be reversed any time up until the court terminates the birth parents’ rights or when the birth parents go to court and surrender their rights.
-In New Jersey, In an agency adoption, the birth mom has to wait 72 hours after the child is born to sign the surrender papers. Once the papers are signed, the signature can’t be eradicated. It is NOT reversible.
The adoptive parents must go to court to complete the adoption process. The child is not mandated to go to court, but many judges love to see the children that have found forever homes. The adoption proceedings will take place in the county the child was born in if that child is 3 months or younger, or the county where the adoption agency is located. If New Jersey residents want to adopt in New Jersey, the court proceedings will take place in the county where the resident lives.
I was adopted in 1980, and just last year, something MAJOR changed. As of January 1, 2017, those born and adopted in New Jersey were allowed to receive a copy of their original birth certificate. The one with the birth parents’ names on them. The only way the adopted child would not be able to obtain a copy of their ORIGINAL Birth Certificate is if the birth mother and/or father waived their right to have their name known by their child.
So if you are contemplating adopting, please know that your child will very likely be able to obtain a copy of his or her original birth certificate. Now, the birth parent (s) can change their preference for contact at any time once their child is placed for adoption. There are no time limitations. They can change their mind multiple times if they wish.
The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly, and therefore, some information may be outdated, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions, or typographical errors.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old and 10 years older than the child they adopt. You can own or rent a home. The child can share a bedroom but must have his/her own bed. You can be single, married, or divorced. While those looking to adopt don’t need to be wealthy, you need a steady income to provide for a growing family. Parents need to complete pre service training and a home study.
Advertising: An adoption intermediary (person or entity without a license) is banned from receiving money or anything of value for placement of an adopted child. § 9:3-38(l); 9:3-39.1(a)(4)
Relinquishment: Birth mothers must wait at least 72 hours after birth of their child to give consent for adoption. Alleged fathers who deny a claim to paternity before or after birth surrender their parental rights thus allowing the child to be adopted. Consent can only be revoked at the discretion of the courts upon a finding that consent came under fraud or duress or the agency taking the surrender. § 9:3-41(a),(e)
Birth parent expenses: Adoptive parents may provide for the following expenses: birth related medical, hospital, counseling, or illness of child or mother; reasonable living expenses for the mother during pregnancy including food, shelter, clothing, and religious or other counseling; if the child is born in a foreign country, customary foreign agency fees; attorney and legal fees. Payments cannot extend 4 weeks beyond the birth of the child.
Post-adoption contact agreements: Contact agreements in New Jersey are not legally enforceable.
Birth father rights: While no paternity registry exists in New Jersey, unmarried fathers can take alternate steps to establish paternity and receive the right to notice of adoption proceedings. Parent child relationship may be established by: adjudicated paternity in court, giving full faith or credit to determination of paternity made by another State, certificate of parentage signed by the father, a default judgement or court order, or an order made by the court based on genetic testing. § 9:17-41
Finalization: Out of 1,021 adoptions completed in 2014, the average time between TPR and adoption finalization was 11.2 months. (acf.hhs.gov)
It is always possible to adopt a child from another country, even if you live in the United States. Children under 18 adopted from a Hague Convention country entering the U.S. with an IH-3 visa may automatically receive U.S. citizenship.
Children adopted from a non convention country must qualify as orphans before receiving U.S. citizenship. When U.S. citizens finalize an adoption abroad, they must apply to the USCIS for an IR-3 visa for the child. An IR-3 visa classifies the child as an immigrant and may provide the child with citizenship upon arrival in the States.
Readoption after a foreign adoption decree is an option in New Jersey but not required. New Jersey is one of only 13 states that accepts a foreign adoption decree when parents petition the court to receive a State birth certificate for their child.
Gallery of children waiting to be adopted: https://adoption.com/photolisting?page=1&search_type=region&range=UnitedStates
State subsidy contact:
Betty Berzin, Assistant Director
Karen Krohnemann, Subsidy Program
Department of Children & Families
Division of Child Protection & Permanency (CP&P)
Office of Adoption Operations
50 East State St., CN 717
Trenton, NJ 08625
Subsidy Hotline: 1-800-847-5027
Adoptions in NJ can be completed through the Department of Children and Families.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old (10 years older than the adoptee). You can own or rent. The child can share a bedroom but must have his/her own bed.
Birth mothers must wait at least 72 hours after birth of their child to give consent for adoption. Consent can only be revoked at the discretion of the courts upon a finding that consent came under fraud or duress or the agency taking the surrender allows birth parents to revoke.
Contact agreements in New Jersey are not legally enforceable. No paternity registry exist in NJ for unmarried fathers. Contact agreements are not legally enforceable.
Adoptive parents may provide for the following expenses: birth related medical, hospital, counseling, or illness of child or mother; reasonable living expenses for the mother during pregnancy; and counseling fees.