Domestic Infant Adoptions can be completed through an adoption agency or adoption attorney. Click here for a directory of adoption service providers in New York.
International Adoptions must be completed through an accredited adoption agency or attorney. Find an international adoption service provider here.
Foster Care Adoptions in New York can be completed through the Office of Children and Family Services.
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the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.
Looking for more resources in your area? Check out the Adoption Directory for a listing of adoption professionals in your state.
While there are many similarities between most of the state adoption laws and practices in the United States, it’s important to know what the process is in the state from which you choose to adopt. Here are some basics for the state of New York.
1. Any adult may adopt regardless of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, marital status, or income status provided they have passed all of the requirements through the background and home study checks.
2. In addition to the criminal background check, prospective adoptive parents are also required to pass a check by the Statewide Central Registration of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. While it may seem like another daunting hoop to jump through, this second check shouldn’t add too much to your approval time; you can generally expect all background checks to be completed within about three months.
3. If you choose to adopt a child who is currently waiting (like a child in foster care) you may qualify for adoption subsidies from the state. Subsidies are generally available for children whom the state deems handicapped or difficult to place (like older children or sibling groups). Subsidies are determined on a case-by-case basis and continue until the child reaches age 21. If you believe your child qualifies for this subsidy, make sure to discuss it with your caseworker, because it has to be approved before finalization.
4. Most adoptions from the New York foster care system are without fees; you may even be able to qualify for a limited reimbursement of your court and attorney costs for finalization.
5. Adoption records are sealed in the State of New York. If you want to find more about your adoption, you may be able to find information from the New York State Health Department’s Adoption Registry, but if the first parents have not registered themselves, you will only be able to get non-identifying information (things like religion, ethnicity, and the race of the biological parents, but no names or locations). If all parties are signed up in the registry, you may be able to get names and current addresses of biological parents and siblings. You may also be able to access medical information.
6. The consent to relinquish a biological child is revocable up until between 30 and 45 days after the signing and placement of the child with the adoptive family. This means that the biological parents have up to forty-five days to change their mind. If the child’s birth parent revokes her consent, the prospective adoptive parents have the right to contest the revocation through the court system.
Applicants must be 21 years old or older. Each member of the home must be in good physical and mental health. You can be single, married, or divorced. Parents must have stable employment as well as a plan for the child to be around adult supervision at all times. Applicants must submit 3 character references. A criminal background check will be conducted, and foster parents must be willing to attend pre service training. For a complete list of adoption regulations click here.
Advertising: No person or organization except a licensed adoption agency shall place any child for adoption. § 374(2)
Relinquishment: Judicial consent is irrevocable upon execution or acknowledgment. Consent given outside the court becomes irrevocable 45 days after execution unless written notice of revocation is given to the court within 45 days. Revocation only goes into effect if adoptive parents fail to oppose it or if the court finds that revocation is in the child’s best interest. No laws currently exist to regulate when consent can be given. § 115-b
Birth parent expenses: Adoptive parents may make the following payments: birth related medical and hospital fees; medical, hospital, and nursing fees for the support of the child; living expenses for the birth mother, not to start until 60 days before birth and not to extend more than 30 days after birth. § 374(6)
Post-adoption contact agreements: Contact agreements between birth and adoptive families are only legally enforceable when the terms of the agreements are incorporated into a written court order. § 383-c(2)(b)
Birth father rights: Unmarried fathers wishing to receive notice of adoption proceedings may file their information with the Department of Social Services putative father registry. § 372-c
Finalization: Out of 1,957 adoptions completed in 2014, the average time between TPR and adoption finalization was 14.7 months. (acf.hhs.gov)
Many of the children waiting to be adopted in New York have special needs. Federal (Title IV-E) and state (non-IV-E) programs exist to help adoptive parents meet their child’s needs. In New York, the maximum monthly amount ranges from $497-678 (depending upon your child's age and location). For more information please visit NACAC.org
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.
In New York, courts will accept the foreign adoption decree alone when adoptive parents request a US 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:
Office of Children & Family Services
NYS Adoption Services
Capital View Office Park
52 Washington St.
Rensselaer, NY 12144
Adoptions in NY can be completed through the Office of Children and Family Services.
Applicants must be 21 years old. Everyone must be in good physical/mental health. You can be single, married, or divorced. You must pass an adoption home study.
No person or organization except a licensed adoption agency shall place any child for adoption.
No laws currently exist to regulate when consent can be given. Judicial consent is irrevocable upon execution or acknowledgment. Consent given outside the court becomes irrevocable 45 days after execution unless written notice of revocation is given to the court within 45 days.
The following payments are permits: medical, hospital, and nursing fees for the support of the child; living expenses for the birth mother. Contact agreements between birth and adoptive families are only legally enforceable when the terms of the agreements are incorporated into a court order. A paternity registry does exist.