New Jersey Adoption: A Few Quick Facts

If you live in New Jersey or are thinking of adopting a child from New Jersey, here's a quick rundown of what you need to know.

Rebecca Tillou March 12, 2018
article image

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 and ALL PEOPLE who wish to adopt in New Jersey 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 who 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 prior to 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.

Birth Certificates

I was adopted out of New Jersey in 1980, and just last year, something MAJOR changed. As of January 1, 2017, those born and adopted in New Jersey were given the opportunity 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 from New Jersey, 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.

author image

Rebecca Tillou

Rebecca was adopted as an infant. She found her birth family in May of 2013 and continues to keep in touch with them. Sadly, her birth mother passed away in 1999. She and her husband live in New York and are the parents of two beautiful little boys, Dominic and Nicolas. They also have a German Shepherd mix named Chester. She was recently diagnosed with FASD at 34 years of age. She is currently working with and to get the word out that there is hope, and that you are never too old to better yourself.

Want to contact an adoption professional?

Love this? Want more?

Claim Your FREE Adoption Summit Ticket!

The #1 adoption website is hosting the largest, FREE virtual adoption summit. Come listen to 50+ adoption experts share their knowledge and insights.

Members of the adoption community are invited to watch the virtual summit for FREE on September 23-27, 2019, or for a small fee, you can purchase an All-Access Pass to get access to the summit videos for 12 months along with a variety of other benefits.

Get Your Free Ticket