Adoption in New Jersey

Note: adoption laws vary from state to state. Please cross-reference with your adoption agency representative to determine the most up-to-date legislation for adoption in New Jersey.

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 are planning on adoption in New Jersey, 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 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.

Adoption in New Jersey



Are you ready to pursue adoption? Visit or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to connect with compassionate, nonjudgmental adoption specialists who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.