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What is the process for filing for adoption?

Adopting a child in Massachusetts is a multi-step process designed to ensure that adoptive parents and the children they adopt are a good match. The first step in the process is to call the Department of Children and Families. A representative from the department will then perform an inspection on an applicant's home to ensure that it provides adequate safety and privacy for everyone living there.

Anyone over the age of 14 who is living with a prospective adoptive parent will be required to go through a background check. Applicants will then have to attend weekly training courses and submit to a fingerprint check prior to being matched with a child. An agent will then review an applicant's home again and decide what type of and how many children an applicant may adopt. The matching process could happen quickly or be a lengthy process depending on how many children are available at a given time.

In some cases, a child is placed in a home even if that child is not yet legally free for adoption. Adoptive parents are told ahead of time if the child may not be ready for adoption even after being placed. If a child is legally able to be adopted, that child generally needs to live with his or her adoptive parents for six months before the adoption is official.

A family law attorney may be helpful for those looking to become adoptive parents. Attorneys may be able to help parents properly complete the adoption process to increase the odds that a child may be placed with an applicant as soon as possible. Finishing an adoption quickly may also be in the best interest of a child looking to be adopted.

Source: Mass.gov, "Your guide to adoption in Massachusetts ", October 24, 2014

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