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Massachusetts Law About Adoption

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Adoptions: Family Law Advocacy for Low and Moderate Income Litigants, 2d ed., 2008, Chapter 14. Mass. Legal Services. This source focuses on the forms to be filed and how to fill them out.

Massachusetts Laws

Massachusetts Regulations

Federal Laws


Adoption Forms

Selected Cases

Adoption of Marlene, 443 Mass. 494, 822 NE2d 714 (Feb. 17, 2005). Supreme Judicial Court held: "We conclude that a parent's consent to adoption of his or her child under G.L. c. 210, § 2, does not terminate the parental duty to support the child."

Adoption of Tammy, 416 Mass. 205, 619 NE2d 315 (1993) Supreme Court stated that statute did not preclude same-sex cohabitants from jointly adopting child, and that adoption was in best interests of child.

Mohr v. Commonwealth, 421 Mass. 147, 653 NE2d 1104 (1995) Adoptive parents may recover in a "wrongful adoption" action based on adoption agency's material misrepresentations of fact regarding child's history prior to adoption.

Other Web Sources

Access to Birth Records Prior to Adoption, Division of Vital Records. FAQ on access to birth records for adoptees, how to apply, and what to expect in the process.

Adoption, Mass. Dept. of Children and Families. Includes information on how to adopt, resources for adoptive parents and more.

Adoption, Federal Child Welfare Information Gateway. Includes information on many aspects of adoption, including information for prospective adoptive parents, and sources on foster care adoption, supporting birth parents, search and reunion and much more.

The Adoption History Project, University of Oregon Dept. of History. Great site bursting with information on the social and historical development of adoption with links to primary sources.

Adoption Questions and Answers, GLAD, April 2014.New! Information for LGBT individuals and couples on "bringing unrelated children into the family or ... securing the legal relationship of a second parent to the child of his or her partner or spouse.

Child Citizenship Act Fact Sheet, US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Explains the circumstances under which a foreign-adopted child may become a US citizen.

Guide for Foster and Pre-Adoptive Parents, Mass. Dept. of Social Services. "Provide[s] you with some basic information about how the placement process works at the Department, some of the procedures and situations you can expect, the roles of various Department staff, available resources, and how to access assistance and support."

The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Explains the different processes available to bring your adopted child into the US, with details and links to forms.

Intercountry Adoption, US State Dept. "Each year, thousands of Americans adopt a child from overseas. The process of adopting a child from another country, however, can be difficult. That's where we come in. This website aims to provide what you need to know about the adoption process."

Joint Adoption and Second-Parent Adoption by Unmarried Couples, Mass. Lesbian and Gay Bar Association. Summarizes the law for couples interested in pursuing a second-parent adoption. "The process of second-parent adoption is much like that of step-parent adoption, where the step-parent or second-parent already functions in the role of a parent. As such, the process of these uncontested adoptions potentially is streamlined. However, there are several issues that have arisen concerning the process with unmarried and same -gender petitioners. Chief among these issues are the waiveable requirements of a home study under G.L. c.210, § 5A and for notice by publication under G.L. c.210, § 4."

Massachusetts Adoption of Children Act, St. 1851, c.324. Credited as "the first modern adoption law, recognizing adoption as a social and legal operation based on child welfare rather than adult interests."

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoption Placements: Summary of State Laws, Child Welfare Information Gateway. Survey of state laws on the use of advertising or intermediaries in adoption. Includes citations to relevant laws.

Selected Print Sources

Adopting in Massachusetts, University of Massachusetts Center for Adoption Research, 2000. A 69-page publication, this book provides clear information about about the entire adoption process.

Adoption and Reproductive Technology in Massachusetts, by Susan L. Crockin et al. MCLE No. 2000-10.22-BK, 2000.

"Critical Analysis of Interstate Recognition of Lesbigay Adoptions," 3 Ava Maria Law Review 561, 2005. Also available online to library card holders through Hein Online.

Adoption Law and Practice, by Joan Heifetz Hollinger et al. Lexis, loose-leaf.

Adoption Law: Theory, Policy and Practice, by Cynthia Mabry, W.S. Hein, 2006.

"Enforcement of Contractual Release and Hold Harmless Language in 'Wrongful Adoption' Cases, by Howard M. Cooper, 44 Boston Bar Journal 14 (May – June 2000).

Massachusetts Practice, vol. 5A (Methods of Practice with Forms), 4th ed. West Group, 2000 with annual supplement, sec. 25:1 to 25:13 (Includes forms); vol. 14A (Summary of Basic Law), 4th ed. West Group, 2006 with annual supplement, sec.8.128-8.147.

Reproductive Technology and Adoption Update 2008, CD Sound Recording, MCLE, 2008.

Ultimate Insider's Guide to Adoption: Everything You Need to Know About Domestic and International Adoption, by Elizabeth Swire Falken, Warner Wellness, 2006.


American Academy of Adoption Attorneys

P.O. Box 33053
Washington, DC 20033
(202) 832-2222

This is a national association of attorneys who practice, or have otherwise distinguished themselves in the field of adoption law. The Academy publishes a newsletter, holds annual meetings, and provides educational seminars. Also provides information on retaining a lawyer and lists members by state.

Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange
45 Franklin Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
(800) 882-1176

Nonprofit organization that strives to place older and special needs children. Offers information on adoption, support groups, FAQs, and links to related web sites.

Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC)
51 Sleeper Street, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02210

The licensing authority for Massachusetts' adoption agencies.