New York adoption laws


A single adult, a married adult couple jointly, a married adult singly if legally separated from his/her spouse, or a minor adult or adult spouse if the child is of the other spouse.

Can LGBT families adopt? Yes, same-sex couples can petition for joint adoption.


Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? Not addressed in state statutes.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes, but courts prefer to work with in-state adoptive parents, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Yes, but only an authorized agency or parent, legal guardian, or relative with the second degree of the child can place a child.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical, legal, counseling, living (housing, maternity and baby clothes, transportation). From 60 days pre-birth to 30 days post-partum, unless court finds extraordinary circumstances to extend.

Is there a putative father registry? Yes.

When can consent to adoption be granted? Any time after birth. A man denying paternity may make an irrevocable denial before the birth of the child.

 When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? Private adoption: 45 days after signing and transfer of child to adoptive parents; agency adoption: usually after 30 days. Revocation of the consent triggers a “best interests” hearing if the adoptive parents or agency choose to contest the revocation.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Yes, but only if the agreement is incorporated into a written court order and enforcement is in the best interest of the child.


Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Not addressed in state statutes.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Yes, adopting parents can petition to their county court to readopt a child adopted abroad as long as they provide proof of adoption finalization. Whether or not it’s mandatory is not addressed in the state statutes.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The commissioner will issue a birth certificate to an adopted child 18 years or younger upon receipt of the adoption decree.


Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, adoption subsidies are available for a special needs child as defined by one of the following: is handicapped (i.e. has a physical, mental, or emotional condition that makes the child hard-to-place as determined by the Office of Children and Family Services), is a member of a sibling group of 2 children (half-siblings included) being placed together if one sibling is 5 years or older, or if one sibling is a member of a hard-to-place minority group, or if one sibling is special needs, is necessarily joining an already adopted sibling (or half-sibling) if the child is 5 years or older, or if the child is a member of a hard-to-place minority group, or if either sibling is special needs, is a member of sibling group of 3 or more children (including half-siblings) being placed together, is 8 years or older and of a hard-to-place minority group, is 10 years or older, has attachment to adopting foster care parents with whom s/he has lived for 12 months prior to an adoption placement, or has not been placed within 6 months for adoption. In addition, the child must be 21 years or younger and in the custody of social services, an authorized agency, or authorized foster parent. Subsidies start in most cases at adoption finalization.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in New York?

New York State Adoption Service
52 Washington Street, Room 323
Rensselaer, NY 12144
(518) 473-5754