• DECEMBER 11, 2023

Adoption in New Jersey: Everything to Know About New Jersey’s Adoption Laws

It’s good to have at least a general idea of adoption laws in New Jersey if you’re considering putting your baby up for adoption. We’ll cover everything you need to know about NJ adoption laws so you feel prepared to make the best decision for you and the baby. Just remember that all of these laws are in place to protect you as a birth mother and your child throughout the adoption process.

New Jersey adoption laws

Most of the adoption laws in New Jersey are in place to regulate who can adopt a child, but there are laws that apply to birth parents too. We’re going to break down which laws apply to who so you know what to expect.

Adoption laws for New Jersey birth parents

There are a few laws that apply to birth parents in New Jersey. These are all in place to make sure you’re making the right decision for you and your child.

Both parents must agree to the adoption

In most cases, both birth mother and birth father need to agree to the adoption in New Jersey for it to happen. If you know who the birth father is, he will need to waive their parental rights for the adoption to be finalized. Similarly, you need to waive your parental rights as a birth parent before the adoption can happen. Both parents can waive their rights starting 72 hours after the baby is born, but you can take more time if you need it. The 72 hour law is in place so you have time to make sure that it’s the right decision for you.

If you don’t know who the birth father is, an adoption agency can help you try and contact multiple birth fathers and terminate their parental rights. The agency can do all the communicating for you so you don’t have to worry about talking to multiple potential fathers.

You can learn more about birth parents’ rights on our blog with articles about birth fathers’ rights in the process and birth mothers’ rights during adoption in New Jersey.

Birth mothers can get financial assistance in New Jersey

In New Jersey, it’s legal for birth mothers to have birth parent expenses paid directly by prospective adoptive parents and get financial support as a birth mother. That means that you can get help covering your pregnancy expenses from the adoptive family that you choose. Adoptive families can help you cover:

  • The cost of giving birth
  • Any adoption services, like paperwork for placing your child, agency fees, or legal services
  • Medical care throughout your pregnancy and up to 4 weeks after

New Jersey birth mothers have a right to privacy after the adoption process

New Jersey has made it easier for adopted children to learn more about their adoption in recent years, but you are still entitled to your privacy after giving a baby up for adoption. Now, adopted children can access their birth certificate and learn about their birth parents once they turn 18. 

There is an online database for children adopted in New Jersey to find contact information for a birth parent, but as a birth mother you can update your profile to show whether you want to be contacted or not by your child. You can update your birth parent status at any time and change your mind about getting in touch with your child. 

Adoption laws for New Jersey adoptive parents

New Jersey adoption laws limit who can adopt children to protect all adopted children. Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 18 years old, and at least 10 years older than the child they want to adopt. New Jersey lets people from all religions, races, sexual orientations, and marital statuses adopt a child. If a married couple wants to adopt a child, both partners need to agree to the adoption to ensure that the baby will be wanted.

For a family to adopt a child in New Jersey, the adoptive parents have to pass a home study. Home studies are required for in-state adoptions (when New Jersey parents adopt a New Jersey child) and adoptions between states (when New Jersey parents adopt a baby from another state). These home studies are in place to make sure that the adoptive parents are fit to be parents, whether they already have a child or not. New Jersey home studies include:

  • A criminal background check through the FBI
  • Interviews with adoptive parents and anyone who lives in the home to get an understanding of the parents’ fitness for raising children
  • A visit to the adoptive parents’ home
  • Interviews with the adoptive parents’ employers
  • Personal references from the adoptive parents’ friends
  • Proof of income and financial resources

New Jersey has set these requirements so that every adopted child is protected. As a birth mother you can feel good about considering adoption because of the screening process for potential adoptive parents. 

If you work with an adoption agency to find an adoptive family, they may have even more requirements for families. Some adoption agencies limit who they work with, like religious agencies or agencies who work with LGBTQ+ parents. At A Baby Step Adoption, we pre-screen families and make sure they’ve completed the home study process before adding them to our Waiting Families list, but we work with families of all races, religions, and sexual orientations.


There are a lot of laws about adoption in New Jersey that can be confusing. That’s why we’re here to help you decide if adoption is right for you. Our caring caseworkers are here for you 24/7 to answer questions, explain the adoption process, and help you make the right decision. As an adoption agency and a legal practice in New Jersey, we can help guide you through the process and make sure that you’re confident in your decision.