Types of Adoption Under NJ Law: Agency or Private Adoption

Adoption Agency vs. Private Adoption

Types of Adoptions in New Jersey

Adopting a child in NJ is the highest form of self-giving and commitment by an adult to a child. It is likely to also be a stressful period for everyone involved. You need a trusted advisor. That’s us.

Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. and the adoption attorneys at Hanlon Niemann & Wright want you to stay together. We’ve counseled prospective parents and individuals, including birth mothers, about the formalities and requirements of New Jersey state, multi-state and international adoptions, including the re-adoption of foreign born children.

There are two ways to proceed in a child adoption in NJ:

The first way is through an approved agency placement and the second is through a private placement adoption.

Approved Agency Placement Adoptions in New Jersey

A licensed non-profit corporation, association or agency can lawfully place children for adoption in New Jersey.  These agencies are regulated by the New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS).

An agency adoption screens the suitability of prospective parents and then matches parents and children. The adoption agency will guide you through the adoption process. The agency will pre-screen the adoptive family and the child and will offer children to prospective parents when they think there’s a good match. An agency may also give preference to certain types of prospective parents (based on religion, marital status, etc.). When choosing an agency adoption, prospective parents may also want to use the services of an adoption attorney, since adoption involves significant legal issues and contracts.  The courts of this state are always involved in the adoption process, there is no getting around it.

Call us today to discuss the NJ adoption process.

Here’s a Checklist to Follow When Using an Adoption Agency

When selecting an adoption agency, consider the following:

  • Ask friends, family and others who have been through the process to recommend agencies with a solid reputation or that they’ve had a good experience with as adoptive parents. If you do not know anyone with an adoption background who has used one, you can go online to the State of New Jersey, Department of Children & Family Services Office of Licensing 1-877-667-9845 for ratings of agencies in your area.
  • Confirm that the agency is licensed to operate in New Jersey.
  • Ask for an itemized list of the total estimated costs. When will payment be due?
  • Find out what services are provided by the agency.

Private Placement Adoptions in New Jersey

Private Adoptions are arranged between the prospective parents and the birth parents. An attorney, physician, friend or licensed adoption facilitator may help make the introduction. Prospective parents who are pursuing a private adoption should strongly consider using an attorney.

The private placement of children for adoption is only allowed in three situations:

  • A parent or guardian of the child may place a child for adoption.
  • If the placement is with a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent, birth father or stepparent of the child.
  • The placement for adoption is made through an intermediary if certain requirements are met. Intermediary requirements are specified under NJ State Statutes.

Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.

Generally, private placements are more complicated than an agency adoption and are disfavored although legally permitted. But it’s worth it because with a private adoption you are able to get better and more accurate information about the adoptive child and his/her parents. I recommend private adoptions whenever possible. Be aware that Persons (other than the biological parent or guardian of the child to be adopted) are subject to evaluation and questioning.  Any adopting parent must disclose all sums of money or other consideration paid or agreed to be paid to anyone in connection with the birth of the child, including placement with the adoptive parent, medical expenses of the birth mother during the prenatal and postnatal period and other services relating to the adoption including legal services.  The New Jersey Supreme Court in a landmark decision known as the matter of Baby M Case has ruled that a surrogate parenting contract conflicts with NJ laws prohibiting the use of money in connection with adoptions even if the contract states that the money paid to the surrogate is for her services and not for the adoption.

If you have questions about agency adoptions or private placement adoptions, contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at

(855) 376-5291 or fniemann@hnlawfirm.com

to schedule a consultation about your particular needs.  He welcomes your calls and inquiries and you’ll find him easy to talk to and very approachable.

Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, New Jersey, Monmouth County Adoption Attorney

Adoption Law Attorneys serving these New Jersey Counties:

Monmouth County, Ocean County, Essex County, Cape May County, Mercer County,
Middlesex County, Bergen County, Morris County, Burlington County, Union County, Somerset County, Hudson County, Passaic County