New Hampshire Adoption Laws and Policies

Who Can Adopt in New Hampshire?

A married couple jointly or an unmarried adult may adopt. A married individual may adopt without his/her spouse if the adopting parent is a stepparent, is legally separated from his/her spouse, the spouse is gone due to an unexplained absence, or if the adoptee is 18 years or older.

Domestic Adoption Laws in New Hampshire

Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? Yes.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Not addressed in state statutes.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical, legal, counseling, reasonable living, including transportation, lodging, clothing, meals, and excluding gifts over $50, educational expenses. 6 weeks post-partum.

Is there a putative father registry? Yes.

When can consent to adoption be granted? 72 hours after birth.

When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? After final hearing. Return not automatic. Birthparent can request hearing to decide on revocation. Must prove fraud or duress in signing surrender AND that revocation is in child’s best interest.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Yes, although the agreement must be in writing and approved by the court before the adoption decree is issued. The agreement is enforceable until the child reaches 18 years of age.

International Adoption Laws in New Hampshire

Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Yes, a decree of court by any court within or outside of the U.S. is recognized by New Hampshire as long as the adoption decree is issued under due process of law.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Yes, as long as the adopting parents provide proof to the court that the adoption is valid. Whether or not it’s mandatory is not addressed in the state statutes.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The State Registrar will issue a certificate of foreign birth upon receipt of a report of adoption, a certified copy of the adoption decree, the adoptee’s alien registration card, proof of the child’s date and place of birth, and a request from either the adopting parents or adoptee if s/he is 18 years or older that a birth certificate be issued.

Adoption From Foster Care in New Hampshire

Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, subsidies are available for a special needs child, who is defined as having at least one of the following: six years or older, but no older than 18 years, of a minority race, member of a sibling group of 2 or more children being placed together, has a language barrier, has a physical, mental, or emotional condition. In addition, the child must be under legal supervision or custody of the Division for Children, Youth and Families or a licensed public or private child-placing agency. Subsidies start at adoption placement.

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

New Hampshire Adoption Unit

Program Manager: Catherine Meister

129 Pleasant Street
Brown Building
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Phone: (603) 271-8382
Fax: (603) 271-4729


DISCLAIMER: The state laws and policies outlined above are offered to readers only for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the state laws were accurate at the time of compilation, but The Current Initiative cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent changes or revisions to the laws. Please do not rely on the information above without first consulting an adoption attorney licensed in your state. Updated in November 2014.