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verb: adopt; 3rd person present: adopts; past tense: adopted; past participle: adopted; gerund or present participle: adopting

  1. legally take another's child and bring him or her up as one's own.

What is Adoption

Adoption is a legal process which transfers parental rights and responsibilities from a child(ren)’s birth parents to their adoptive parents.  But adoption is so much more than that.  Adoption is a meaningful and life-changing event for the child and family alike. It provides the security, permanency and love of a family every child deserves, when it is not possible for that child to be raised by his/her birth parents. Adoption is special. Adoption is hope. Adoption is forever.

who are the Children

Most children who are placed in foster care by the NH Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), return to their own families. However, there are some who cannot be safely reunited with their parents and need an alternative permanent plan. Many of these children are adopted by relatives or their foster parents, but some need permanent adoptive homes.

  • All have experienced abuse and /or neglect.

  • Most have special developmental, medical, educational, and emotional needs as a result of their difficult life circumstances.

  • Some are part of a sibling group who need to be adopted together.

  • Most have experienced significant losses in their lives and are grieving.

  • Some will need to maintain a connection with their birth family.

  • Some are older teens who are willing to make a commitment to a family.

  • Others are in residential settings and will need help and patience as they make the transition to life in a family.

  • All waiting children listed on our site are legally free for adoption.

Who can adopt through dcyf

NH DCYF welcomes any individual or couple. Families who have adopted through DCYF come from all walks of life. They may be married, single, have no children, or already be parenting children. There are no out-of-pocket expenses involved with adopting through DCYF.

Adoptive families do have:

  • Experience with children

  • A sense of humor

  • A good support system

  • A flexible lifestyle and expectations

  • A willingness to learn

  • The ability to make a long term parenting commitment

  • An enjoyment of the challenge of parenting

the process

The process to adopt through NH DCYF is designed to give prospective families all of the information they need to decide if adopting through DCYF is the best choice for them. All prospective adoptive families who reside in the state of NH need to be licensed as foster families and will need to...

  • Complete an inquiry packet

  • Submit fingerprint-based Criminal Records and Central Registry Checks of child abusers for household members over 17 years of age

  • Provide medical clearance statements on all family members

  • Submit the names of five references

  • Provide local fire and health inspections of the home

  • Participate in at least two home visits with a DCYF social worker

  • Successfully complete preservices training

  • Complete a home study with a DCYF Resource Worker

  • Alternatively, families can work with one of several licensed Child-Placing Agencies in New Hampshire. The following agencies are licensed to provide foster care in the state of NH...

Visit here to learn more about becoming a foster parent in NH.    

Families residing outside the state of New Hampshire that have been matched with a child in NH will need to go through the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) process.  Visits will not be able to occur and placement cannot be made until the ICPC has been approved by the state that the family is residing in. All families will need to be licensed and need to complete the requirements for licensure in the state they reside in. Our office can help walk you through this process if you are matched with one of our children.


Adoption is a lifelong commitment, and ADOPT NH and NH DCYF are committed to providing the services necessary for your family to thrive.  You can learn more about post-adoption services through NH DCYF here.  And be sure to check out our information on Counseling and Supports.

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