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Adoption in Maryland

Billy-Goat Trail - MarylandMaryland is a place that has long beckoned people to adventure, from the Appalachian Mountains in the west to sandy white beaches in the east. Maryland offers Adopting Parents the opportunity to complete their families through adoption and helps Birth Mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy. Here, we offer you our informational guide to help you through your adoption journey.

Placing a Baby for Adoption in Maryland

As a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy and starting the adoption process in the state of Maryland, there are some important things for you to know. You must learn the laws, rules and qualifications of placing your baby for adoption.

When and How can Birth Parents Consent to the Adoption?

An Adoptive Parent can make an adoption plan anytime during the Birth Mother’s pregnancy or after birth of the child. In the state of Maryland, a Birth Parent can consent to placing the child for adoption after the child is born.

The following are the requirements to consent to the adoption:

  • It is given in the language that the Birth Parents understand
  • If given in a language other than English, the consent:
    • Must be given in the presence of a judge and on the record
    • Is accompanied by the affidavit of a translator stating that the translation of the document of consent is accurate
  • Names the child
  • The consent contains enough information to identify the prospective adoptive parent
  • The party has received written notice of:
    • Provisions for revocation of consent
    • The search rights of adoptees and birth parents
    • The right to file a disclosure veto
  • The consent is accompanied by an affidavit of counsel stating that a birth parent who is a minor or has a disability consents knowingly and voluntarily

Who must Consent to the Adoption?

The following are eligible to consent to adoption in Maryland:

  • The Birth Mother and Birth Father
  • An agency with guardianship of the child if parental rights have been terminated
  • The director of the local department of social services with custody of the child
  • The court may grant an adoption only if the child is represented by an attorney and he or she is at least 10 years old

When is Parental Consent not Needed?

Consent is not required if the parent:

  • The parent has not had custody of the adoptee for at least 1 year
  • The child to be adopted has significant emotional ties to and feelings for the adopting parents
  • The parent has not maintained meaningful contact with the child while they were in the care of the potential parent
  • The parent has failed to contribute to the child’s physical care and support
  • The parent has subjected the child to severe mental, physical, or sexual abuse
  • The parent has been convicted of abuse of their children
  • The parent has lost parental rights to the child’s siblings
  • The parent has been convicted, in any state or any court of the United States, of:
    • A crime of violence against a child
    • Aiding or abetting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit a crime against a child 

When does the Birth Parents’ Consent become Irrevocable?

In a Maryland adoption, a birth parent may abolish their consent within 30 days after signing the consent or 30 days after the adoption petition has been filed. After 30 days, consent is irrevocable.

What Rights does the Birth Father have in Maryland Adoptions?

Unless prohibited by a court order, a man is the child’s father and is granted parental rights if:

  • He was married to the Birth Mother at the time of the child’s conception
  • He was married to the Birth Mother when the child was born
  • He is named as the father on the child’s birth certificate and does not deny paternity
  • The Birth Mother names him as the Birth Father and he does not deny paternity
  • He has been adjudicated as the child’s father
  • Genetic testing proves he is the biological father
  • He acknowledges his paternity, orally or in writing, and the mother agrees

Adopting a Baby in Maryland

Before an adoption can take place, there are specific laws, rules and qualifications in Maryland concerning who can adopt or how you can adopt. Laws, rules and qualifications will vary based on the type of adoption you choose to pursue. All Adopting Parents must meet these requirements to adopt in the state of Maryland.

What are the Laws and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Maryland?

The following are eligible to adopt a child in Maryland:

  • Prospective parent must be at least 18 years old
  • Prospective parent can be single or married
  • If single, have sufficient physical and emotional ability to take sole responsibility for a child
  • If married, have a stable relationship and be married for a reasonable amount of time to adjust to each other
  • Prospective parent must have an sufficient income to care for the child and any other dependent family member
  • Prospective parent must have adequate space to meet the child’s needs
  • Prospective parent must provide medical records to prove physical and emotional health are not hazardous to a child and would not impair their ability to parent a child
  • Prospective parent must complete 27 hours of preservice training

What Adoption Expenses can be Paid by Adoptive Families in Maryland?

Individual states determine how much and what type of expenses are allowed to be paid to a prospective Birth Mother during her adoption process. Expenses related to adoption in Maryland depend on the type of adoption you decide to pursue.
The following are adoption expenses that are permitted in Maryland:

  • Reasonable expenses for food, clothing, and shelter for a Birth Mother
  • Reasonable medical expenses for the Birth Mother in relation to the pregnancy and birth of the child
  • Reasonable medical expenses for the child
  • Adoption counseling
  • Court costs, attorney, agency fees and travel expenses

What are the Laws to become a Foster Parent in Maryland?

The following are eligible to foster parent in Louisiana:

  • Prospective parents must be at least 21 years old
  • Prospective parents may be single or married
  • Prospective parents may live in own apartment or house
  • Pass a home inspection
  • Prospective parents are fingerprinted for a criminal background check
  • Every member of the household 18 years or older must be fingerprinted for a criminal background check
  • Prospective parents must be financial stability and can provide for the child
  • Prospective parents must submit a medical examination to determine physical and emotion ability to care for the child
  • Requested to provide three references regarding their parenting ability
  • Required to complete a minimum of 27 hours of foster care training
  • Two home visits to discuss the family’s lifestyle, sleeping space for the child, and types of children that will be the best fit for the Foster Parents
  • Obtain a child support clearance
  • Prospective parents must agree not to use physical punishment

What are the Requirements to Finalize an International Adoption in Maryland?

An international adoption can be finalized in Maryland, but it is not required if the adopted child was adopted in compliance with the laws of his or her native country and if the child is issued a visa verifying the validity of the adoption.The child will be issued a new birth certificate through the state upon receipt of a foreign adoption decree, proof of the child’s birth date and place and a request from the court, the adoptive parents, or the adopted person if he or she is 18 or older. The certificate will be labeled “Certificate of Foreign Birth” and will include the adopted child’s country of birth, along with a statement indicating that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship.

Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in Maryland

All adoptive parents in the state of Maryland are required to complete a home study and a post-placement assessment after the adoption has taken place; regardless of the type of adoption you’re pursuing or the adoption professional you’re working with. Both will assess your ability to provide a nurturing and stable home to a child.

What is Included in the Maryland Home Study Process?

In Maryland, a home study will include, but is not limited to:

  • A sanitary home approval
  • A fire safety approval
  • At least 3 references, one of which may be from a relative
  • At least 4 home interviews and individual interviews with each resident of the home
  • Each family member 18 years or older must pass a criminal background check
  • Each family member 18 years or older must pass a child and protective services clearance

Throughout the home study, proof of income, financial stability, and mental and physical capability to care for the child will also be considered as well. The process should be completed within 90 days, unless there are delays caused by crisis in the family.

Who is Included in the Home Study Process?

The Maryland home study includes the applicant and any other member who lives in the household that is at least 18 years old.

Who will Conduct the Home Study?

The home study will be completed by the local department.

On what Grounds will the Home Study not be Approved in Maryland?

The local department may not approve or continue to approve as an adoptive home if any adult in the household has been convicted of:

  • A crime, if the local department deems it to be a concern for the child’s safety
  • Refuses to consent to the child protective services clearance
  • Has been convicted of child abuse or neglect

The director  of the local department shall review the debatable rulings related to any adult in the household to determine the possible risk to a child’s safety. Based on the evidence, the local director may deny, suspend, or revoke adoptive home approval.

What are the Post-Placement Requirements for Maryland?

After a child has been placed into their adoptive home, grounds for withholding adoption will take place to oversee the transition and ensure the adoption is still in the child’s best interest.

In Maryland, the post placement study will include, but is not limited to:

  • Visits to the adoptive family a minimum of 3 times in the first 6 months of the child’s placement
  • Including the child in these visits according to the child’s placement
  • Recommendation to continue teaching the child about their heritage and genetic history
  • Evaluative, supportive, and educational services geared to Adoptive Family development

What are the Home Study Requirements to Adopt a Child from Another State?

Any out of home placement of a child outside of Maryland is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

What are the Pre-placement Requirements to Adopt a Child that is currently in my Care?

Families who wish to adopt a foster child if guardianship is granted are considered legal risk adoptive homes. Placement in legal risk homes is made in an attempt to facilitate permanency for children whose goal is adoption. The requirements and home study process is identical for legal risk adoptive parents as it is for foster parents, with additional information about legal risk placement.

Maryland Adoption Professionals

Maryland is home to some amazing adoption agencies who are ready to help get you started on your journey. Whether it be adopting a child into your family, or finding resources to place your child up for adoption, these professionals are all willing and able to help you throughout this process.

Adoption Network Law Center

1-800-367-2367

Adoption Makes Family

410-683-2100

The Baker Adoption Foundation

1-301-664-9664

Creative Adoptions, Inc.

301-596-1521

Visit Maryland

Between its small scale, rich history and well-regarded seafood scene, the Old Line state better known as Maryland is the perfect place for adopting parents and birth mothers to take a break from the adoption process!

U.S. Naval Academy

Fort McHenry National Monument

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Assateague Island National Seashore

The Walters Art Museum

Ocean City Beach

National Aquarium, Baltimore

Historic Annapolis

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