Family Attorneys For Adoptions
Your priority should be on your child – not the complicated adoption processes put in place by the Maryland and federal governments.
JC Law can help you bring your child home where they belong by taking care of the legal end, while you focus on the real priorities.
What Types Of Adoptions Are Available In Maryland?
Maryland law allows you to adopt a child through one of several methods.
- Public agency adoption: You adopt a child through the Department of Social Services in a Maryland city near you.
- Private agency adoption: A private adoption agency oversees and coordinates your adoption.
- Independent adoption: The birth parents and adoptive parents arrange the adoption without the involvement of an adoption agency. Some parents prefer independent adoptions since they have more control over the process.
- Kinship adoption: A family member (such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle) adopts a child.
- Stepparent adoption: A stepparent adopts their spouse’s child.
All of these adoption options have legal ramifications that you’ll need a good family law attorney to help you navigate.
Additionally, you can choose between open, semi-open, and closed adoption types.
- Open adoption: The birth parent can occasionally see the child and participate in their life.
- Semi-open adoption: There is less face-to-face contact, but the adoptive parents send the birth parents information about the child’s activities and well-being such as pictures and letters.
- Closed adoption: The child does not have continuing contact with the birth parents.
Open and semi-open adoptions are increasingly popular in the United States. However, each form of post-adoption relationship has its advantages and disadvantages.
A family lawyer experienced in Maryland adoptions can help you understand these issues and structure your adoption to meet you and your child’s needs.
Who Can Adopt A Child In Maryland?
Almost any adult can adopt a child in Maryland, as long as they can ensure the child’s safety and welfare.
Maryland law does not discriminate against adoptive parents based on their:
- Marital status (you can be married, single, or divorced)
- Sexual orientation
- Race or ethnicity
- Whether you own or rent your home
However, prospective parents must undergo a home study to ensure the child will be properly cared for.
A home study assesses your ability to care for a child and involves more than simply touring your residence. You will also participate in training, interviews, and a criminal background check. You will discuss your work life, personal interests, values, and financial stability. If you already have children, they might also participate in the home study (if age appropriate).
After you complete a home study, the adoption agency will decide whether you are a suitable adoptive parent.
A family lawyer with Maryland adoption experience can help you navigate the home study and other parts of the adoption process to make sure you’re able to bring your child home. They can also educate you about your appeal rights if your home study is unfavorable.
What Is Maryland’s Adoption Process?
Before the formal adoption process begins, you must consider a variety of issues. These include:
- Are you willing to adopt a disabled or special needs child?
- What level of involvement should the birth parents have?
- Are you interested in a domestic or international adoption?
- Do you want to adopt an infant, a young child, or an adolescent?
An experienced Maryland adoption attorney can help guide you through this analysis and help you decide which options are best suited to your family and parenting goals.
From there, you will begin your adoption search. Your search process will vary, depending on your type of adoption.
For example, you might meet with prospective birth parents. Or, you might travel repeatedly to your child’s birth country if you are pursuing an international adoption.
Once you complete your adoption search and home study, you must file a formal petition for adoption. Typically, the birth parent or parents must consent to the adoption. You must also submit reports and other documents to the relevant Maryland court with jurisdiction over the child.
Your adoption lawyer will ensure that your documentation and petition are properly filed and prepare you for your adoption hearing.
Once the court understands the type of family support you can provide the child and there are no legal hiccups – which can and do arise – then they sign off on the legal adoption of your child!
Can A Birth Parent Revoke A Maryland Adoption?
Yes, it is possible that either a parent or adoption agency can revoke their consent before an adoption is final.
Depending on where you are adopting your child, there are varying timelines for revocation. However, most Maryland birth parents can only revoke their consent within 30 days of signing a consent form or filing an adoption petition (whichever is later)
In addition, both birth and adoptive parents might have appeal rights after a Maryland judge grants or denies a petition to adopt.
If you are facing adoption consent issues or an appeal, then please contact a Maryland adoption lawyer immediately. Even if you think the evidence for the appeal is scanty and it’s clear that you’re the best family for the child, you can still lose your child if you don’t take the situation seriously.
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