Choosing to adopt a child is a life-changing event for any person or family. When adopting a child, a petitioner should be aware of what form of adoption works for them and should also know all the requirements placed on adoptive parents in Maryland. Our firm would be pleased to help you make an addition to your family. If you or a family member need assistance with adopting a child in Maryland, you should consult with an experienced Maryland adoption attorney as soon as possible.
The Law Offices of Randolph Rice has vast experience handling a variety of Maryland family law claims, and we are prepared to help you manage your adoption. We understand that adopting a child is likely a new and exciting change for a family, and we would like to assist you in accomplishing your adoption goals. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your adoption case, contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291. You could also use our online submission form to schedule your free consultation.
What is the Adoption Process in Maryland?
The adoption process allows a person to become a legal parent of a child or possibly of another adult. Once the adoption process is complete, the rights of the biological parents are extinguished, which means they can no longer have the option to make a decision on behalf of the child.
If you elect to adopt a child, you should be familiar with the types of adoption available in Maryland: independent adoption, private agency adoption, and public agency adoption.
It is true that many adoptions are performed by a state agency or a private agency. However, an independent adoption is one where the adopting parent forms a relationship with the biological parent prior to the adoption.
When determining whether to approve an independent adoption, a Maryland court will consider whether they can meet the following goals:
- The independent adoption must provide a safe and permanent home for the child
- Ensure the child is not arbitrarily separated from their parents
- Ensure the parents understand the gravity of surrendering their parental rights
- Inform the adoptive parents of the family history of the parents and the child
- Prevent former parents from interfering with adoptive parents
There are a few factors that the court may consider when adjudicating an independent adoption. For example, the court will determine whether the adoption is in the best interests of the child and whether the adoptive parent is married or single.
It is also important to note that the adoptive parent must have the consent of the biological parent or guardian before they can adopt the child. In some cases, the biological parent can even revoke their consent for adoption.
The biological parents can also contract to have visitation rights with the child once they are adopted.
Private Agency Adoption
A private adoption agency is authorized to operate by the Social Security Administration. A licensed private adoption agency will be able to provide a prospective adoptive parent with a variety of services, such as counseling, home study, and post-adoption services.
Once an adoptive parent has contracted with a private adoption agency, they cannot contract with another adoption agency unless they are released from the contract. Similar to independent adoptions, a private agency also has the power to revoke an adoption.
Public Agency Adoption
It is also possible to adopt a child through a Maryland public agency. Many children adopted through a public agency were likely victims of abuse or neglect by their parents and family. If the agency cannot reunite the child with their family, they will likely seek adoptive parents for the children.
If you wish to learn more about how adoption works in Maryland, you should continue reading and speak with one of our experienced Maryland adoption lawyers today.
Requirements for Adoption in Maryland
There are a few requirements that must be met before a person can adopt a child in Maryland. For example, a person cannot begin the adoption process without being at least 21 years of age. Additionally, while a person can begin adoption proceedings while single, the spouse of the petitioner will be automatically involved in the process. However, if the spouse is the parent of the child or they are mentally infirm, the spouse will not have to be included in the process.
Once a person applies for adoption and receives the consent of the parent or adoption agency they will have to then attend a hearing regarding their ability to become an adoptive parent. The court will consider a variety of factors before approving a petition for adoption:
- The living situation of the parent
- Whether the petitioner is financially capable of caring for a child
- Whether the petitioner lives with other family members or dependents
- The criminal history of the petitioner
This is not an exhaustive list. Our firm is here to help you through every stage of your adoption proceedings.
Consult with a Skilled Maryland Adoption Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
If you or a family member would like legal assistance to adopt a child in Maryland, you should consult with an experienced Maryland adoption lawyer today. The Law Offices of Randolph Rice knows the work that goes into adopting a child, and we could help you address any concerns you may have. To schedule a free legal consultation with our Maryland family law attorney to discuss the details of your adoption case, contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291. You may also contact our firm online to schedule your free case evaluation.