How to Adopt in Maine

Maine isn't just home to famous lighthouses and lobsters; it’s also home to many families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in Maine.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Maine

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked question about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Maine.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Maine?

To be eligible to become an Adoptive Parent in Maine, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a legal resident of Maine
  • Be of good mental and physical health
  • Have sufficient income to support the child
  • Be single or married

The Prospective Adoptive Parents home must:

  • Have a working telephone
  • Adequate living space for the child
  • Adequate heating, lighting and ventilation
  • Be kept clean
  • Pass a safety inspection

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Maine?

Expenses related to adoption in Maine range widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Are you looking to adopt internationally or domestically? Through a private agency or the foster care system? Depending on what you decide, Adoptive Parents may be asked to cover adoption-related expenses such as:

  • Legal services
  • Prenatal and postnatal counseling for the Birth Mother
  • Medical expenses for the Birth Mother and child
  • Transportation services in relation to the adoption
  • Agency fees
  • Reasonable living expenses for the Birth Mother and child
  • Legal fees and counseling services for the Birth Father

How do you become a Foster Parent in Maine?

To become a Foster Parent in Maine, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be in good physical and mental health to care for the child
  • Provide 3 references from non-relative people
  • Complete and pass a criminal background check
  • Complete fingerprinting to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to submit required fingerprint-based checks to national crime databases
  • Have a phone at your residence
  • Have your home meet state water standards
  • Have your home pass a state fire safety and protection inspection
  • Complete home visits with a social worker

What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in Maine?

An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated.

In Maine, it is illegal for any non-licensed facilitator or intermediary to advertise to find an adoptive home or permanent placement for a child or assist in the adoption arrangement.

Click here to read about the difference between adoption agencies, attorneys, and facilitators.

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Maine

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in Maine.

Who must consent to an adoption in Maine?

Consent to adoption in Maine must be given the following:

  • The adoptee if they are at least 12 years old
  • Each living parent
  • The person or agency who has legal custody of the child
  • A court-appointed guardian when the child has no living parent, guardian, or legal custodian who may consent

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Maine?

Consent will not be required of:

  • A parent of an adoptee who is 18 years old
  • A parent whose parental rights have been terminated
  • A parent who has executed a surrender and release of the child
  • A parent whose rights have been terminated and transferred to a licensed public or private agency
  • A Putative Father, who is not the Birth Father, if he:
    • Waived his right to consent
    • Received notice of adoption proceedings and failed to respond in the given time frame
    • Has no parental rights of the child under the laws of the foreign jurisdiction that the child was born

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Maine?

Consent to adoption in in Maine may be given any time after the child’s birth.

Consent from the parents and the child, if they are at least 14 years old, must be given in the presence of a judge. The following conditions must be met for the consent to be approved:

  • A licensed child-placing agency or the department must certify that counseling for the consenting parents was provided or offered and refused
  • At least 3 days have past since the parents gave their consent and they have not attempted to revoke them
  • The court has explained the parent’s rights, the effect of the consent and surrender of their rights, and that they have the right to revoke their consent within 3 days
  • The court determines that the consent was given freely after being informed of all their rights

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Maine?

Consent to adoption is not valid until 3 days after it is given, after that it is final, unless the petition for adoption is withdrawn or dismissed, or the adoption is not finalized within 18 months of the consent.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Maine?

The term ‘Parent’ means the legal parent or the legal guardian when no legal parent exists.

A ‘Putative Father’ means a man who is the alleged Biological Father of a child but whose paternity has not been legally established.

An ‘Alleged father’ means:

  • A man who is alleged to have engaged in sexual intercourse with a child’s mother during a possible time of conception of the child
  • A man who is presumed to be a child’s father under the Maine Rules of Evidence, Rule 302

In Maine, if a Birth Mother is married, it is assumed that her husband is the child’s Biological Father. If the Birth Mom is not married to the child’s Birth Father, his paternity can be established by Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or by court order, which may include proof of fatherhood by genetic testing.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Maine

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Maine are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

The home study is a critical component to the adoption process. While it is to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support, it is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to asks questions and prepare for the adoption. A home study is ultimately a recommendation as to the fitness of the applicants to become Adoptive Parents.

In Maine, a home study assessment will include:

  • Criminal background checks
  • Child abuse and neglect registry check
  • A medical statement from a licensed physician based on an examination within 6 months
  • At least 3 references
  • Contact with the 3 references, 1 of which must be in person
  • Financial statements
  • Religious preferences
  • At least 1 home visit
  • Individual interviews with the family
  • An assessment of the applicants
    • Motivation to adopt
    • Disciplinary practices
    • Stability of the marriage, if applicable
    • Education and employment
    • Physical, mental and emotional health
    • Feelings about the adoption
    • Money management
    • Experience with children
    • Relationship with extended family
    • Life style and acceptance in the community
    • Feelings toward birth parents, including their race and color if different from the applicants’, and the background of the child
    • Methods and effectiveness of communication

Who oversees a home study in Maine and who is included in it?

The home study will require a background check and compliance from the Prospective Adoptive Parents. It will be conducted by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services or a licensed adoption agency.

Why would my home study not be approved in Maine?

A home study in Maine will not be approved for the following reasons:

  • A Prospective Parent has been convicted of a child-related sexual offense
  • Has been adjudicated of sexually abusing a minor
  • The court find that the adoption is not in the best interest of the child
  • There is a reputable presumption that the applicant would jeopardize the child’s safety

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Maine?

The court may waive the home study requirement for a step parent or relative adoption in Maine.

What are the home study requirements for adopting a baby from another state?

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

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

Before the adoption has been finalized, a post placement assessment will take place to ensure the transition into adoption is going well and that the Adoptive Family's circumstances have not changed to no longer fit the child's best interest.

In Maine, the postplacement period will last at least 6 months. The family must be seen within the first 3 weeks of the child’s placement into the home and continue to have home visits every 2 months until the provisionary period is over. The agency shall ensure that the applicants understand the importance of telling the child he or she is adopted and shall review with the applicants how that will be done.

During each visit, a written report will be made to help with determining whether the adoption should be finalized. The decision will be based on the following factors:

  • The physical and emotional adjustment and development of the child
  • The capacity of the adoptive parents to assume the role of parent with respect to the needs of the child

Maine Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Maine is home to some amazing adoption professionals who are ready to get your journey started. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or seeking resources to place your child for adoption, these professionals will guide you through the legal pathways and offer you support throughout your journey:

Adoption Partners of Maine

844-300-5683

Birth Mothers Journey of Acadia Adoption Center

877-723-6789

Connections Adoption Agency

1-888-316-8575

A Full Circle Adoptions

413-800-2019

The Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers

207-873-4253

Things to do in Maine

If your adoption journey takes you to the state famous for its lobster and lighthouses, visits some places you can experience one or both:

Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth

Cabbage Island in Boothbay Harbor

Fort Knox State Historic Site in Prospect

Marginal Way in Ogunquit

A note from Adoption Network Law Center

No matter your decision, we appreciate the time you have taken to read about how to adopt in Maine. Adoption Network Law Center wishes you the best of luck and is available to answer any further questions you may have about the adoption process. Call 1-866-602-9541 to speak with one of our amazing team members or visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/ to read more about our services. Whether you’re a soon-to-be Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent, ANLC wishes you the best on your adoption journey.