Adoption By City

How to Adopt in Maryland

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 Maryland.

Check out some of the families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey in Maryland.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Maryland

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 Maryland.

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

To become an Adoptive Parent in Maryland, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • If married, have a stable relationship and be married for a reasonable amount of time to adjust to each other
  • If single, have sufficient physical and emotional ability to take sole responsibility for a child
  • 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
  • Although owning a home is not required, you must have adequate space to meet the child’s needs
  • Complete 27 hours of preservice training
  • Have sufficient income to care for the child and any other dependent family member

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

Expenses related to adoption in Maryland 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 expenses such as:

  • Hospital and medical bills for the Birth Mother and child
  • Legal fees and services
  • Adoption counseling
  • Agency fees

How do you become a Foster Parent in Maryland?

If you are interested in becoming a Foster Parent in Maryland, you first need to make sure you meet the minimum requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have financial stability and can provide for the child
  • Complete 27 hours of foster care training
  • Pass criminal background checks
  • Submit a medical examination to determine physical and emotion ability to care for the child
  • Obtain a child support clearance
  • Agree not to use physical punishment
  • Pass a home inspection
  • Provide 3 references
  • 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

Applicant may be of any marital status and may live in an apartment or home.

Can you finalize an international adoption in Maryland?

Foreign adoptions may be finalized in Maryland, but it is not required if the child was adopted in compliance with the laws of a foreign country and if the child is issued a visa verifying the validity of the adoption.

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

An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated. Facilitators only help with the advertising and matching of their clients. Once a Prospective Adoptive Family and Birth Mother have been matched, the facilitator will refer their clients to adoption professionals who will then help with the remaining process.

While the use of advertising for the purpose of adoption is not addressed in Maryland’s statues, it is illegal for any individual to charge or receive compensation for any services related to adoption.

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 Maryland

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 Maryland.

Who must consent to an adoption in Maryland?

Consent to adoption in Maryland must be given by the following:

  • The Birth Mother and Father
  • An agency with guardianship of the child if parental rights have been terminated
  • The director of the Department of Social Services if they have custody of the child
  • Any child who is 10 years or older

For more information about adoption consent in Maryland, click here.

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Maryland?

Parental consent is not necessary for Maryland adoptions if the court find evidence that a parent:

  • Has not had custody of the adoptee for at least 1 year
  • Has failed to contribute to the child’s physical care and support
  • Has been convicted of abuse of their children
  • Did not maintain contact with the child while they were in the care of the potential parent
  • Subjected the child to severe mental, physical, or sexual abuse
  • Consent may also be unnecessary if the child has significant emotional ties to the Prospective Parent
  • Has lost parental rights to the child’s siblings

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

Adoption consent in Maryland may not be given until after the child’s birth. It is not valid unless:

  • It is given in the language that the party understands
  • If it is not given in English, the consent must:
    • Be given before a judge
    • Is accompanied by the affidavit of a translator stating that the translation of the document of consent is accurate
  • It names the child
  • It identifies the Adoptive Parents
  • The party has received written notice of:
    • Provisions of revocation of consent
    • The search rights of adoptees and parents
    • The right to file a disclosure veto
  • It is accompanied by an affidavit of counsel stating that a parent who is a minor or has a disability consents knowingly and voluntarily

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

In a Maryland adoption, a Birth Parent may revoke 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 do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Maryland?

Unless excluded by 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

For more information about Birth Father rights in Maryland, click here

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Maryland

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Maryland 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?

A home study is a critical component in the adoption process in. It is an initial assessment to determine the Adoptive Family’s readiness for adoption, as well as an opportunity for the family to ask questions about the process.

A home study in Maryland may include the following aspects:

  • 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

During the home study, proof of income, financial stability, and mental and physical ability to care for the child may be considered as well. It should be completed in 90 days, except when there are delays caused by a crisis in the family.

To learn more about the home study process in Maryland, click here.

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

Any of the following acts may award grounds for withholding adoption approval in Maryland:

  • Any crime, if it is found to be a serious concern to the child’s safety
  • An act of child abuse or neglect
  • Refusal to consent to a child protective services clearance

Based on findings during the home study, the local director may deny, suspend, or revoke adoptive home approval.

What are the home study requirements for adopting a baby 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 is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

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

In Maryland, the post placement study will include the following:

  • Visits to the Adoptive Family at least 3 times in the first 6 months of the child’s placement
  • Include the child in these visits according to the child’s age and capability
  • 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 requirements for a Foster to Adopt placement in Maryland?

Some foster children in Maryland are considered “at risk,” meaning they are not yet legally free to be adopted but steps are being taken to terminate parental rights of their Birth Parents. Foster Parents may have these “at risk” foster children removed from their home, but if the child becomes legally free, they may adopt. For most foster to adopt cases, the child must be living in your home for at least 12 months. An interview process will take place to ensure the adoption is in the best interest of the child.

Maryland Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Maryland 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:

The Baker Adoption Foundation

1-301-664-9664

A Baby Step Adoption

888-505-2367

Adoption Makes Family

410-683-2100

Things to do in Maryland

If you find yourself in Maryland while awaiting adoption proceedings or meeting your new child, you can spend your down time visiting some of the state’s most popular attractions:

U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis

Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore

Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore

The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore

Assateague Island National Seashore

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 Maryland. 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.