How much do you know about adoption in Maryland?

Without a doubt, one of the most exciting moments in the lives of any couple or individual is when the decision is made to adopt. While this decision will likely result in a happy and fulfilling life for both the child and their adoptive parents, it’s nevertheless important for those considering this major step to understand and appreciate all that the process entails.

As such, today’s post, the first in an ongoing series, will provide some basic background information about the adoption process here in Maryland.

What exactly is adoption?

From a strictly legal perspective, adoption is the establishment of a parent-child relationship between people who are not a natural parent and child via judicial order. This new relationship is viewed exactly the same as any other relationship between a natural parent and their child in the eyes of the law.

It’s important to understand, however, that the same judicial order establishing a new parent-child relationship effectively terminates the parental rights and responsibilities of the child’s natural parents.

Are there different types of adoptions?

Yes. Three different types of adoptions are recognized under Maryland law and all three have similar procedures. These include public agency adoptions, private agency adoptions and independent adoptions.

What can be expected during the adoption process?  

The adoption process essentially begins with a trip to the nearest Circuit Court to file a petition for adoption. From there, the child’s natural parents — if they can be located — will be given the chance to object to the adoption or provide their consent.

A series of reports and investigations will then be filed with the court before a hearing is ultimately held in which the adoption petition is either granted or denied. Appeals of adoption decisions may be filed with the Court of Special Appeals.

If you would like to learn more about expanding your home via adoption and your rights under Maryland law, consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.

Source: The People’s Law Library of Maryland, “Adoption,” June 13, 2014

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