In Maryland, there are two types of adoptions: agency adoptions and independent adoptions.
Agency adoptions can be either private agency adoptions or public agency adoptions.
- Private agency adoptions occur when a Maryland licensed adoption agency arranges for placement and adoption of a child who has been placed for adoption.
- Public agency adoptions occur after a child has been removed from the biological parents’ home by the State of Maryland and has been placed with an adoptive family.
Independent adoptions occur when the biological parents identify an individual who they desire to adopt their child and enter into an adoption agreement.
Maryland law requires that the parental rights of both biological parents must be terminated for an adoption to occur. The one exception to this rule is a stepparent adoption, when only one biological parent’s rights must be terminated.
Biological parents can either consent to termination or their rights can be involuntarily terminated.
For parental rights to be involuntarily terminated, the Petitioner must overcome the presumption in the law that it is in a child’s best interest to be raised by their biological parents. However, when the parental relationship is detrimental to the child’s best interest, the presumption favoring the parental relationship is rebuttable if the court finds that the biological parents are unfit or that exceptional circumstances exist.
The controlling standard in any termination of parental rights hearing is the best interest of the child. Once rights have been terminated, an agency or the local Department of Social Services, acting as guardian, can consent to the adoption.
ASSISTANCE PROVIDED BY FLAG
FLAG attorneys have extensive experience providing representation in adoption proceedings. Our attorneys have represented children in hundreds of adoption cases after rights have been terminated, as well as parents involved in independent adoptions and stepparents seeking to adopt their spouse’s child.
From background checks and the home study process through the review of documents, contracts, and finalization of the adoption, our attorneys will assist you with what can be a complex and emotionally stressful period as you expand your family and fulfill your dreams.
Call our office (410) 884-0400 to schedule an Initial Consultation to discuss your legal rights.
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