Adopting a child in Maryland: What you need to know in the adoption triad.
Is Adoption for You?
Adoption is a piece of many people’s stories throughout the nation and worldwide. When considering adoption, either to add children to your family or to find hopeful parents to raise your own baby, there are a lot of things to consider. Choosing what type of adoption would be best for you, your finances, and home environment, etc. are all important things to consider.
This was written with the people from the state of Maryland in mind. These laws and tips should help you while you are embarking on your own adoption journey in Maryland.
Know all your options before you make your decision. It is helpful to consider the options of adoption, abortion, or parenting when you are expecting a child. You may want to meet with a counselor to weigh the options before you start making decisions. Whatever you do, make sure that you are the one deciding so that it is your choice. Because whatever choice you land on is a decision that you will have to live with for the rest of your life.
It may help ease your mind to know that you aren’t the only one going through the phase of life that you are in. It’s absolutely vital to form a support group around you. I would encourage you to be open, honest, and vulnerable with your family. If you receive negative, unhealthy, or opinionated feedback from your family, turn to your friends. There are also support groups at many adoption agencies. It would be beneficial for you to reach out to the agencies surrounding you and set up an appointment either in person, over the phone, or through a video call to speak to someone who understands your current situation and can help guide you to more resources for you and your child.
When finding a support group or turning to resources, you should recognize that you don’t have to settle for the first, second, or even third option you stumble upon. You should feel comfortable with whoever you turn to, and if it takes a couple of calls and a little research to find the group that is going to be the most beneficial for you, don’t get discouraged. It may take time to find the right fit for you, but stay motivated. You are valuable and are worth investing in. Stay motivated and stay encouraged. Find the best source for you so that the group you have rallied around you will be the group that is going to help you to stay motivated and encouraged. You are in a vulnerable state that requires nothing but love and support.
Although you have the options of parenting, adoption, and abortion, if you choose to place your child for adoption, you can also choose the parent(s) your child would be raised by. Many agencies in the state of Maryland give expectant parents the resources to go through profiles of hopeful adoptive parents. You can read about their lives and imagine the life they would provide for your baby. Some birth mothers even gravitate towards the families they hope to be like later on in their own life. If you worry you may not be able to provide for your child right now, financially or otherwise, there may be a family with similar interests to you that would be able to provide for your child. The choice of who raises your child is yours. During a time where you may feel like you don’t have a lot of choices, it is nice to know that you do have choices and that you will be blessing the lives of another family.
You may be interested in reaching out to prospective adoptive parents. Phone calls, emails, and the like can help you learn more about them and if they will be a good option for your baby. This can help build a good relationship between you and the adoptive parents if you decide to place your child with them.
You can choose if you want an open, semi-open, or closed adoption. If you want a relationship with your baby after the adoption is complete, then an open adoption would provide that opportunity. You may be able to attend birthday parties, family dinners, or whatever else depending on the agreement settled upon by both the adoptive and birth families. Semi-open adoptions usually entail limited contact through an agency or attorney. This usually means that you receive yearly letters from the adoptive families and that you can send letters to them. All of the mail is received by the agency or attorney and forwarded to the interested parties. Closed adoptions have minimal to no interaction between birth families and adoptive families. In some closed adoptions, birth parents choose to have their name available in registries so if the child wants to find them when he or she is older, then he or she has that option.
The options you have before you are going to have a life-long impact, so I would implore you to have a good support group and good contacts to help you work through your options. When you make your choice, whether you choose to parent, place your child for adoption, or abort your pregnancy, you need to have a sound mind. Regardless of your choice, there will certainly be times where you will wonder about other outcomes. There may be days that are still hard as you navigate the reality of your choice. But it’s important that overall, you know that you did the right thing for yourself and your situation.
Hopeful Adoptive Parents:
There are a lot of reasons that people choose to adopt. Some people struggle with infertility, or the inability to reproduce. Regardless of what your situation is, adoption may very well be the best option for your life.
Some women may not be able to handle the physical toll that pregnancy has on a body due to health concerns or they may decide that they do not want to reproduce biologically. Others may have a biological child and find that they can’t endure the toll that pregnancy and childbirth have on the body again or perhaps there were complications and they no longer have the capacity to have a baby biologically.
Couples in a same-sex relationship cannot reproduce biologically. But that doesn’t mean the desire and longing to be a parent isn’t still prevalent for some. In the state of Maryland, LGBTQ+ couples may petition to adopt a child. Maryland laws prohibit agencies from discriminating against any individual or couple based on their sexual orientation.
Some people may not have found a significant other or have no desire to find one, but he or she may still have the desire to bring children into their home to love and nurture. Adopting a child in Maryland is a viable option for single people with the desire to parent.
Adopting a Child in Maryland:
Remember that adopting a child in Maryland is a legal and permanent process. When your adoption is finalized, that means that the biological parents have terminated their parental rights. At that point, you take on all rights and responsibilities of that child.
Adopting a child in Maryland is a process, but if you are hoping to begin taking steps toward parenthood through adoption, it is important to consider the requirements. Some of the requirements for adopting a child in Maryland differ from other states, so you must know what is specific to the state of Maryland.
With all this in mind, you may still be wondering if you are even eligible to adopt. To be eligible, Maryland residents can be married or single. You can have biological children in the home. You don’t need to be a homeowner, but the home you are bringing a child to must meet the basic health and safety standards. Anyone living in the home with you must be fingerprinted for a police check. There is no maximum age for prospective adoptive parents, but you must be at least 21 years old.
To start with, you will need to decide how you want to adopt. You can adopt through adoption agencies such as The Gladney Center for Adoption, through an adoption attorney, or your local social services. You can contact the Local Department of Social Services (LDSS) in the county you currently reside in and begin by going to the Department of Homeland Security website for the state of Maryland and finding your local office. There are informational meetings held by your local government regarding adoption. Once you have contact with LDSS, you can find information about the next available meeting for you to attend to learn about becoming an adoptive family. Additionally, you will be required to attend 27 hours of training.
If you go through an agency or attorney, then they will have staff ready to assist you with the adoption process. In either case, you have a lot of options of places to turn to adopt a child.
The first step for prospective adoptive parents is having a home study done. This will be required for domestic, international, and private adoptions. The home study is the process to determine if your home will be a good environment to bring a child home into. Things considered include (but are not limited to) home environment, health and wellness, financial status, and interpersonal relationships. The home study will be performed by a social worker who will determine if you are a good fit for adopting.
It would be beneficial for you to participate in parent groups and support groups for adoptive parents. This helps you in the long run to navigate your relationship with your child should you choose to adopt. Many of these groups will help you to get insight from other adoptive parents, from children who were adopted, and from birth parents. I would highly, highly encourage you to understand all the perspectives of adoption and educate yourself as much as you can before you actively begin the adoption process.
Where possible, keep your family involved. If you decide to move forward with adopting a child, it could be beneficial for you to have your own parents, siblings, and friends up to date. Waiting to hear from expectant parents can be discouraging, and it may make the load lighter to know you have a slew of friends and family eager to be there for you.
In addition to the requirements and specifications already mentioned, prospective adoptive parents need to consider the financial dedication that adoption entails. Domestic adoptions in the state of Maryland through a private agency can be expensive. It is common for adoption agencies to determine their own fees based on your income and assets.
Private adoptions often have more factors than domestic adoptions through an agency. If medical expenses for the birth mother and baby are not covered by the state or insurance, that responsibility often falls on the shoulders of the adoptive family. If the birth parents and adoptive parents are from different states, that could raise the cost. In some scenarios, the birth father may be unknown or refuses to give consent for the adoption.
Seeing these numbers may feel intimidating and hopeless, but there are options to consider. The government offers an adoption tax credit that you may be eligible for. You may also qualify for employment-based benefits, an adoption grant, or adoption subsidies. Generally, private agency adoptions have costs tailored to your income and assets so that helps a lot. But many adoptive families save for a while before pursuing adoption, and may also have help from family and friends to fundraise enough funds to bring a child home.
Some may worry that it means something when that huge financial commitment at the beginning of adoption feels impossible. However, it does not mean that you won’t be able to financially support a child throughout their life in a home with you. It simply means that it can be expensive to adopt.
If you decide that adoption is for you, gear up for a grueling, wonderful, trying, and rewarding experience. Adoption intends to build families and to be a source of joy. There will almost certainly be moments that seem daunting, but you have to keep hoping for the best. Even if it takes a while, don’t lose hope that you will be chosen by expectant parents to entrust you with their child as your responsibility. Whatever circumstances have brought you to consider adoption, I hope you can stay hopeful and optimistic for the future. My best wishes to you as you embark on your adoption journey.
Do you feel there is a hole in your heart that can only be filled by a child? We’ve helped complete 32,000+ adoptions. We would love to help you through your adoption journey. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98. Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.