Maine Adoption Guide

Your guide to everything adoption in Maine.

Kylee Hooper August 15, 2016

Welcome, prospective adoptive parents! This guide was written to provide you with a single place to find information about adoption in Maine. It will walk you through everything from laws that will impact your adoption to reviews of adoption service providers in Maine.

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in Maine, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 6) foster adoption (Slide 19),  international adoption (Slide 28), and stepparent adoption (Slide 32). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful adoption resources (Slide 35).

Are you interested growing your family through domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with an adoption professional who can answer your questions.

Please note:
1. Please note:

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided in this slideshow guide, you should not rely on it to make decisions. Instead, you should rely on licensed professionals in making decisions relative to adoption. The information in this guide is subject to change without notice. Adoption.com is not responsible for the consequences of relying on this information. In no event shall Adoption.com be liable for any direct, indirect, special, or incidental damage resulting from, arising out of, or in connection with the use of this information.

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

99% of all the blueberries in the United States are produced in Maine.  
Fun Facts

Adoption in Maine at a Glance 
3. Adoption in Maine at a Glance 

Kids in foster care available for adoption in 2012: 771      
Foster adoptions completed in 2012: 291      
International adoptions completed in  2012: 27     

Maine Adoption Facts
International Statistics   

Can I Adopt in Maine?
4. Can I Adopt in Maine?

Adoption requirements in the State of Maine are as follows:

Age: Must be 18 or older     
Marital Status: You can be single or married
Finances: You will need to be able to support a family
Housing: Must have safe housing that will pass a safety exam      
DISQUALIFYING CRIMES: Before you are able to adopt, you must pass a home study. This will include a background check to make sure that you will be able to provide a safe place for a child.

Developing a Support System
5. Developing a Support System

It’s essential to have a good network of family, friends, and neighbors to support you through your adoption process.

It’s also important to connect with other adoptive parents. You can begin making these connections in our forums. You may also want to consider joining a support group for adoptive parents.

Domestic Infant Adoption in Maine
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Maine

Before you get started, click here to learn more about the overall process of adopting an infant in the United States. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back to get the details about adoption in Maine.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
7. Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study

Regardless of whether you complete your adoption, you will need to complete an adoption home study.

Your home study social worker will help educate you about adoption and ensure that you (and your partner, if applicable) meet the requirements outlined on slide four.

Click here to learn more about the Home Study process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word   
9. Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word  

In Maine, only licensed agencies can advertise.  

One of the most important things you can do while waiting for an adoption match is to let everyone know about your hope to adopt. Many adoption connections are made through word-of-mouth referrals.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles
10. Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles

If advertising is allowed in your state, creating a profile on Adoption.com Parent Profiles allows you to easily share your story with those considering placing their child for adoption. Features like videos and photos, posts, Pinterest-like favorites, and recommendations and endorsements make it easy to create a profile as unique as you are, increasing the likelihood that you will stand out and connect with that right person.

Rich communication options like video chat and instant messaging make connecting easy. A mobile-responsive design means that you will never be out of reach.
What’s more, Adoption.com receives over 650,000 monthly visits, which means your profile will receive unparalleled exposure. You can even view and monitor your progress through a detailed statistics page.

Ready to get started? Click here

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption Navigators
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption Navigators

Adoption Navigators provides you with quality expertise in sharing your dream of adopting. We provide unparalleled adoption marketing and one-on-one coaching to beautifully show expectant parents who you are and tell your story. With Adoption Navigators you receive premier advertising exposure on Adoption.com, assistance building your profile and creating a video, and expanded reach through social media and search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Adoption.com has more than 16 years of experience helping families connect with potential birth parents.

Let us help you increase your exposure to potential birth parents and decrease your adoption wait time.

Click here to get started.

Creating a listing on Adoption.com Parent Profiles is an excellent way to connect with potential birth parents across the country. If you want to maximize your exposure to potential birth parents and receive personalized coaching and support, consider using Adoption Navigators. Coordinate these services with your adoption professional.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

To relinquish rights, birth parents must sign a consent or surrender of parental rights before a judge in the circuit courts generally anytime after birth. Every county requires different waiting periods before consent can be given, so be sure to speak with your local agency or attorney in Maine.

After the birth parents sign consent for the adoption they have 3 days to revoke their consent. After this time period consent is irrevocable unless the consent was given under fraud or duress. Birth parents have the right to travel to any court.

SOURCE: adoption.net

Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights   
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights  

Maine does not have a putative father registry. However, the state stresses the importance of establishing paternity in any case where a woman's husband is not the father of her child.

If a man's name is on the birth certificate, he is a legal father. If the birth mother is married, her spouse is the legal parent. If the birth mother is not married, and there is not a known sperm donor, the birth father can sign an out of court waiver at the time of birth.

The birth mother must give notice of her consent for adoption to a putative father, or a man who is believed to be the father to a child but whose paternity has not been legally established. The putative father then has 20 days to petition the court for parental rights. A judge will issue a hearing to determine the matter of paternity. If the putative father chooses not to appear most courts interpret this as a surrender of his parental rights. Remember to always consult an adoption attorney in regards to birth father rights.

SOURCE: §9-201

Domestic Infant Adoption - Laws about Birth Parent Expenses
14. Domestic Infant Adoption - Laws about Birth Parent Expenses

Hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide legal and living expenses for an expectant mother. There are, however, requirements governing such support.

Allowable Expenses
-Adoption related legal services
-Birth related medical expenses
-Expenses for parental/postnatal counseling, birth father counseling for consent, surrender, and release of rights -Transportation to any of the listed services above is allowed.

Any expense not listed in the adoption statues is banned in Maine. Instead of a specific amount Maine holds to a reasonable standard for expenses. A full account of expenses may be required by the judge.

SOURCE: §9-306

Domestic Infant Adoption - Post-Adoption Contact Agreements   
15. Domestic Infant Adoption - Post-Adoption Contact Agreements  

Post adoption contact agreements are not addressed in the state statutes.

Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization 	  
16. Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization  

Finalization of adoption will generally take place six months after placement. Finalization of an adoption done through an agency takes place 6 months after birth; finalization of a private adoption could take place sooner.


Source  

Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Maine from Out-of-State
17. Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Maine from Out-of-State

With private (usually domestic infant) adoptions, it is always possible to adopt a child within Maine, even if you live in a different state.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC here.

Foster Adoption in Maine
18. Foster Adoption in Maine

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of adopting children through foster care. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about foster adoption in Maine.  

Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Maine
19. Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Maine

There are thousands of children currently in foster care in Maine. Many of these children are available for adoption.

You can find some of these children in our photolisting.   

Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help   
20. Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help  

You can complete a foster adoption either through a private agency that is licensed to provide foster care services or directly through The Department of Health and Human Services.  

To find adoption agencies in Maine and to read reviews, check out Adoption.com’s Reviews page for Maine.

You will still need to complete a home study as part of this process.

Becoming Part of the Foster Care System 	  
21. Becoming Part of the Foster Care System  

After you have completed the required training to be a foster family, you will be able to start receiving children into your home. While some of these children will be available for adoption, others will be "legal risk" placements, or, children whose parents have not yet relinquished their parental rights. Legal risk placements are not eligible for adoption until their parents have relinquished rights.

 Finalization 	  
22. Finalization  

You can petition to finalize your adoption 6 months after placement.  

Post Adoption Contact Agreements   
23. Post Adoption Contact Agreements  

Post adoption contact agreements are not addressed in the state statutes.

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered into by adoptive and birth families. The agreement outlines details about how much contact the birth and adoptive families will have after the adoption is finalized.

In instances in which the child’s biological parents’ rights have been involuntarily terminated, the well-being of the child needs to be first and foremost in everyone’s minds if a post-adoption contact agreement is created. Caseworkers and therapists should be consulted in making decisions about contact after adoption.

Adoption Assistance   
24. Adoption Assistance  

State and Federal subsidies (referred to as Title IV-E) exist to help cover the cost of adopting a special needs foster child.

To contact a Maine subsidy representative click here. Foster children must me once of the following rules to qualify as a special needs child:

1. Be five years of age or older
2. Be part of a minority ethnic group
3. Have a physical, mental, or emotional handicap
4. Have a mental condition
5. Be at risk for future difficulties do to past abuse or neglect

As of July 2008 Maine gives up to $26.25 a day according to the needs of a child. For exceptional high needs children the limit is increased to $60 a day. Hopeful adoptive parents may be qualified to receive additional aid all depending upon the needs of their child.

For more information about specific funds available click here.

Foster Adoption – A Note About the ICPC
25. Foster Adoption – A Note About the ICPC

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC here.

International Adoption in Maine
26. International Adoption in Maine

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of international adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about international adoption in Maine.

International Adoption - Photolisting
27. International Adoption - Photolisting

There are millions of beautiful children across the world who are hoping to find a forever family.

Click here to meet some of them through our Photolisting.

International Adoption - Get Professional Help
28. International Adoption - Get Professional Help

With international adoptions, your only choice is to complete your adoption through an agency. Because of the Universal Accreditation Act, all adoption agencies completing international adoptions are required to be credentialed according to federal standards. Make sure to check with any agency before working with them to ensure they have this accreditation in place!

In selecting an international adoption agency, there are Four Essential Criteria you should probably consider. Click here to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in Maine.

In order to be approved to adopt internationally, you will need to complete an international adoption-specific home study.

International Adoption - Post-Adoption Requirements
29. International Adoption - Post-Adoption Requirements

Adoptions finalized abroad will be recognized in Maine if the agency was licensed for international adoptions.

You will also need to request a U.S. birth certificate for your child.

Read more about post-adoption requirements here.

Stepparent Adoption in Maine
30. Stepparent Adoption in Maine

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of stepparent adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about stepparent adoption in Maine.

Stepparent Adoption - Terminating Parental Rights
31. Stepparent Adoption - Terminating Parental Rights

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding biological parent’s rights will first need to be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

You will need to consult with an adoption attorney about your desire to adopt. He/she can help you decide if it’s likely that the biological parent would be willing to relinquish rights OR if it would be feasible to pursue involuntary termination of his/her parental rights.

Stepparent Adoption - Petitioning to Adopt
32. Stepparent Adoption - Petitioning to Adopt

Once parental rights have been terminated, you can file a petition to adopt with the courts. You and your spouse will both testify in court regarding the stability of your marital relationship, the bond you’ve developed with your stepchild, and your desire to become the legal parent of your stepchild.

You will generally not be required to complete a background check or home study as part of the stepparent adoption process.

Adoption Resources
33. Adoption Resources

Adoption Forums           
Maine Wiki   
Parent Profiles
Adoption Stories

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Kylee Hooper

Kylee Hooper is not quite a mother, but she adores babies, and hopes to be able to either foster or adopt someday. When she isn't writing, reading, or editing; she is normally playing her harp or creating an adventure.


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