Maryland

Adoption Laws

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Consent to Adoption

Who Must Consent to an Adoption Citation: Fam. Law § 5-338

Consent to an adoption is required from the following persons:

  • The birth mother and father
  • If parental rights have been terminated, the head of the agency that has been awarded guardianship
  • The director of the local department of social services with custody of the child

Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Fam. Law § 5-338(3)

The court may grant an adoption only if the child is represented by an attorney and he or she:

  • Consents to the adoption, if at least age 10
  • Does not object to the adoption, if under age 10

When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Fam. Law § 5-3B-22

A court may allow adoption without parental consent if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that:

  • The parent has not had custody of the prospective adopted person for at least 1 year.
  • The child to be adopted has significant emotional ties to and feelings for the petitioner.
  • The parent has not maintained meaningful contact with the child while the petitioner had custody, notwithstanding an opportunity to do so.
  • The parent has failed to contribute to the child’s physical care and support, notwithstanding the ability to do so.
  • The parent has subjected the child to chronic abuse, chronic and life-threatening neglect, sexual abuse, or torture.
  • The parent has been convicted of abuse of any offspring.
  • The parent has been convicted, in any State or any court of the United States, of:
    • A crime of violence against a minor offspring of the parent, the child, or another parent of the child
    • Aiding or abetting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit a crime described above
  • The parent has, other than by consent, lost parental rights to a sibling of the child.

When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Fam. Law § 5-3B-21(2)

Consent to adoption is not valid unless the consent is given after the prospective adopted child is born.

How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-339; 5-351

Consent to an adoption is not valid unless:

  • The consent is given in a language that the party understands.
  • If given in a language other than English, the consent:
    • Is given before a judge on the record
    • Is accompanied by the affidavit of a translator stating that the translation of the document of consent is accurate
  • The consent names the child.
  • The consent contains enough information to identify the prospective adoptive parent.
  • The party has received written notice or on-the-record notice of:
    • Provisions for revocation of consent
    • The search rights of adopted persons and parents under § 5-359 and the search rights of adopted persons, parents, and siblings under subtitle 4B
    • The right to file a disclosure veto under § 5-359
  • The consent is accompanied by an affidavit of counsel stating that a parent who is a minor or has a disability consents knowingly and voluntarily.

Revocation of Consent Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-339; 5-351

A parent may revoke consent to adoption at any time within the later of:

  • 30 days after the parent signs the consent
  • 30 days after the adoption petition is filed, after which consent is irrevocable

A local department, a guardian, or the child may revoke consent to an adoption at any time before a juvenile court enters an order of adoption.

Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

Requirements for Foster Parents Fam. Law §§ 5-561; 5-562; Code of Md. Regs. §§ 07.02.25.07; 07.05.02.13

A criminal history records check shall be obtained by a foster care home applicant and any adult living in the prospective foster home. As part of the application for a criminal history records check, the applicant shall submit a complete set of legible fingerprints.

In regulation:The foster parent home study must include:

  • A review of local department records to determine whether a member of the family has an indicated finding of abuse or neglect
  • A review of the results of the State and Federal criminal background checks

As part of the certification process, the agency shall review charges, investigations, convictions, or findings related to a crime of any household member of the foster parent to determine:

  • The possible effect on the applicant’s ability to execute the responsibilities of a foster parent
  • The applicant's ability to provide quality service to children in foster care

Foster parent certification may be denied if the applicant:

  • Refuses to consent to the child protective services clearance and the criminal background check
  • Has an indicated child abuse finding
  • Has a felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, a crime against children, rape, sexual assault, or homicide
  • In the 5 years before the date of application for foster parent certification, has a felony conviction for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense
  • Refuses to consent to the Motor Vehicle Administration clearance

Requirements for Adoptive Parents Fam. Law §§ 5-561; 5-562; Code of Md. Regs. § 07.02.12.10

A criminal history records check shall be obtained on:

  • A person who is seeking to adopt a child through a child-placing agency
  • An adult relative with whom a child is placed by the local department
  • Any adult residing in the home where a child may be placed

As part of the application for a criminal history records check, the applicant shall submit a complete set of legible fingerprints.

In regulation:Before an adoptive home may be approved, an applicant and all household members age 18 or older shall apply for a criminal background investigation. After the home is approved, if other individuals who are age 18 or older come to live with the family, they shall apply for a criminal background investigation within 30 days of moving into the household.

The department may not approve or continue to approve as an adoptive home any home in which an adult in the household has been convicted of:

  • A crime that the local department feels raises serious concern for a child’s safety
  • Any crime enumerated in 42 U.S.C. 671(a)(20)

Before an adoptive home may be approved, an applicant and all household members age 18 or older shall consent to a child protective services clearance to determine if there is a prior indicated or unsubstantiated finding of abuse or neglect for any family or household member.

The department may not approve or continue to approve as an adoptive home any home in which an individual:

  • Refuses to consent to the child protective services clearance
  • Has an indicated child abuse or neglect finding

Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Family Law § 5-525.1

A petition for termination of parental rights shall be filed if:

  • The child has been in an out-of-home placement for 15 of the most recent 22 months.
  • A court finds that the child is an abandoned infant.
  • A court finds that the parent has been convicted, in any State or any court of the United States, of:
    • A crime of violence against a minor offspring of the parent, the child, or another parent of the child
    • Aiding, abetting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit a crime described above

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights Family Law § 5-525.1

The Department of Human Services is not required to file a petition for termination of parental rights if:

  • The child is being cared for by a relative.
  • The department has documented in the case plan a compelling reason why termination of parental rights would not be in the child’s best interests.
  • The department has not provided services to the family consistent with the time period in the case plan that the department considers necessary for the safe return of the child to the child’s home.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption

Who Must Be Studied Citation: Code of Regs. § 07.02.12.10

The investigation shall include the applicant and all household members who are age 18 and older.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Code of Regs. § 07.02.12.10

The local department shall conduct the study.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: Code of Regs. §§ 07.02.12.08; 07.02.12.09; 07.02.12.10

The length of residence in Maryland is important only when it indicates that the family cannot provide a stable living environment for a child.

Adoptive parents shall be at least age 18. Additionally, the age of an adoptive parent shall be evaluated in relation to that of the child considered for placement, unless the local department finds that other factors outweigh the importance of age.

Married couples should have been married long enough to have made basic adjustments to each other and to have established a stable marital relationship. Verification of marriage is required. If single, the person shall have an adequate support system, and sufficient physical and emotional strength to undertake sole parental responsibility for a child.

When both parents work, the local department shall evaluate the specific employment situation and work schedule to determine the applicant’s ability to fulfill parental responsibilities.

Adoptive applicants shall provide medical reports to confirm that their physical and emotional health are not hazardous to a child and would not impair their ability to parent a child.

Home ownership is not required; however, the residence shall have adequate space for an additional family member consistent with the safety and well-being of the total family.

Family members shall have achieved a sufficient degree of emotional maturity and stability to give them the capacity to meet responsibly the needs of an adopted child.

The adoptive family’s income shall be sufficient to meet the family’s needs. Actual income is not as important as the family’s capacity to manage sufficiently to meet current family needs, plus the expected needs of another family member or members.

The local department may not deny an individual the opportunity to become an adoptive parent based on race, color, or national origin of the prospective parent or the child involved.

All applicants shall complete 27 hours of preservice training.

Elements of a Home Study Citation: Code of Regs. §§ 07.02.12.08; 07.02.12.09; 07.02.12.10

Each residence shall obtain a sanitary home approval and fire safety approval. If the home uses a local health department-approved water supply and sewage disposal, sanitary approval may be waived, if there is no question of an unusual health hazard. The residence shall meet the standards for general household safety requirements.

Adoptive applicants shall provide the names and addresses of three individuals as references, only one of whom may be a relative. The local department shall make face-to-face contact with at least two of the three references and request references from school personnel for school-aged children in the prospective adoptive family.

The home study shall consist of a minimum of four interviews. Married couples shall be seen separately for at least one interview to evaluate individual commitment and purpose in seeking a child through adoption. Individual interviews shall be conducted for each family member as appropriate to the situation and the age of the family member.

Before an adoptive home may be approved, an applicant and all household members age 18 and older shall apply for a criminal background investigation. In addition, the applicant and all household members age 18 and older shall consent to a child protective services clearance to determine if there is a prior indicated or unsubstantiated finding of abuse or neglect for any family or household member.

Before an adoptive home may be approved, the local department shall conduct a background check of child support arrearages on an applicant and consider any arrearage in determining approval or disapproval of the home.

Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: Code of Regs. § 07.02.12.10

The local department may not approve or continue to approve as an adoptive home any home in which an adult in the household has been convicted of:

  • A crime, if the local department feels there is serious concern for a child’s safety
  • Any crime enumerated in 42 U.S.C. 671(a)(20)

The local department may not approve or continue to approve as an adoptive home any home in which an individual:

  • Refuses to consent to the child protective services clearance
  • Has an indicated child abuse or neglect finding

The director of the local department shall review unsubstantiated rulings related to any adult in the household to determine the possible risk to a child’s safety. Based on the findings, the local director may deny, suspend, or revoke adoptive home approval.

When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: Code of Regs. § 07.02.12.10

The local department shall complete the home study within 90 calendar days, except when there are delays caused by crises, problems, or ambivalence in the family.

Postplacement Study Requirements Citation: Code of Regs. § 07.02.12.20

Postplacement services shall be provided to all children and families before the adoption is finalized to strengthen and support the family functioning and integration. The agency caseworker shall:

  • Visit the adoptive family as often as indicated, but at least three times during the first 6 months following placement
  • Use observations during the visits in determining the frequency of visits and the family’s readiness for finalization of the adoption
  • Include the child in these visits according to the child’s age and capability

The agency shall:

  • Provide evaluative, supportive, and educational services geared to adoptive family development with emphasis on the unique nature of adoption and its continuing impact on the parent-child relationship

• Place special emphasis on the integrity and continuity of the child’s heritage and genetic histories as to the continuing growth and development of the child as an individual, and to the development of the family as an integrated unit

Once the family and the caseworker have determined that it is time to finalize the adoption, the caseworker shall:

  • Prepare the necessary documents to support the family’s finalization of the adoption
  • Acquire the local department director’s consent to the adoption

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: Fam. Law § 5-604

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The child shall not be sent into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

Foster to Adopt Placements Citation: Code of Regs. § 07.02.25.10

The intention in a legal risk adoptive home is that the family will adopt the child if guardianship is granted. Homes can be approved as solely legal risk adoptive homes. Characteristics of legal risk adoptive parents are the same as for regular foster parents. Placement in legal risk adoptive homes is made in an effort to facilitate permanent placement for children whose permanency planning goal is adoption.

Eligibility for approval as a legal risk adoptive home is the same as that for regular foster homes as outlined in these regulations, with the additional consideration for:

  • Families who have other children
  • Families who, in the home study, have been educated to understand as fully as possible what legal risk placement means
  • Foster families who have adopted other foster children or have helped other children return to their birth family

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Infant’s Age Citation: Cts & Jud Pro § 5-641

An infant may be relinquished within 10 days of his or her birth.

Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Cts & Jud Pro § 5-641

The mother or other person may relinquish the infant. If the person leaving a newborn is not the mother of the newborn, the person shall have the approval of the mother to do so.

Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Cts & Jud Pro § 5-641

The infant may be delivered to a responsible adult or a hospital or other facility designated by regulation.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Cts & Jud Pro § 5-641

A person who receives an infant shall take the infant to a hospital. The hospital shall notify the local Department of Social Services within 24 hours.

Immunity for the Provider Citation: Cts & Jud Pro § 5-641

A responsible adult and a hospital or other designated facility that accepts a newborn under this section and an employee or agent of the hospital or facility shall be immune from civil liability or criminal prosecution for good-faith actions taken related to the acceptance of or medical treatment or care of the newborn, unless injury to the newborn was caused by gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Cts & Jud Pro § 5-641

A person who leaves an unharmed newborn with a responsible adult within 10 days after the birth of the newborn, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, and does not express an intent to return for the newborn, shall be immune from civil liability or criminal prosecution for the act.

Effect on Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-3A-45; 5-3B-32

In an agency adoption, the payment of a customary and reasonable charge or fee for hospital, legal, or medical services is permitted. In an independent adoption, the payment of a reasonable and customary charge or fee for adoption counseling, hospital, legal, or medical services is permitted.

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-362; 5-3A-45; 5-3B-32

Except as otherwise provided by law, a person may not charge or receive from or for a parent or prospective adoptive parent any compensation for a service in connection with:

  • Placement of an individual to live with a preadoptive parent
  • An agreement for custody in contemplation of adoption

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child Citation: Crim. Law § 3-603

A person may not sell, barter, or trade or offer to sell, barter, or trade a minor for money, property, or anything else of value.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency Citation: Fam. Law § 5-3A-45

In an agency adoption, the agency may accept reasonable reimbursement for costs of an adoptive service in connection with adoption if:

  • The reimbursement is in accordance with standards set by regulation of the Social Services Administration.
  • The ability to provide this reimbursement does not affect the acceptability of any individual for adoptive services or the choice of the most suitable prospective adoptive parent.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court Citation: Fam. Law § 5-3B-24

In an independent adoption, a court may not enter an order under this subtitle until the petitioner files with the court an accounting of all payments and disbursements of any item of value made by or for the petitioner in connection with the adoption.

The Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Legal Definition of Father Est. and Trusts § 1-208

A child born to parents who have not participated in a marriage ceremony with each other shall be considered to be the child of his or her mother.

A child born to parents who have not participated in a marriage ceremony with each other shall be considered to be the child of his or her father only if the father:

  • Has been judicially determined to be the father in an action brought under the statutes relating to paternity proceedings
  • Has acknowledged himself, in writing, to be the father
  • Has openly and notoriously recognized the child to be his child
  • Has subsequently married the mother and has acknowledged himself, orally or in writing, to be the father

Paternity Registry

No

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Family Law § 5-1028

An unmarried father and mother shall be provided an opportunity to execute an affidavit of parentage in the manner provided under § 4-208 of the Health - General Article. The affidavit shall be completed on a standardized form developed by the department.

An executed affidavit of parentage constitutes a legal finding of paternity.

Required Information Family Law § 5-1028(c)

The completed affidavit of parentage form shall contain:

  • A statement that the affidavit is a legal document and constitutes a legal finding of paternity
  • The full name, and place and date of birth of the child
  • The full name of the attesting father of the child
  • The full name of the attesting mother of the child
  • The signatures of the father and the mother of the child attesting, under penalty of perjury, that the information provided on the affidavit is true and correct
  • A statement by the mother consenting to the assertion of paternity and acknowledging that her cosignatory is the only possible father
  • A statement by the father that he is the natural father of the child
  • The Social Security numbers of the parents

Before completing an affidavit of parentage form, the unmarried mother and the father shall be advised orally and in writing of the legal consequences of executing the affidavit and of the benefit of seeking legal counsel.

Revocation of Claim to Paternity Family Law § 5-1028

An executed affidavit of parentage is subject to the right of any signatory to rescind the affidavit:

  • In writing within 60 days after execution of the affidavit
  • In a judicial proceeding relating to the child in which the signatory is a party and that occurs before the expiration of the 60-day period

After the expiration of the 60-day period, an executed affidavit of parentage may be challenged in court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof on the challenger. The legal responsibilities of any signatory arising from the affidavit, including child support obligations, may not be suspended during the challenge, except for good cause shown.

Access to Information

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

Use of Advertisement

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-362; 5-3A-45; 5-3B-32

Except as otherwise provided by law, a person may not charge or receive, from or for a parent or prospective adoptive parent, any compensation for a service in connection with:

  • Placement of an individual to live with a preadoptive family
  • An agreement for custody in contemplation of adoption

This section does not prohibit payment by an interested person of a reasonable and customary charge or fee for adoption counseling, hospital, legal, or medical services.

Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?

Who May Adopt Citation: Family Law §§ 5-331; 5-3A-29; 5-3B-13

Any adult may petition to adopt a child. If a petitioner is married, the petitioner’s spouse shall join in the petition unless the spouse:

  • Is separated from the petitioner
  • Is not competent to join in the petition
  • Is a parent of the child and consents to the adoption

Who May Be Adopted Citation: Family Law §§ 5-331; 5-3A-29; 5-3B-13

Any adult or child may be adopted.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Family Law §§ 5-331; 5-3A-29; 5-3B-13

The child may be placed by any of the following:

  • A parent or grandparent when the child is placed for adoption with a relative of the child by blood or marriage
  • A parent or grandparent when the child is placed with a petitioner who is not a relative of the child and the adoption petition is filed with and the placement sanctioned by the court
  • A local Department of Social Services that has custody of the child
  • A child-placing agency

Post-Adoption Laws

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-4C-05; 5-356; 5-357

Only the following persons may register with the adoption registry for exchange of identifying information:

  • Birth parents and siblings
  • An adopted person, age 21 or older, who does not have a birth sibling under the age of 21 with the same adoptive parents

Nonidentifying and medical information shall be available to:

Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-356; 5-357; 5-358

A local department shall make reasonable efforts to compile and make available to a prospective adoptive parent a comprehensive medical and mental health history of the prospective adoptive child. On request of an adoptive parent, a local department shall make reasonable efforts to compile a pertinent medical and mental health history of each of the adoptive child’s birth parents, if available to the local department, and to make that history available to the adoptive parent. A medical or mental health history may not contain identifying information about a parent or former parent.

On request of an adopted person, adoptive parent, or birth parent, a local department shall provide information in its adoption record on the adopted person. The records that are accessed may not contain any identifying information.

If, after a hearing on a petition of an adopted person or birth parent, a court is satisfied that the adopted person, a blood relative of the adopted person, or a birth parent urgently needs medical information not in department and court records, the court may appoint an intermediary to try to contact the adopted person or a birth parent for the information.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-4C-06; 5-4C-07

To register with the Registry, an individual shall submit a notarized affidavit containing identifying information, including the individual’s current name, any previous name by which the individual was known, address, and telephone number. A registrant may withdraw at any time by submitting an affidavit.

On receipt of an affidavit, the administration shall:

  • Attempt to match registrants or to provide matching information
  • If a match is made, direct the child-placing agency or the local department to notify the registrants through a confidential contact

Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-359; 5-3A-42; 5-3B-29

For adoptions finalized on or after January 1, 2000:

  • An adopted person who is at least age 21 may apply to the secretary for a copy of his or her original birth certificate.
  • If an adopted person is at least age 21, a birth parent may apply to the secretary for a copy of the adopted person’s original birth certificate.

A birth parent may file with the director a disclosure veto to bar disclosure of information about that parent in an accessible record. The birth parent may also cancel a disclosure veto and refile a disclosure veto at any time.

An adult adopted person may file a disclosure veto to bar disclosure of information about him or her in an accessible record. The adopted person may also cancel a disclosure veto and refile a disclosure veto at any time.

Except as provided below, the secretary shall give to each applicant who meets the requirements of this section a copy of each record that the applicant requested and that the secretary has on file.

Whenever a birth parent applies for a record, the secretary shall redact from the copy all information as to:

Whenever an adopted person applies for a record, the secretary shall redact from the copy all information as to the birth parent if that parent has filed a disclosure veto.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry, Maryland Social Services Administration

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-341, 5-352, 5-3A-36, 5-3B-25; Est. & Trusts § 1-207

After an order of adoption has been entered, each of the adopted person’s living birth parents is relieved of all parental duties and obligations to the adopted person and divested of all parental rights as to the adopted person.

Upon adoption, a child no longer shall be considered a child of either birth parent, except that upon adoption by the spouse of a birth parent, the child shall still be considered the child of that birth parent.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-341, 5-352, 5-3A-36, 5-3B-25; Est. & Trusts § 1-207

After an order for adoption has been entered, the adopted person is considered the child of the adoptive parent(s) for all intents and purposes and is entitled to all of the rights and privileges of and is subject to all of the obligations of offspring born to the adoptive parent(s). An adopted child shall be treated as a birth child of his adopting parent(s).

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will Citation: Est. & Trusts § 3-301

A will may not be revoked by the subsequent adoption of a child by the testator except under the circumstances referred to in § 4-105 (3).

A child described above or the issue, if any, of such child who does not survive the testator, is entitled to a share in the estate to be determined and paid in accordance with § 3-302 and § 3-303, if:

  • The will contains a legacy for a child of the testator but makes no provision for a person who becomes a child of the testator subsequent to the execution of the will.
  • The child was born, adopted, or legitimated after the execution of the will.
  • The child, or his or her issue, survive the testator.
  • The will does not expressly state that the child, or issue, should be omitted.

Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Fam. Law § 5-308

The prospective adoptive parent and the biological parent of a prospective adoptee may enter into a written agreement to allow contact after the adoption between the parent or other relative of the adoptee and the adoptee or adoptive parent.

An agreement made under this section applies to contact with an adoptee only while he or she is a minor.

Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement? Fam. Law §§ 5-308; 5-525.2

The prospective adoptive parent and birth parent may enter into a written agreement to allow contact after the adoption between:

  • The parent or other relative of the adoptee
  • The adoptee or adoptive parent

An adoptive parent and former parent of an adoptee may enter into a written agreement to allow contact between:

  • A relative or former parent of the adoptee
  • The adoptee or adoptive parent

Any siblings who are separated due to a foster care or adoptive placement may petition a court, including a juvenile court with jurisdiction over one or more of the siblings, for reasonable sibling visitation rights.

What is the role of the court in postadoption contact agreements? Fam. Law §§ 5-308; 5-525.2

If a dispute as to an agreement arises, a court may refer the parties to mediation to try to resolve the dispute.

If a petitioner petitions a court to issue a sibling visitation decree or to amend an order, the court:

  • May hold a hearing to determine whether visitation is in the best interests of the children
  • Shall weigh the relative interests of each child and base its decision on the best interests of the children, thus promoting the greatest welfare and least harm to the children
  • May issue an appropriate order or decree

Are agreements legally enforceable? Fam. Law § 5-308

A juvenile court or other court of competent jurisdiction shall enforce a written agreement made in accordance with this section unless enforcement is not in the adoptee’s best interests.

How may an agreement be terminated or modified? Fam. Law § 5-308

If a party moves in juvenile court or another court of competent jurisdiction to modify a written agreement made in accordance with this section and satisfies the court that modification is justified because an exceptional circumstance has arisen, and the court finds modification to be in an adoptee’s best interests, the court may modify the agreement.

Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

Family Law § 5-3B-04(c)

An order for adoption entered in compliance with a foreign jurisdiction’s laws shall have the same legal effect as an order for adoption entered in this State.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

Family Law § 5-3B-04(d)

An individual is not required to petition a court in this State for adoption of a child if:

  • The individual adopted the child in compliance with the laws of a foreign jurisdiction.
  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services verifies the validity of that adoption by granting, under the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act, an IR-3 visa for the child.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Health-Gen. Code Ann. § 4-211(i)

The Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene shall, upon request, prepare and register a certificate in this State for a person born in a foreign country and who was adopted by a State resident:

  • Through a court of competent jurisdiction in this State
  • Under the laws of a jurisdiction or country other than the United States and who has been granted an IR-3 visa by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service* under the Immigration and Nationality Act

The certificate shall be established upon receipt of:

  • A certificate of adoption from the court decreeing the adoption
  • Proof of the date and place of the adoptee's birth
  • A request from the court, the adopting parents, or the adoptee who is age 18 or older

If the child was adopted under the laws of a jurisdiction or country other than the United States and has been granted an IR-3 visa, the certificate shall be established upon receipt of:

  • An official copy of the decree from the jurisdiction or country in which the child was adopted
  • A certified translation of the foreign adoption decree
  • Proof of the date and place of the child's birth
  • Proof of IR-3 visa status
  • A request from the court, the adopting parents, or the adoptee who is age 18 or older
  • Proof that the adopting parent is a resident of this State

The certificate shall be labeled ‘Certificate of Foreign Birth’ and shall show the actual country of birth. A statement shall also be included on the certificate indicating that it is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the child for whom it is issued.

[* As of March 1, 2003, the responsibility for providing immigration-related services was transferred from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This section of the Maryland Code does not yet reflect this change.]

Source

Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. [1]

References