Maryland Independent Adoptions

A. Birth parents in Maryland may also place a child directly with adoptive parents.  In an independent adoption, the birth parent gives consent to the adoption of his or her child directly to the adoptive parents.  Legal custody of the child passes directly from the birth parents to the adoptive parents.

B. Independent adoption in Maryland is governed by the Family Law Article.

In Maryland, adoptive parents may learn of birth parents either through word-of-mouth contacts or newspaper advertisements.

In an independent adoption, the attorney representing the birth mother will often make arrangements with the hospital where the child is to be born so that (a) the adoptive parents will have access to the child in the nursery following birth and (b) the child will be discharged directly to the adoptive parents.

After the child is born, the birth mother will execute her consent to the adoption. This is usually done at the hospital in the presence of the birth mother’s own attorney.

Just like the birth mother, the birth father of the child must consent to the adoption. If the birth father does not consent, he must be given notice of the proceeding by being served with a show cause order. Under certain circumstances (e.g. when identity is unknown), a birth father can be given notice by publication in the newspaper.

Before the adoptive parents take physical custody of the child, the law requires that a court order be obtained which grants legal custody to the parents.

A birth parent executing his or her consent to an adoption may revoke that consent for any reason for up to 30 days from its execution. A revocation must be in writing, signed by the revoking birth parent and filed with the clerk of the court.

C. Adoptive parents who have received a child through an independent adoption, will file a petition for adoption in the circuit court in the county where they reside. The court may then enter a final decree of adoption any time after the time for the birth parents to revoke their consents has expired.

For more information about adoption in Maryland, click to view one of the following pages: