Maryland Adoption Information
FAQ about Maryland Adoptions
Can an adoption be open in Maryland?
Historically in Maryland adoptions have been closed. Unless the parties knew each other, the proceeding was closed and the parties were not identified to each other. Today, adoptions are often closed, but an adoption in Maryland may now be "open" with the parties identified and identities shared. It is a matter of personal preference between the parties.
Many of the parents we work with still choose to remain anonymous. We have, however, been seeing an increasing trend of adoptive parents choosing to permit the birth parent some contact with the child. Some of these arrangements have been surprisingly successful with the birth parent visiting regularly and being treated as an aunt.
However the choice of whether the adoption is open is one of the most personal choices for all involved in the adoption the adoptive parents and the birth parents and must be the choice of all.
What about the birth father's rights?
In Maryland, the birth father has the right to consent or not consent to all adoptions, just as the birth mother can. Only in the most extreme circumstances will the court permit an adoption to proceed if the father objects. Therefore, we must be concerned with the rights of birth fathers. We want to create lasting and proper adoptions. We can only do that by affording birth fathers their rights, working with them to obtain their consent to the adoption and, when appropriate, lawfully terminating their parental rights.
How do you know that the agency or person that you work with is reputable?
Unfortunately this is a valid concern. Especially in this era of the Internet, it is possible for unscrupulous and greedy people to prey on the unsuspecting. When people are seeking to adopt, they are vulnerable and highly susceptible to agencies and people who offer quick and easy children to adopt. Unfortunately, there are many who are no more than unlicensed facilitators who charge exorbitant fees and do nothing more than take your money. If they are lucky and find a match for you, they have no concern and do not consider whether what they promise the birth parents could violate Maryland law. This leads to numerous problems and can actually jeopardize the adoption and actually place you in a position where you could be prosecuted criminally.
Therefore, it is critical to be wary. There are many fine licensed agencies in Maryland. These agencies are licensed by the state and must comply with stringent regulations. Under most circumstances, you should be able to feel comfortable using the service of one of these licensed agencies. If you choose to use an agency from another state, you should get referrals from people who have dealt with that agency recently. It is a good sign of reliability if you determine that they have a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) working with them.
Of course, using the services of an attorney who is experienced in adoption law can provide you with the services you need. Again, a good sign of reliability and experience is whether the attorney is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. John Greene has been a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys since 2000, and in 2006, he was the recipient of the organization's President's Award for individual contributions to the academy.
If you are choosing an agency, we can help you screen agencies and help you pick an agency that is right for you.
What should an adoption cost?
The different types of adoptions vary greatly in costs. Generally, international adoptions cost the most generally between $20,000 and $40,000. Domestic agency adoptions usually are next, often running between $10,000 and $25,000, with independent adoptions often costing between $7,000 and $14,000. Public agency adoptions can be totally free and, if adopting special needs children, the adoption could be subsidized.
Of course, uncontested stepparent adoptions or other straightforward adoptions can often be completed for between $1,000 and $1,500.
There are many factors that could affect the cost of these adoptions: whether the birth father consents or must be found, or contests the adoption; if medical expenses are not paid by insurance or by the state (something that is rare); if the father requires separate counsel; if there are many unexpected issues to deal with; or if the adoption involves people in other states. These are some of the factors that can affect the cost of an adoption.
What about financial assistance?
The federal government makes pursuing adoption considerably easier now than it was a decade ago. There is now in place a tax credit of over $11,000 for "allowed" adoption expenses (more than doubling the previous credit of $5,000) in cases of independent and agency adoptions. This is a credit, not a deduction! As long as your annual income does not exceed $170,000 of adjusted gross income, the entire tax credit should be returned to you at tax time.
Also, many large employers provide funds to cover adoption costs and fees. A new law also increases the amount of money which employers may provide to employees tax free to help subsidize adoption efforts. To determine how much of your adoption expenses will be allowed as a tax credit on your federal income tax return, please contact your tax preparer or accountant to determine what it can mean for you.
Traditional sources for funding adoptions included savings, refinancing of homes, and loans from relatives. In addition, there are organizations that have been created to lend money for adoption. We can assist you with these issues as necessary.