Parents' Baby Adoption Questions

Independent Adoptions

What are independent adoptions?

Independent adoption is often known as private adoption. They are situations in which the birth parent or legal parent voluntarily places the child directly with adoptive parents. Be The child's birth or legal parent selects the adoptive parent or parents and places the child with them without the state or any agency being involved in the placement.

What should my lawyer do in an independent adoption?

We like to describe your lawyer as the "ringmaster" of an independent adoption. It is absolutely critical that you have well-trained and responsive counsel to assist you. Your lawyer's job is to make sure that everything proceeds when it is supposed to. fore you look for birth parents, we would fully discuss the process with you, outlining all of the options open to you. You should be fully apprised of all the advantages and disadvantages of the various methods of adoption and resources available to adoptive parents, including in-state adoptions, out-of-state adoptions and resources for finding birth parents, etc. With that information, you will be able to draw up an adoption plan.

Once you have identified a birth mother willing to place her child with you, an attorney can help you approach the birth mother in a positive manner, which could increase the chances of your being selected as the adoptive parent. Your lawyer then would make sure that the birth mother, and birth father if appropriate, is also represented by competent counsel. Your attorney should work with that attorney and make sure that you will get a comprehensive social and medical history of the child from the birth parents. Your attorney also will make sure that arrangements have been made with the hospital for the staff to be aware of the adoption and your interests. The attorney will ensure that other decisions are made, such as how much involvement with the baby you will have at the hospital at birth.

Once the child is born and the parents sign the appropriate consent documents, your attorney will prepare an adoption petition and go to court with all the required documents and to obtain a temporary custody order for you. This will permit you to take the child from the hospital and will ensure that the child is covered by your insurance.

Following that, we would make sure all the necessary documents are filed and go to court with you for the final and required hearing.

With our many years of experience, we are well prepared to guide you step-by-step through the entire adoption process.

How do adoptive parents locate children to adopt?

In Maryland, adoptive parents in independent adoptions must search out opportunities to connect with possible birth parents. Adoptive parents cannot pay anyone in Maryland to connect them with people willing to place their child for adoption. Only a licensed adoption agency can charge to locate a child for adoption in Maryland. Therefore, we cannot "find" a child for you.

However, we can assist you to "find" a child based on our vast experience with successful adoptions. We can help you determine the best route for you to locate birth mothers interested in placing their child. We can help you use successful techniques such as preparing and disseminating portfolios, advertising on the Internet and in newspapers, and other effective ways to spread the word that you are interested in adopting a child.

No doubt, to be successful in this type of adoption requires effort and perseverance. However, with concerted effort, potential contacts are made! If you are thinking of beginning the process of independent adoption, contact us and we can help you chart your course.

What should I do when there is a potential match?

Birth parents are generally apprehensive, but they are anxious to meet potential adoptive parents. The first meeting is critical. Each participant will be considering the other to determine whether there is a "fit." This is a make or break opportunity and you must recognize that the birth mother has many options. Care must be taken to establish the right tone.

It is highly advisable that when you do make contact with a birth parent considering adoption, you should immediately obtain assistance to guide you through the first meeting. If you use our services, we will provide you with guidance on approaches to take and general questions to be asked in your initial contacts with a birth parent. This will help you learn more about the circumstance of the potential adoption so that you can better assess the potential adoption to determine whether it is an appropriate match. We also will help you understand how to best present yourself to the birth parents in this all-important meeting.

What can I offer the birth mother?

While occasionally birth parents will seek living expenses or on rare occasions outright payment, it is illegal and a crime in Maryland to pay the birth or legal parent to relinquish parental rights. You may only pay medical expenses and fees directly related to the pregnancy and birth, counseling fees, and attorneys' fees. The law is very strict in Maryland and doesn't even allow payment for maternity clothes or other related expenses. Most birth parents will understand this and gladly accept that which is allowed by the state. Probably the best thing you can offer the birth mother is letting her know that you will give her your emotional support and understanding during her pregnancy.

What about the father?

We seek at the earliest possible stage to determine the attitude and legal standing of the birth father. We prefer to obtain his cooperation and consent and to have him provide us with as much information as he can about himself and his family. However, if he does not consent, we still can pursue the adoption. Many adoptions are completed in which the father does not agree to file a consent. You will, however, need to understand that under such circumstances, if the father chooses to contest the adoption, he could cause the adoption to fail. Of course, unless a father is interested in parenting, he has an incentive to consent, or at least not object.

Agency Adoptions

If I am proceeding with an agency adoption, do I need the assistance of my own attorney?

Yes, it is best to have your own attorney for two reasons. First, when you work with an agency — even though it will handle most of the legal work required for the adoption — neither the agency attorney nor agency staff represents you. While reputable agencies will always make sure your rights are protected, they cannot always put your interests first. Therefore, decisions may be pursued by them that are not in your best interest. It is always best to have an experienced attorney review documents before you sign them to make sure that your interests are best served.

Second, the agency attorney is prohibited from representing you and cannot "finalize" or file the Petition for Adoption for you when you are given approval from the agency to complete the adoption. An experienced adoption attorney can prepare the Petition for Adoption for you and make sure it proceeds smoothly.

Relevant Links
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  • Greene's Adoption Blog

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