If you’ve thought about adopting a child, chances are that you’ve also asked yourself the question, “How do I adopt in Maryland?” It’s a seemingly simple question with a rather complex answer because – well – there’s no one answer. The adoption process is different for everyone. Thankfully, your adoption agency will help guide you through the step-by-step process. And while no two adoption journeys are ever the same, there are several common steps throughout the process.
How Do I Adopt in Maryland?
- Choose an Adoption Agency: “Working with a small, local adoption agency rather than a large out-of-state agency has many benefits,” says Jessie McNaughton, Family Connections, Inc.
- They are never far away. “They walk you through each step of the adoption process, (e.g., application, home study, creating a profile, advertising, placement, and finalization) and provide the professionals to guide you,” writes Narda Emett, Adoption.com.
- They connect you with local birth mothers. “In an open adoption, this makes visits easier,” says McNaughton.
- They know local state laws. Adoption laws vary from state to state, and a local Maryland adoption agency should be intimately familiar with specific state laws.
- Prepare for the Adoption Home Study: It can be a stressful experience for first-time adoptive parents, but it is important to remember that the home study is designed to “screen in” a family – rather than screen out. “It involves things like a background check, a family history, a doctor’s clearance, and a few interviews to make sure you’re a good person,” explains Collin Rainey. “And yes, there’s also the in-home meeting.” A social worker will visit the family’s home, interview family members and their references, as well as review the family’s financial history, to assess their suitability for adoption. The whole process typically takes about 90 days.
- Create a Birth Parent Book: “Your [birth parent book] is the most important marketing tool you have to connect with an expectant mother who is facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption for her baby,” says Russell Elkins, adoption professional.
- Meet the Birth Parents (Maybe): While it’s not always the case, in some instances, the potential adoptive family meets with the birth parents. Your adoption counselor will be present for this meeting to help you and the birth parents foster a relationship that will lead to a loving adoption plan.
- Be Patient: “I tell people it can be days, months or years,” says Dean Kirschner, Ph.D., LCSW-C. Adopting an infant within the U.S. on average takes between 3 and 24 months, while adopting older children from foster care can take 2 to 12 months. However, actual wait times vary pretty drastically from adoption to adoption. Even after placement, birth parents have 30 days to change their mind. If a birth parent expresses an uncertainty about the adoption plan, Adoption Makes Family has a Cradle Care family who cares for the baby during this 30 day period. While there is no way to completely remove the emotional pain associated with a changed adoption plan, having the baby cared for by a surrogate family for a short time is one small effort we make to help adoptive families through this difficult part of the journey.
Want to Know More About the Adoption Process?
For answers to the question “How do I adopt in Maryland?” and more, you can reach out to Adoption Makes Family. We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland founded to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents in a manner that is sensitive, compassionate, and personal. Our experienced professionals can help walk you through the adoption process and answer any questions you may have.
Call Us Now at (410) 683-2100
If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online contact form.
- “Adoption Cost and Timing Survey 2014-2015.” Adoptive Families, 24 Oct. 2016, www.adoptivefamilies.com/resources/adoption-news/adoption-cost-and-timing-2014-2015/.
- “Adoption Study Discusses Current State of Adoption.” National Council for Adoption, 15 Feb. 2017, www.adoptioncouncil.org/blog/2017/02/adoption-study-discusses-current-state-of-adoption.
- “How Long Does It Take To Adopt A Child.” Adoption Network, www.adoptionnetwork.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-adopt-a-child.