How is Private Adoption Different From Public Adoption?

Adopting a child is a document intensive, and sometimes lengthy, but fulfilling process. Understanding the process and requirements before beginning is essential to ensure that you can proceed successfully. Below, our team of family law attorneys discuss the step-by-step process for private adoption in Maryland. 


Private Versus Public Adoption

Private adoptions do not involve adoption agencies and are instead managed by the birth parents and prospective adoptive parents involved in the case. 

Unlike public adoptions, which are overseen by the Department of Social Services, private adoptions provide birth parents more control over the process. As a result, adoptions involving someone who knows the child or the child’s biological family, such as a stepparent or other family member, are normally performed privately and without the involvement of an adoption agency.


Adoptive Parent Requirements

A parent who is adopting a child must be age 21 or older. Adoptive parents can be married or single, unless you are separated or the other parent is not legally qualified. If you are married, both you and your partner will be added to the petition. It is important that you can show financial stability and prove you can adequately provide for the child. If you are adopting a child through a government agency, you must finish a 27-hour home study course.


Consent from Legal Guardians or Agency

In Maryland, it is mandatory for adoptive parents to receive consent from either the legal guardians of the child or the agency (meaning a state agency, not an adoption agency)  if the guardians no longer have legal rights. The adoptive parents must seek the agreement of all legal guardians if the adoption is independent. If one guardian cannot be contacted, or does not object to a public notice of adoption, only the one guardian’s consent is needed.


Petition and Hearing Process

If both biological parents agree to the adoption, the parties involved must complete considerable documentation and paperwork after filing a petition with the court. The judge will issue the adoptive parent official parental rights to the child at a finalization hearing. Following the hearing, the adoptive parent can apply for a new birth certificate, which will list the adoptee as a parent.


Rodier Family Law’s Compassionate Family Law Attorneys Oversee Private Adoption Cases

If you want to pursue a private adoption, you should consult with an experienced private adoption lawyer who is familiar with the legal complexities of adoptions to guarantee the adoption is secure. Working with skilled adoption attorneys is often less expensive than working with an adoption agency.

Our firm enjoys assisting clients with Step-parent adoptions on a regular basis.  We can guide you through the adoption process and be there for you from beginning to end. Contact our Bel Air office now to learn more about private party adoptions in Maryland and to talk with an experienced adoption lawyer. Call (410) 803-1839 today or request a one-hour consultation by filling out a form here.