Domestic Adoption

Domestic Adoption is an adoption handled in accordance with the laws of a State in the United States.  Each State has its own adoption laws that govern the how an adoptive and birth family locate each other, the amount of living expenses that can be paid (if any), the consent process and revocation periods and enforceability of post adoption contact agreements.  Domestic adoption can be handled by an agency or it can be a private adoption (also called independent adoption or parental placement).  All three local jurisdictions (D.C., MD & VA) allow for both agency and private adoptions.   

For families pursuing a domestic adoption, Jennifer will advise clients on their legal rights and responsibilities and will provide an overview of the entire process, including the home study process and the difference between private agency adoption, public agency adoption and independent adoption. She advises her clients on avenues through which to locate birth families, as well as the pitfalls and precautions to take when looking for a birth family.  Jennifer works with clients at all stages of the process from initial consultations, searching families, legal issues, finalizations and ICPC.  She is retained at various stages of the process to assist clients based on their needs at the time.

For birth parents, Jennifer represents expectant parents who are considering placing their child for adoption.  She works with clients from an initial consultation where she can help to work through the adoption plan, providing guidance on how to locate adoptive parents and ensures their rights are safeguarded and they are provided with the support and guidance necessary to assist them in the process through the consent process and negotation of a post adoption contact agreement. 

What expenses can be paid to the birth parent(s)?

In the District of Columbia an adoptive family may only pay for medical, counseling and legal services related to the adoption for the birth family.  The District of Columbia prohibits paying for living expenses or providing clothing, food or gifts to a birth family.  In Maryland and Virginia, a birth mother may obtain reasonable and necessary living expenses if she obtains written confirmation from her doctor that she is unable to work due to the pregnancy.   

Revocation Period

In Maryland a birth parent has 30 calendar days to revoke their consent to an adoption whether private or agency.  In the District of Columbia consent is irrevocable upon execution for a private adoption and a birth parent has 14 days to revoke their consent to adoption if the baby is placed through an agency. In Virginia, a birth mother consents in Court in front of Judge three days or more after the baby is born and has seven days to revoke.  In a Virginia agency case, the birth mother signs a relinquishment to the agency and does not appear in court. 

What expenses can be paid to the birth parent(s)?

In the District of Columbia an adoptive family may only pay for medical, counseling and legal services related to the adoption for the birth family.  The District of Columbia prohibits paying for living expenses or providing clothing, food or gifts to a birth family.  In Maryland and Virginia, a birth mother may obtain reasonable and necessary living expenses if she obtains written confirmation from her doctor that she is unable to work due to the pregnancy.   

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax

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