An adoption legally creates a parental relationship between a child and an adult. Once an adoption is finalized, the relationship between the parents and child is as if the child had been born to them and the parental rights of the biological (birth) parents are terminated.
Maryland adoption statutes require that any child over the age of 10 years must consent to the adoption. In the District of Columbia and Virginia any child over the age of 14 years must consent to the adoption. If the adoption is contested, the court will appoint an attorney to represent a child. In Virginia, adoptees have a guardian ad litem appointed at the initiation of the case.
Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia all have statutes that provide for three kinds of adoptions: private agency, public agency and independent/private. In private adoptions the arrangements regarding the adoption are made directly between the birth parents and the adopting parents. Maryland and the District of Columbia allow for second parent adoptions. Virginia allows married same-sex parents to obtain a step-parent adoption. Unmarried same-sex couples in Virginia can complete a second parent adoption in D.C. if the child was born in the District of Columbia after July 2009.
In Maryland, birth parents who sign consents (which can only be signed after the baby is born) have 30 days to revoke their consent. A birth parent may not revoke their consent if, in the preceding year, the parent revoked consent for or filed an objection to the adoption and the adoptee is at least 30 days old and the consent is given before a judge. After the expiration of the revocation period, a birth parent can only disrupt the adoption if they can prove their consent was obtained through fraud or under duress.
In the District of Columbia, a consent to adoption may be revoked or withdrawn only after a judicial determination that the consent was not voluntarily given.
In Virginia, a birth mother gives her consent in a court proceeding at least three days after the child is born and has an additional seven (7) days to revoke her consent. If the birth mother gives her consent more than 10 days after the birth of the child, she can waive her seven day revocation period if she is represented by counsel. A consenting birth father may do the same or waive his rights pre-birth. Virginia has a putative father registry and known birth fathers must be given notice of the registry.
If you want to learn about post adoption contact agreements, read Jennifer's article published in the Families for Private Adoption Newsletter.
Regarding the adoption tax credit, as part of the health care bill signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act P.L. 111-148), the adoption tax credit (ATC) was preserved. In 2015, the maximum adoption tax credit is $13,400 for adoptive parents who earn less than 201,010. The ATC is not an option for those who earn $241,010. The adoption tax credit can be used for failed adoptions also and adoptive parents should consult a tax accountant to ensure it is taken properly.
Adoption Tax Credit Resources:
Adoptive Parents: Don't Delay Your Adoption Credit Refund:
http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=236883,00.html - 16.0KB
Adoption Benefits FAQs:
http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=231663,00.html - 22.4KB
Six Facts For Adoptive Parents:
http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=255102,00.html - 13.3KB
Adoption Credit and Adoption Assistance Programs:
http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.html - 17.3KB