Expectant Parents and Birth Parents

If you are an expectant parent in Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia wanting to make an adoption plan for your child, Jennifer can be of help to you.  Jennifer represents many birth mothers and birth fathers each year who wish to place their child without relying on an agency list of potential adoptive families.  Many choose private adoption because it provides them control over their adoption plan and gives them an opportunity to consider many families across the country.  Jennifer offers free phone consultations to birth families prior to matching and in person meetings once matched.   

In Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia birth parents have the right to make an adoption plan through an agency or independently (also called private adoption or parental placement).  Prior to choosing the option that works for you, Jennifer can explain the legal process for agency and independent adoption and what you can expect from each type of adoption.  She can explain the differences in choosing a family that lives in Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia or in another State.  The adoptive family you select can be located anywhere in the United States.  As an informed expectant parent, you can have more confidence in your adoption plan and in the family you select. 

If you decide to place your child for adoption independently or privately, Jennifer can provide you information on how to locate an adoptive family safely and once you select an adoptive family can represent you through the adoption process regardless of where your adoptive family resides. Having your own lawyer can help to ensure your rights are protected and the adoption plan unfolds as you envision.   

It is important to know that Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia prohibit an attorney or a facilitator from matching a birth family with an adoptive family - this means a person cannot be paid a fee to find an adoptive family for you thus, Jennifer will not find an adoptive family for you but she will help you formulate an adoption plan, provide you information to allow you to locate a family and advise you regarding the laws applicable to your adoption plan.  Once you select an adoptive family and they agree to work with you it is deemed a "match" and Jennifer can continue to represent you through the process.  Once there is a match, adopting parents will cover the birth parents legal fees which will be discussed with their attorney prior to proceeding with the plan.    

As an expectant parent who is interested in making an adoption plan you should know your rights and options including the right to make a private or agency adoption plan and the right to parent.  Often the laws can be confusing particularly when distinguishing between the rights of birth mothers and birth fathers and the laws of the state where you reside compared to the laws where the adoptive family resides.  Sometimes your home state laws apply and sometimes the adoptive parents home state laws apply and Jennifer can explain this to you in detail so you understand and can make an informed decision.  

Jennifer can also advise you on the laws that impact you including Safe Haven laws, consent and revocation laws, paternity issues and costs associated with the placement of a child for adoption.  For example, if your adoption is proceeding under Maryland law as a private adoption you will have thirty (30) days after you sign the Consent to change your mind - the Consent cannot be signed until the baby has been born.  In the District of Columbia, your consent is irrevocable upon signing and is usually signed atleast 24 hours after the baby is born for a private adoption and, in an agency placement you have 14 days to change your mind about the adoption.  In Virginia, you will sign your consent in Court before a Judge three days or more after the baby is born and you have seven days to revoke (change your mind).  You have a right to adoption counseling paid for by the adoptive parents and the adoptive parents can pay for uncovered medical expenses and your legal fees.  However, if your adoption is proceeding under the laws of another state, your revocation rights are in accordance with the laws of the adoptive parents state.  Jennifer can assist you in understanding your rights in an interstate adoption.  All three local jurisdictions have provisions for enforceability of post adoption contact agreements while some states do not allow for these agreements.    

Jennifer's current searching families.  If you are interested in one of these families please contact them through their website:

Jessica and Jonathan                          Peter and Ann                             Anjali and Riki               Hilary and Andy         

        Marisa and Robert                           Lauren and Brendan                  Robert and Rachel                       Alvin and Jay

Agency Adoption

Agency adoptions are adoptions that are handled by a licensed child placing agency in the State where the adoption is occurring. Agency Adoptions are conducted through either public or private agencies. Residents of Maryland and the District of Columbia may work with public and private agencies located anywhere in the United States.  In Agency adoptions, the birth parents are placing the child with the Agency which assumes guardianship of the child.  The Agency then places the child with the adoptive couple.   ..

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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