Private Agency Adoption

In an agency adoption, a birth parent relinquishes his or her parental rights to the adoption agency by executing a consent in favor of the agency. The agency then places the child for adoption with adoptive parents selected by either the birth parent or the agency.

Thus, if the birth parents or adoptive parents need assistance in locating one another, a private agency can get involved to match the parents. Typically, the agency provides adoption services such as counseling and financial support to the birth parents. The birth parents often assist in choosing the adoptive parents by reviewing “resumes” of interested parents, which include non-identifying information and photos of the prospective adoptive parents.

Home studies are required as part of the adoption process. The agency working with the families will provide the home study services.  After the adoptive parents have been identified and after the child is born, each birth parent gives consent to guardianship of the child in favor of the agency. This consent gives the agency the right to place the child for adoption. The birth parents have 30 days after signing to revoke their consent. Meanwhile, the adoption agency files a petition in the appropriate circuit court to obtain legal guardianship of the child. Once the revocation period expires, the court will grant legal guardianship to the agency and terminate the parental rights of the birth parents. While the guardianship proceeding is pending, the child will be placed with the prospective adopting parents if the parents are willing to assume the risk of placement before the parental rights are terminated. Otherwise the baby will be placed in a foster home until the parental rights are terminated. The child will then be placed with the adopting couple.

Following a required post-placement supervision period, the agency gives its consent to the adoption to the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents proceed to finalize their adoption by filing a petition for adoption in the circuit court in the county where they reside.

During the period of post-placement supervision following the placement of the child, the agency retains legal custody of the child while the adoptive parents have physical custody. In the majority of agency adoption placements, either public or private, the child is placed directly with the adoptive parents following his or her birth. However, a newborn child may be placed in foster care during the period of time that the parental rights of the birth parents are being terminated.

A consent to guardianship is revocable for 30 days after it is signed. When the court grants the guardianship, the parental rights of the birth parents are terminated. The above procedures put the agency in the position where the agency can give the adoptive parents a consent to adoption.

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 is a home study?

State law dictates whether an individual social worker, a private licensed child placing agency, or a public social service agency may perform the home study. The process is designed to evaluate the adoptive parents to assure that there is nothing in their homes or backgrounds which would be contrary to the best interests of the child.  It is an independent investigation to verify your suitability as adoptive parents.  In includes criminal and child abuse clearances and is valid for one year and can be updated annually. 

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 is a home study?

State law dictates whether an individual social worker, a private licensed child placing agency, or a public social service agency may perform the home study. The process is designed to evaluate the adoptive parents to assure that there is nothing in their homes or backgrounds which would be contrary to the best interests of the child.  It is an independent investigation to verify your suitability as adoptive parents.  In includes criminal and child abuse clearances and is valid for one year and can be updated annually. 

“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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