Helping clients navigate their family building journey


Does a surrogate have to consent to an adoption?

If you use a Traditional Surrogate, she will have to consent to any adoption by a non-biological parent of the child.  This may be a step-parent or second parent adoption.  If you use a gestational surrogate which is recommended since it provides greater legal protections for all the parties, you can often obtain a birth order declaring your parentage prior to the baby's birth avoiding the need for an adoption.

Revocation Period

In Maryland a birth parent has 30 calendar days to revoke their consent to an adoption.  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. 

What is the tax credit?

For 2013, the maximum adoption credit and exclusion $12,970 per child. The credit will begin to phase out for families with modified adjusted gross incomes above $194,580 and the credit will go away completely for those with incomes around $234,580. The adoption credit is calculated on Form 8839 Qualified Adoption Expenses. 

Can Same Sex Clients Adopt?

 Yes.  In both Maryland and the District of Columbia gay and lesbian parents can adopt as single parents and as co-parents.  Some other states will not grant same sex adoptions so talk to your attorney before you get started to ensure your adoption plan can be completed 

Second Parent Adoption and Adoption by LGBT Parents

GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) Adoption

For information related to the Supreme Court decision on DOMA, click here.
The District of Columbia passed a law in 2013 allowing adoptions to take place in the District if a child is born in the District of Columbia.  Non-resident couples may now obtain an adoption in the District or a Judgment of Parentage, based solely on the birth of the child in the District of Columbia. The new law took effect on March 19, 2013. That means that lesbian couples who gave birth to a child in the District of Columbia after July 1, 2009 will be able to obtain a second-parent adoption in D.C.  The Commonwealth of Virginia, North Carolina and other States as well as the federal government will recognize the adoption for all purposes. Unfortunately, for now this new law does not apply to children born through surrogacy since it is illegal in the District of Columbia.  

The first second parent adoption in Maryland was granted in late 1996 and the first second parent adoption in the District of Columbia was granted in 1995. Today second parent adoption in either jurisdiction is routinely granted as long as the parents have met the adoption criteria required by the local court.  Jennifer has handled hundreds of second parent adoptions.      

Having completed her 1997 Judicial clerkship where she reviewed, among other legal matters, adoption cases, Jennifer embarked on a career that included representing and advocating for gay and lesbian parents.  Under the mentorship of an attorney who championed the first second parent adoptions through the initial legal challenges, Jennifer handled dozens second parent adoptions as well as private adoptions by gay and lesbian adoptions by the end of her first year of private practice.  She continues to push forward for parental recognition of gay and lesbian parents.  She fought hard for recognition of de facto parents for those who did not have legal parentage in Maryland and continues to advocate for legal parental recognition laws for gay and lesbian parents.  If you are interested in a second parent adoption, contact Jennifer through her contact page and complete an appointment request form.  

In addition to second parent adoption, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia will name a married lesbian couple as the parents of a child born to them when the birth mother identifies her spouse at the hospital as the child's parent (the process in Virginia is unfolding due to the recent law providing for recognition of same-sex marriages in Virginia).  In the District, marriage is not required to take advantage of this law but it is required in Maryland and Virginia.  As of March 2013 non-residents will be able to obtain Parentage Orders and Adoptions in the District of Columbia if the baby is born in D.C. and you are unable to complete an adoption in your home state - this is particularly advantages for unmarried Virginia residents.  Virginia does allow for step-parent adoptions by same-sex parents and those have been filed and granted since December of 2014.    

If you are a gay or lesbian parent, contact Jennifer about the process for second or steop parent adoption in Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia as this is still recommended to all parents in same sex relationships to secure their parental rights beyond the boundaries of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. A birth certificate is a "presumption of parentage" but the adoption is a judicial determination.  

If you are a gay or lesbian parent, contact Jennifer about the process for second parent adoption in Maryland and the District of Columbia or step-parent adoption in Virginia as this is still recommended to all parents in same sex relationships to secure their parental rights beyond the boundaries of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. To see the letter issued to the Maryland Birth Registrar click here. To see the Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Amendment Act of 2009, click here:

Jennifer is one of the leading adoption attorneys in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia for clients seeking adoptions.  Jennifer delivers high quality legal services for a reasonable cost.  Jennifer has a streamlined process and provides direct client contact and regular communication to ensure proper and complete adoption filings.  When the adoption is uncontested (all legal/genetic parents consenting or anonymous donors) the process is paperwork and rule driven.  Jennifer has handled adoptions her entire career.  Today she teaches other lawyers how to handle second parent adoptions and welcomes the chance to advise any gay or lesbian family on how to secure legal protections for their family. 

Jennifer was recently seen on ABC News discussing the marriage recognition in Maryland and marriage in the District of Columbia specifically regarding the impact on GLBT clients considering becoming parents. 

Jennifer has extensive experience in finalizing adoptions for the LGBT community in Maryland and the District of Columbia. If a birth family is placing their child with a LGBT family, she will work with the LGBT family to create an adoption plan with the birth family so that the adoptive parents may bring the child home directly from the hospital. She handles every aspect of the adoption from the adoption plan, ICPC processing and finalization.

Client feedback demonstrates that Jennifer is one of the top adoption attorneys for the LGBT community. To read the client comments, look Jennifer up on Jennifer offers no cost in person initial consultations for LGBT families interested in adoption. Uncontested second parent adoptions are handled on a capped fee basis and Jennifer is the most competitively priced attorney handling second parent adoptions in the area.

In the District of Columbia and throughout the state of Maryland and now Virginia, gay and lesbian individuals— both single individuals and couples— are eligible to adopt through an agency, foster care or through a private placement adoption.

For clients finalizing in Baltimore City, click this link to get directions.