Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Maryland

Date:

Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Fam. Code §§ 5-3B-04; 5-337; Court Rules, Tit. 9, Ch. 100, Rule 9-103

As to a jurisdiction other than a State within the United States, the following applies:

  • An order for adoption or guardianship entered in compliance with the jurisdiction's laws shall have the same legal effect as an order for adoption or guardianship entered in this State.
  • Termination of parental rights in compliance with the jurisdiction's laws shall have the same legal effect as termination of parental rights in this State.

In ruling on a petition for a child's adoption, a juvenile court shall consider the following:

  • All factors necessary to determine the child's best interests
  • A report by a child-placing agency as to the following:
    • The suitability of the petitioner to be the child's parent
    • The child's successful placement with the petitioner under the supervision of the local Department of Social Services or its agent for at least 180 days

In court rules: A petition for adoption shall be signed and verified by each petitioner and shall contain the following information:

  • The name, address, age, business or employment, and employer of each petitioner
  • The name, sex, and date and place of birth of the person to be adopted
  • The name, address, and age of each parent of the person to be adopted
  • Any relationship of the person to be adopted to each petitioner
  • The name, address, and age of each child of each petitioner
  • A statement of how the person to be adopted was located, including names and addresses of all intermediaries or surrogates
  • If the person to be adopted is a minor, the names and addresses of all persons who have had legal or physical care, custody, or control of the minor since the minor's birth and the period of time during which each of those persons has had care, custody, or control
  • If there is a guardian with the right to consent to adoption for the person to be adopted, the name and address of the guardian and a reference to the proceeding in which the guardian was appointed
  • If a petitioner desires to change the name of the person to be adopted, the name that is desired
  • As to each petitioner, a statement whether the petitioner has ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation and, if so, the offense and the date and place of the conviction
  • That the petitioner is not aware that any required consent has been revoked

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Court Rules, Tit. 9, Ch. 100, Rule 9-103

The following documents shall accompany the petition as exhibits:

  • A certified copy of the birth certificate or 'proof of live birth' of the person to be adopted
  • A certified copy of the marriage certificate of each married petitioner
  • A certified copy of all judgments of divorce of each petitioner
  • A certified copy of any death certificate of a person whose consent would be required if that person were living
  • A certified copy of all orders concerning temporary custody or guardianship of the person to be adopted
  • A copy of any existing adoption home study by a licensed child-placing agency concerning a petitioner, including criminal background reports and child abuse clearances
  • A document verifying the annual income of each petitioner
  • The original of all consents to the adoption and any required affidavits of translators or attorneys
  • If applicable, proof of guardianship or relinquishment of parental rights granted by an administrative, executive, or judicial body of a State or other jurisdiction; a certification that the guardianship or relinquishment was granted in compliance with the jurisdiction's laws; and any appropriate translation of documents required to allow the child to enter the United States
  • If a parent of the person to be adopted cannot be identified or located, an affidavit of each petitioner and the other parent describing the attempts to identify and locate the unknown or missing parent
  • A brief statement of the health of each petitioner signed by a physician or other health-care provider, if applicable

The following documents shall be filed before a judgment of adoption is entered:

  • Any postplacement report relating to the adoption, if applicable
  • A brief statement of the health of the child by a physician or other health-care provider
  • If required by law, an accounting of all payments and disbursements of any money or item of value made by or on behalf of each petitioner in connection with the adoption
  • An affidavit of counsel for a parent, if required by statute
  • An affidavit of counsel for a child, if the child is represented
  • A proposed judgment of adoption
  • A Maryland Department of Health Certificate of Adoption

Background Studies

Citation: Code of Regs. § 07.02.25.06; Court Rules, Tit. 9, Ch. 100, Rule 9-113

For the home study, the resource home worker shall do the following:

  • Conduct at least three visits at the home of the prospective resource parent, including a tour of the house
  • Obtain three personal references
  • Obtain verification of income
  • Obtain verification of marital status, if applicable
  • Request a health and sanitary inspection by the local health department for each home being considered for approval
  • Review local department records to determine whether a member of the prospective resource family has an indicated finding of abuse or neglect
  • Review the results of the State and Federal criminal background checks
  • Make certain that fire safety approval is obtained

In court rules: Except in an adoption by a stepparent or relative, the person authorized to place a minor child for adoption shall affirm to the court that the person has made reasonable efforts to compile and make available to a prospective adoptive parent (1) all of the prospective adoptee's medical and mental health records that the person has or (2) a comprehensive medical and mental health history of the prospective adoptee and the prospective adoptee's parents, except that the records of the parents shall contain no identifying information unless identifying information was previously exchanged by agreement.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Fam. Code § 5-3A-31; Code of Reg. § 07.02.12.03

Before a court enters an order for adoption of a child, a child-placing agency shall file a written report on the following:

  • The suitability of the petitioner to adopt the child
  • The relationship between the petitioner and child

In regulation: The local department shall offer postplacement services to support the following goals:

  • Sustain permanence for children placed with adoptive families prior to finalization of the adoption
  • Help resolve any adjustment problems that may occur during postplacement
  • Promote the integration of the family and child as a single-family unit

The child must live with the adoptive family for at least 6 months or for a shorter period allowed by the juvenile court. During that time, the agency caseworker shall do the following:

  • Visit the adoptive family as often as needed but at least monthly
  • Use observations during the visits in determining the frequency of visits and the family's readiness for finalization of the adoption
  • Include the child in these visits, according to the child's age and capability

The caseworker shall assess the readiness of the family to finalize the adoption based on the following indications:

  • The family indicates that they are ready to adopt.
  • The worker recommends that the adoption is in the child's best interests and that the family is ready to adopt.
  • The child has indicated readiness in the following ways:
    • A child over age 10 consents.
    • A child under age 10 does not object.

Once the family and the caseworker have determined that it is time to finalize the adoption, the caseworker shall do the following:

  • Prepare the necessary documents to support the family's finalization of the adoption
  • Acquire the local department director's consent to the adoption

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Fam. Code § 5-3B-25

After a court enters an order for adoption, the adoptee becomes the offspring of the adoptive parent for all intents and purposes and is entitled to all the rights and privileges of and is subject to all of the obligations of offspring born to the adoptive parent.

Each of the adoptee's living parents is relieved of all parental duties and obligations to the adoptee and is divested of all parental rights as to the adoptee.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Health-Gen. § 4-211(k)

The Secretary of Health shall, on request, prepare and register a certificate in this State for an individual born in a foreign country and who was adopted through a court of competent jurisdiction in this State and by an adopting parent who is a resident of this State. The certificate shall be established on receipt of the following:

  • A certificate of adoption from the court decreeing the adoption
  • Proof of the date and place of the child's birth
  • A request from the court; the adopting parents; or the adopted person, if he or she is age 18 or older, that the certificate be prepared

The certificate shall be labeled 'certificate of foreign birth' and shall show the actual country of birth. A statement also shall be included on the certificate indicating that it is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the child for whom it is issued.