Consent to Adoption - Maine

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Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-C, § 9-302

Written consent to the adoption must be given by the following:

  • Each living parent
  • The person or agency having legal custody or guardianship of the adoptee if the adoptee is a child or to whom the child has been surrendered and released
  • A guardian appointed by the court, if the adoptee is a child, when the child has no living parent, guardian, or legal custodian who may consent

When the Department of Health and Human Services consents to the adoption of a child in its custody, the department shall immediately notify the district court in which an action for termination of parental rights is pending and the guardian ad litem for the child.

The department may consent to more than one person petitioning to adopt a child in its custody. In such cases, the court may request that the department provide information and a recommendation regarding petitioners.

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-C, § 9-302

Written consent to the adoption must be given by the child if he or she is age 12 or older.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-C, § 9-302

Consent to adoption is not required of the following:

  • A putative parent if the putative parent:
    • Received notice and failed to respond to the notice within the prescribed time period
    • Waived the right to notice under § 9-201(3)
    • Failed to meet the standards of § 9-201(9)
    • Holds no parental rights regarding the child under the laws of the foreign country in which the child was born
  • A parent whose parental rights have been terminated
  • A parent who has executed a surrender and release pursuant to § 9-202
  • A parent whose parental rights have been voluntarily or judicially terminated and transferred to a public agency or a duly licensed private agency pursuant to the laws of another State or country
  • The parent of an adopted person who is age 18 or older

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-C, §§ 9-202; 9-302

The parents or surviving parent of a child may consent to the child's adoption any time that is at least 72 hours after the child€™s birth. A petition for adoption must be pending before consent is executed.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-C, § 9-202

With the approval of the court of any county within the State and after a determination by the court that a surrender is in the best interests of the child, the parents or surviving parent of a child may do either of the following:

  • Surrender all parental rights to the child and the custody and control of the child to a licensed child-placing agency or the department to have the child adopted by a suitable person
  • Consent to have the child adopted by a specified petitioner

The parents or the surviving parent and the child, if age 14 or older, must execute the consent in the presence of the judge.

The court may approve a consent only when the following conditions are met:

  • A child-placing agency or the department certifies that counseling was provided or was offered and refused. This requirement does not apply if one of the petitioners is a blood relative or the adoptee is an adult.
  • The court has explained the individual's parental rights and responsibilities, the effects of the consent or the surrender, that in all but specific situations the individual has the right to revoke the consent within 5 working days, and the existence of the adoption registry and the services available under title 22, § 2706-A.
  • The court determines that the consent has been duly executed and was given freely after the parent was informed of the parent's rights.
  • At least 5 working days have elapsed since the parent executed the consent and the parent did not withdraw or revoke the consent.

Consent may be acknowledged before a notary public who is not an attorney for the adopting parents or a partner, associate, or employee of an attorney for the adopting parents when consent is given by the following:

  • The department or a child-placing agency
  • A public or private agency to which parental rights have been transferred under the law of another State or country

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-C, § 9-202

A surrender and release or a consent is not valid until 5 working days after it has been executed, except that consent by a parent petitioning to adopt that parent's own child with that parent's spouse is valid upon signature.

A consent or a surrender and release is final and irrevocable when duly executed, except that a consent is final only for the adoption consented to, and if that adoption petition is withdrawn or dismissed or if the adoption is not finalized within 18 months of the execution of the consent, a review must be held pursuant to § 9-205.