Consent to Adoption - Maryland

Date: October 2021

Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Fam. Law § 5-338(a)

Consent to an adoption is required from the following persons:

  • The birth mother and father
  • If parental rights have been terminated, the head of the agency that has been awarded guardianship
  • The director of the local department of social services with custody of the child

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Fam. Law § 5-338(a)(3)

The court may grant an adoption only if the child is represented by an attorney and either of the following applies:

  • The child consents to the adoption if he or she is at least age 10.
  • The child does not object to the adoption if he or she is under age 10.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Fam. Law § 5-3B-22

A court may allow adoption without parental consent if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence any of the following:

  • The parent has not had custody of the prospective adopted person for at least 1 year.
  • The child to be adopted has significant emotional ties to and feelings for the petitioner.
  • The parent has not maintained meaningful contact with the child while the petitioner had custody, notwithstanding an opportunity to do so.
  • The parent has failed to contribute to the child's physical care and support, notwithstanding the ability to do so.
  • The parent has subjected the child to chronic abuse, chronic and life-threatening neglect, sexual abuse, or torture.
  • The parent has been convicted of abuse of any offspring.
  • The parent has been convicted, in any State or any court of the United States, of any of the following:
    • A crime of violence against a minor offspring of the parent, the child, or another parent of the child
    • Aiding or abetting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit a crime described above
  • The parent has, other than by consent, lost parental rights to a sibling of the child.

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Fam. Law § 5-3B-21(2)

Consent to adoption is not valid unless the consent is given after the prospective adopted child is born.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-339; 5-351

Consent to an adoption is not valid unless the following are true:

  • The consent is given in a language that the party understands.
  • If given in a language other than English, the consent complies with the following:
    • It is given before a judge on the record.
    • It is accompanied by the affidavit of a translator stating that the translation of the document of consent is accurate.
  • The consent names the child.
  • The consent contains enough information to identify the prospective adoptive parent.
  • The party has received written notice or on-the-record notice of the following:
    • Provisions for revocation of consent
    • The search rights of adopted persons and parents under § 5-359 and the search rights of adopted persons, parents, and siblings under subtitle 4B
    • The right to file a disclosure veto under § 5-359
  • The consent is accompanied by an affidavit of counsel stating that a parent who is a minor or has a disability consents knowingly and voluntarily.

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-339; 5-351

A parent may revoke consent to adoption at any time within the later of either of the following:

  • Thirty days after the parent signs the consent
  • Thirty days after the adoption petition is filed, after which consent is irrevocable

A local department, a guardian, or the child may revoke consent to an adoption at any time before a juvenile court enters an order of adoption.

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