Consent to Adoption - Maryland
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.