What is Adoption?
Adoption is a legal process. It is often referred to as "making an adoption plan." Legally, it is the act of permanently transferring your rights as the parent to another family. As adoption laws vary from state to state, you will want to find out what the laws are in your state.
What is the law in Maryland?
At any time during your pregnancy you can start to make an adoption plan. However, signing legal papers to terminate your rights as the parent cannot be done until after you give birth. And then, you have another 30 days to change your mind before it becomes legally binding.
Do I need an attorney?
It depends. If you work with an adoption agency they will provide the services to you at no cost. If you decide on an independent adoption, you will need an attorney to represent you who specializes in adoption. Those costs are usually paid by the adoptive family.
Will I have any say in picking the family?
Yes. You can choose the couple or family that you want to be the parents of your baby. Or you can look at other options such as choosing a family member (which is called kinship adoption), a friend or someone who was recommended to you.
Will I have contact with my child?
The choice is yours. There are three basic types of adoption: open, semi-open and confidential or closed. Each plan has different levels of openness. For example, you can choose a plan that allows for ongoing visits or you can create a plan that keeps you informed and updated through letters and photos. If you decide you do not want any contact, that is your choice also.
What about the father?
Both of you have rights. If you disagree about adoption or you no longer have a relationship with him, let the agency, attorney or courts work it out with him to determine his rights.
What do I tell people?
It's your story. You get to decide how much to tell, who to share the information with and when to share it. You may decide to tell all or nothing, it is really up to you.
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