Legal Procedure and Risks
The legal process for completing an adoption may seem intimidating, but in fact is quite straight forward. Members of the domestic staff are available to answer any questions you may have. We encourage all birth parents with whom we work to meet an independent attorney to fully explore the legal consequences of placing a child for adoption. After the baby is born, and the birth parents are confident of their decision, they complete documentation to relinquish their child to the agency. These documents are submitted to the court and the agency is appointed to be the legal guardian of the infant.
The appointment of the agency as the child’s guardian terminates the parental rights of the birth parents. The agency receives a Guardianship Decree formalizing the legal relationship. Depending upon the level of participation of the birth mother and the birth father, the process of legally terminating parental rights in Maryland will take a minimum of 30 days. We recognize how difficult it can be during the 30 day revocation period and keep in close communication during this time. In Virginia, the legal revocation period is 10 day from the baby’s birth or 7 days from the signature of consent and cases are typically filed at finalization. At placement, your child will be put on your family insurance policy.
Because most of the children placed through Adoptions Together are newborns who go directly home from the hospital with their adoptive parents, most of our placements are considered legally at risk, meaning there is a certain period of time after the child was placed that a birth parent may revoke his or her consent to the placement, and have the child returned to their custody. While such revocations are rare, the emotional trauma of a disrupted placement is very difficult for adoptive families.
If the family is unable to accept the placement of a child before parental rights are terminated, we may be able to arrange interim care. A fee for care, accrued daily, will be assessed. Additionally, the consent of the birth parents will be required for any interim care placement.
Adoptions Together undertakes strenuous efforts to obtain detailed medical and social histories of the birth parents and each child placed through the agency. Before placement, each child is given an evaluation by a pediatrician either at the hospital prior to discharge or while in interim care. All medical information available on a child will be provided to the adoptive family.
Despite our best efforts, all pre-existing medical conditions may not be discovered prior to placement. If a medical condition is discovered after your adoption is finalized, you will have all legal responsibility for your child. While we make every effort to obtain complete medical information, we cannot guarantee the future health of the child.
After a child is placed with you, the agency will schedule a minimum of three post-placement visits to assist and support your transition to parenting. The social worker who completed your initial Home Study will usually do your post placements. These visits occur over a six-month period, and at their favorable conclusion, the agency will give its consent to the legal finalization of your adoption of the child. Adoptive parents may retain independent counsel to complete this process or they may draft the petition themselves with the guidance of the agency. Additional training for adoptive parenting will be offered.
Please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to have the opportunity to help you build your family through adoption.