Maryland adoption laws


Any adult may adopt. A married couple must adopt jointly, unless the spouse is legally separated from the adopting spouse, is deemed incompetent, or is the child’s parent and approves of the adoption.

Can LGBT families adopt? Yes, same-sex couples can petition for joint adoption.


Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? Yes.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? No.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Reasonable and customary medical and legal expenses may be paid.

Is there a putative father registry? No.

When can consent to adoption be granted? Any time after birth (although common practice is to wait at least 24 hours).

 When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? 30 days after signing. Return is automatic.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Yes, the court will enforce a written agreement if it is in the best interest of the child.


Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Yes, as long as the adoption decree is issued under due process of law.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Parents are not required to readopt in Maryland if the child was adopted under due process of law and if the child was issued an IR-3 visa by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene will issue a certificate of foreign birth upon receipt of a certified copy of the adoption decree (and translation if necessary), proof of the DOB and place of birth of the child, proof of the child’s IR-3 visa status, proof that the adopting parent/s reside in Maryland, and a request for the certificate from the court, the adopting parents, or the child if s/he is 18 years or older.


Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, adoption subsidies are available to a special needs child, who is defined as having at least one of the following: between 6 and 18 years of age, of a minority racial or ethnic background (although this must be paired with another special need), member of a sibling group of two or more children being placed together, has or is at high risk of developing a physical or mental condition or disease, or has an emotional disturbance. In some cases, assistance is granted to adopting parents with limited financial means.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in Maryland?

311 West Saratoga Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 767-7506