Getting Started with Domestic Adoption

Getting Started with Domestic Adoption

The domestic adoption process may be somewhat complex, but it is possible to complete an adoption much more swiftly than many people realize.

According to a survey completed by Adoptive Families in 2011, most of the survey participants were matched with a birthmother for a newborn adoption in less than three months, and 40% were matched less than one month before the child was born.

While this may be very encouraging to learn, before you move forward with your own domestic adoption, it is essential to understand what you can expect from the process and what preparation and steps are involved.

Let’s take a closer look at things that you can do to get ready.

Thoroughly Educate Yourself Regarding the Law

Do not be afraid to reach out to local adoptive parent support groups and family law attorneys in order to learn more about your options and the local requirements for a domestic adoption. Each state has its own laws and regulations that must be followed.

It will be very beneficial for you moving forward to understand the domestic adoption laws specific to Maryland, which deal with things such as the application requirements, deadlines and timeframes, laws regarding the termination of parental rights, as well as many other important factors. By working with a family law attorney, you can reduce the risk that you will find yourself in frustrating and stressful situations down the road.  Click here to read more about adoptions in Maryland.

Explore Your Domestic Adoption Options

There are many different avenues through which you can complete a domestic adoption. Even after you narrow down your options to domestic adoptions only, you then have to decide if you want to work with a public adoption agency, or a licensed private agency.

Each choice will have its own strengths and weaknesses, and it is essential to take the time to thoroughly research each agency that you are considering.

Understand What Will Be Required During Your Home Study

Regardless of the adoption agency that you choose, you will be legally required to complete a home study, or what is also known as a family study. The purpose of this study is to determine that the home environment that you will be providing for your adoptive child will be safe and suitable.

Be sure to ask your lawyer about what requirements you will need to meet, as the requirements in a home study vary from state to state. If you are serious about completing a domestic adoption soon, it is wise to go ahead and start the home study process because it can take several months or more for the entire study to be completed.  If you have had a negative decision after a home study, an adoption attorney can help you rectify the decision to help you get back on the adoption track you are hoping for.

Staying Involved in the Adoption Process

Just because you meet the requirements during a home study does not mean that your role in the adoption process is over. You will need to engage regularly with your chosen adoption agency in order to help the placement process along. As you are pursuing an adoption, you can meet with expectant parents or children who are already waiting for families. Many adopting parents will choose to foster children or arrange placement visits in order to get to know the child before adoption.

Finalizing the Adoption Legally

The last step of the domestic adoption process will be to file all of the necessary legal documentation with your local courts. Maryland has its own specific guidelines that must be met for you to finalize your adoption. In most cases, the child will need to have lived with you, and have been observed by a social worker for a period of time, before the adoption will be approved. Speak with your family law attorney to learn more about the specific requirements.

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