Knowledgeable Silver Spring Lawyer Provides Steadfast Counsel for Independent Adoptions
Experienced Maryland attorney helps prospective parents get desired results
An independent adoption under Maryland law allows a child’s birthparents to place their child directly with adoptive parents. There are many advantages to this type of adoption, but the process can be challenging, there are many issues to be negotiated, and there are greater risks of last-minute revocations. For all these reasons, it’s in your best interest to retain an experienced adoption attorney who has dealt with independent adoptions. At Law Offices of Tina Sharma, I have 10 years of experience working with adoptive parents and birthparents to finalize independent adoptions. Whether you are looking to adopt or to place your child in a loving home, I can provide the reliable, attentive legal representation you need.
Advantages of independent adoption in Maryland
Independent adoption has several advantages over traditional agency adoptions. These include:
- Birthparents and adoptive parents choose each other — Both sets of parents get to see and know each other to decide whether the adoption will be a good fit.
- Sharing of family medical history — With a closed adoption, adoptive parents get no information about the birthparents or their family medical history. Adoptive parents can be blindsided by hereditary illnesses they might otherwise have been prepared for.
- Continuing birthparent contact or visitation — No matter how much they are loved by their adoptive parents, many adopted children become curious about their biological parents. Independent adoptions can be as open as the parties involved desire. Some adoptions allow for the birthparents to have limited visitation so they can see their child grow. When appropriate, the child learns the true identity of these “family friends,” saving the child from frustration and distress that might come with not knowing where they came from.
- The child comes directly from the birthparents — The child is spared any time in institutional care, and parents don’t have to deal with an agency’s sometimes arbitrary standards.
- Potentially less wait time — Independent adoptions generally have shorter wait times.
How independent adoption works in Maryland
An independent adoption takes place outside an agency setting, when through word of mouth, advertising or happenstance, a couple searching for a child to adopt encounters birthparents looking to place their child in a home. Often, this encounter comes during the birthmother’s pregnancy, when the birthparents realize their circumstances make it impossible for them to keep the baby. However, any number of circumstances may prompt a parent or legal guardian to initiate the search.
Although independent adoptions are negotiated between private parties, state law governs the process. The birthparents must still consent to the adoption and give up their parental rights, and the adoptive parents must still pass the scrutiny of the court and demonstrate the adoption is in the best interest of the child. But most importantly, birthparents retain the right to revoke consent for 30 days. This means they can cancel the adoption for any reason or no reason at all during that time period.
Managing the revocation issue
The specter of revocation looms large over independent adoptions for several reasons:
- Birthmothers are often young, immature, and can be impulsive.
- Birthmothers may bond with babies in ways they do not anticipate during pregnancy and delivery.
- Revocation gives the birthmother leverage to demand visitation rights the adoptive parents may not be comfortable with.
It is heart-wrenching for adoptive parents to go through a long pregnancy, becoming close to a birthmother, winning her trust, and then having to deal with a crisis when she threatens to deny them the child. An experienced adoption attorney can prepare for and manage such crises better than the adoptive parents could if they acted on their own behalf. Having weathered such crises on many occasions, I understand what can be accomplished through compassionate counsel and steadfast advocacy of my clients’ interests, whether those clients are married, single or members of the LGBT community.
Contact my Silver Spring, MD office today for answers about independent adoption
Birthparents and adoptive parents require attentive, reliable legal counsel throughout the independent adoption process. Call Law Offices of Tina Sharma today at 202-899-5871 or contact my Silver Spring office online to schedule an appointment. My office is conveniently located downtown just one block away from the Montgomery County courthouse.