Maryland Adoption Laws, pg 3

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Who Must Consent to an Adoption
Citation: Fam. Law § 5-338

Consent to an adoption is required from the following persons:
  • The natural mother and father
  • If parental rights have been terminated, the head of the agency that has been awarded guardianship
  • The director of the local department with custody of the child

Age When Consent of Adoptee is Considered or Required
Citation: Fam. Law § 5-338(3)

The court may grant an adoption only if the child is represented by an attorney and he or she:
  • Consents to the adoption, if at least age 10
  • Does not object to the adoption, if under age 10

When Parental Consent is not Needed
Citation: Fam. Law § 5-3B-22

A court may allow adoption without parental consent if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent:
  • Has not had custody of the prospective adoptee for at least 1 year
  • Has not maintained meaningful contact with the child while the petitioner had custody, notwithstanding an opportunity to do so
  • Has failed to contribute to the child's physical care and support, notwithstanding the ability to do so
  • Has subjected the child to chronic abuse, chronic and life-threatening neglect, sexual abuse, or torture
  • Has been convicted of abuse of any offspring
  • Has been convicted, in any State or any court of the United States, of:
    • A crime of violence against a minor offspring of the parent, the child, or another parent of the child
    • Aiding or abetting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit a crime described above
  • Has, other than by consent, lost parental rights to a sibling of the child

When Consent Can Be Executed
Citation: Fam. Law § 5-3B-21(2)

Consent to adoption is not valid unless the consent is given after the prospective adopted person is born.

How Consent Must Be Executed
Citation: Fam. Law § 5-339

Consent to an adoption is not valid unless:
  • The consent is given in a language that the party understands.
  • If given in a language other than English, the consent:
    • Is given before a judge on the record
    • Is accompanied by the affidavit of a translator stating that the translation of the document of consent is accurate
  • The consent names the child.
  • The consent contains enough information to identify the prospective adoptive parent.
  • The party has received written notice or on the record notice of:
    • Provisions for revocation of consent
    • The search rights of adopted persons and parents under § 5-359 and the search rights of adopted persons, parents, and siblings under Subtitle 4B
    • The right to file a disclosure veto under § 5-359
  • The consent is accompanied by an affidavit of counsel stating that a parent who is a minor or has a disability consents knowingly and voluntarily.

Revocation of Consent
Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-339; 5-351

A parent may revoke consent to adoption at any time within the later of:
  • 30 days after the parent signs the consent
  • 30 days after the adoption petition is filed, after which consent is irrevocable
A local department, a guardian, or the child may revoke consent to an adoption at any time before a juvenile court enters an order of adoption.

Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (

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