Adoption Without Parental Consent in Maryland
Is adoption in Maryland possible without knowing who the father is? Does the father have to give consent for adoption in Maryland? What if I want to put my baby up for adoption but the father doesn’t? Can a child be adopted without the father’s consent?
It’s not unusual for us to field questions like this at American Adoptions. If you aren’t sure whether an unsupportive or unknown birth father will affect your ability to pursue adoption, it’s hard to know whether you should start the adoption process or not. To that end, we’ve written this article in an attempt to answer some questions you may have about adoption without parental consent in Maryland.
Please note, however, that this article does not serve as legal advice. If you have questions about pursuing a Maryland adoption without parental consent of the birth father, this article does not take the place of a lawyer or social worker. Please call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with someone about your exact circumstance.
What is the legal definition of a father in Maryland?
If a child is born in Maryland to an unmarried woman, a man will legally be considered the child’s father only if:
He is judicially deemed the father after an action is brought to court relating to paternity
He has acknowledged in writing that he is the father of the child
He has openly and notoriously recognized the child as his
He marries the child’s mother after the child is born and acknowledges himself, either verbally or in writing, as the child’s father
Are there other means to establish paternity?
Yes, Maryland state laws do provide an opportunity for unmarried fathers and mothers to execute an affidavit of parentage. To complete the affidavit of parentage form, the parents must provide the following information:
A statement that the affidavit is a legal document and serves as a legal finding of paternity
The child’s full name and the place and date of their birth
The full name of the father of the child
The full name of the mother of the child
Signatures from both the father and mother that attest that information provided is true and correct
A statement from the mother saying that the man she’s signing the affidavit with is the only possible father
A statement from the father saying he is the natural father of the child
The Social Security numbers of both parents
Is there a way to revoke a paternity claim?
Yes, an affidavit of parentage can be rescinded in writing within 60 days after it is executed or by a judge in a court proceeding before that 60-day period is over.
So, in Maryland, to put a baby up for adoption, does the dad need to agree?
If a man is deemed the father, then his birth father’s rights in adoption should not be ignored. The best plan of action if you aren’t sure your baby’s father will be supportive of your adoption plan is to speak with your American Adoptions adoption specialist before speaking about adoption with the father. An unplanned pregnancy may be a big surprise to him, and it’s best to be sensitive when discussing putting a baby up for adoption.
If possible, it’s always best to discuss big news like this in person or over the phone. However, that also depends on your relationship with the father of your child. It may also be an option to explain your adoption plan in a letter or an email, being sure to carefully explain why you feel adoption is best and remaining understanding. If, however, you feel unsafe around your baby’s father, never put yourself in harm’s way to discuss adoption. In this scenario, your adoption specialist will help you determine a safe, ethical and legal way to contact your baby’s father.
Remember, everyone’s situation is different, and this article does not serve as legal advice on birth father rights in adoption in Maryland. To learn more about pursuing a Maryland adoption without knowing the father or without the father’s support, please contact American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION.
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