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Adoption may be the most important decision ever made

Families come in many shapes and sizes, especially in today's world with the ever-changing definition of what makes a family. Now, for as many reasons as there are children, adoption may now be in your future plans. Whether you live in Maryland or anywhere else, the prospect of taking on lifetime responsibility for a child can feel like a daunting task and an overwhelming process.

There are three main ways for a child to become an official new family member. The first is the type that results when a child has experienced some type of trauma or neglect and is referred to as a public agency adoption. The fact that the child's first parents were not up to the task means that the prospective new family may truly be making a tremendous difference in his or her life. The second type of adoption is one that is contracted through a private adoption agency.

This form of adoption would most likely require the assistance of a professional due to the often complex laws regarding adoption. The third form is one that is generally filed by an independent party and includes the adoptions that are sought by step-parents or other guardians. In all of the above, if the parental rights of the natural parents have not been formally terminated, the permission of both biological parents would need to be obtained.

Due to the often complicated nature of an adoption, a family in Maryland considering this step may greatly benefit from the guidance and input of skilled resources who are well-versed in the process. While children who are born into your family are deeply loved, choosing a child requires its own unique commitment. Adding a child to your family, no matter the circumstances, is a serious, life-long commitment that will serve to enhance not just the life of your new child, but your own life as well.

Source: courts.state.md.us, "Family", , Sept. 26, 2014

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